How six blocks in Seattle became a microcosm of the culture wars

The MAGA sphere has also latched onto the fact that visibly armed members of progressive gun groups are patrolling CHAZ, confirming their belief that the zone is, purposefully or not, incepting an anti-government plot. Far-right groups, Ross said, have used the presence of armed individuals as a pretext to travel to the area under the auspices of protecting civil society, not to protest against CHAZ.

“The whole working purpose of the militia in the far right, is they kind of form this sort of porous membrane through which people travel in and out of the extreme right based on whether or not they’re open racists,” he noted. “If you’re going somewhere to stop the looting and to protect protesters from antifa outsiders, then you’ve got a narrative. You’ve got something clear that you can explain to people that doesn’t make you sound like you’re just there because you hate anti-racists.”

Ultimately, CHAZ may amount to a weekslong encampment in the middle of Seattle, maintained by rather enthusiastic activists, that eventually fades.

“To the extent they’ve avoided violence, that’s admirable. But even just trying to take it over is silly,” said Scott Walter, president of the conservative-libertarian think tank Capital Research Center, pointing out that the zone still relied on city services such as trash pickup.