Put all these pieces together and what do we get? We have an “autonomous zone” whose permanent residents have no say over who runs it, who polices it, or what they are allowed to say in public. Not much autonomy for them, I guess.

This is the paradox of protest in a free society with a representative government. Protests can be an effective means of drawing attention to an agenda and convincing politicians that there is a constituency for it. But when it comes to actually implementing political change, you cannot claim to be doing it on behalf of “the people” without asking them at the ballot box. Yet that is precisely what happens when you empower a gang of “activists” marching in the street to impose your agenda. Seattle already has a city government that represents its citizens. To replace that with a new entity is to replace it with one that is not representative.

That’s not a protest, it’s a putsch.

The loudness with which CHAZ trumpets the idea of “autonomy” without providing any actual mechanism for the people to control it reminds me of the old Cold War joke about how a country that has the words “Democratic” or “People’s” or “Republic” in its name is almost certain not to be democratic, not to be a republic, and not to be accountable to the people.