June 18, 2020

In the middle of Seattle, there is a small country called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ. The territory only takes up about six blocks, but the fledgling nation has already been praised by many on the left, including the New York Times, which has referred to CHAZ as “a homeland for racial justice.”

This self-described “no cop co-op” is being portrayed as a romantic liberal utopia by those on the left and a lawless anarchical affront to law and order by the right. Their list of demands, published in Medium last week, highlight a liberal ideology in line with modern so-called democratic socialists, yet some aspects of their “liberated” area operate in opposition to ideals the left claims to hold.

It is ironic that the left is championing the “autonomous zone” when their decisions and behaviors are in direct contrast with many popular leftist policies.

CHAZ is protected by a strongly held barricade around its border. Residents must show identification to prove they belong there, and the borders are protected by armed guards there to ensure that no one enters other than members of CHAZ or Seattle residents whose homes are within the six blocks. Not only are there borders, but the group and its leaders hold right to refuse prospective residents.

Throughout the 2020 primary, however, Democrat candidates pushed for lax immigration restrictions and increasing mobility across our borders. Further, many media outlets have decried Trump’s proposed border wall as abhorrent and racist. Strong borders and strict immigration are apparently alright for an insurgent autonomous zone, but not for the United States.

The aforementioned walls are guarded by men with guns. Supporters of the zone have encouraged members to arm themselves, and there have even been reports of automatic weapons and machine guns in the area, the very things Democrats constantly try to limit and ban in Congress and state legislatures.

Along with having to supply photo ID to enter the autonomous zone, residents attempting to enter their homes or places of business have reported stop-and-frisk tactics, something Black Lives Matter protestors and the left in general have decried. Stop-and-frisk was deemed unconstitutional in 2013, but it is still a popular talking point for anti-police protestors.

For a group calling for free college, socialized medicine, and other popular liberal policies, it is interesting but unsurprising to see that they cannot live up to their beliefs when actually governing. Instead of serving as a communist utopia of collectivism and social justice, CHAZ highlights how similar the “revolution” looks to everything it professes to combat.

Paulina Enck is an intern at the Federalist and current student at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service. Follow her on Twitter at @itspaulinaenck