Autonomia, before it was Autonomia.
Autonomia, the Central District "radical social center" known for its anarchist infoshop, free coffee, loud concerts, and constant crowds that piss off generally everyone within a square-block radius, is finally shutting down after a long quarrel with its neighbors.
Autonomia, before it was Autonomia.
The organizers of Autonomia are, let's just say, not exactly preaching tolerance for the "whiny, rich, asshole, scum bag, anal-retentive, control-freak yuppies" who made them leave.
In an insult-laden post on PugetSoundAnarchists.org the Autonomia founders bellyache about how mean everyone has been to them just for having gaggles of juveniles milling about outside their residence every day and loud concerts several times a week.
Thanks to its rich, whiny neighbors, the Autonomia Social Center at 600 24th Ave S. in the Central District is closing after only 9 months. Evidently this mighty little bastion of freedom was too much for these assholes, who could not abide a bit of street-life on an otherwise empty corner. A little music a few nights per week and a well-tended sidewalk garden? Not for these gentrifying scum-bags.
That's right, the folks who live on the 600 block of 24th Avenue in the CD (my own hood) are "rich" "gentrifying scum-bags."
The fight between Autonomia and its neighbors has been well-documented, and essentially boils down to a bunch of neighbors who have been living in the neighborhood far longer than the nine months that Autonomia has been there and how they have some reservations about the middle of a residential area being turned into what amounts to a nightclub.
Of course, the anarchists at Autonomia view the neighbors' annoyance at their presence as an attack on them for their political beliefs. Never mind the fact that if anyone's next-door neighbors started having constant crowds of friends over and loud concerts several times a week, it might get annoying--regardless of whatever views the people had or whether they wear a mohawk or not.
I've reached out to the Autonomia folks several times over the course of their feud with the neighbors to get their side of the story, and every time, either no one has responded or they've sent some generic statement about how they're trying to work with neighbors.
Meanwhile, on discussion boards, Autonomia representatives have framed their argument as such:
"You should expect more noise. if you want to live in a quieter neighborhood, move to one that is farther from the center of the city. As the city continues to grow, more foot traffic and noise should be expected. thats how developing density works."
According to records from Seattle's Department of Planning and Development, Autonomia has been sent violations for using the building--which is only zoned for a residence or small retail space--as a performance hall.
Had the tenants not moved out, they would have started to rack up daily fines beginning Sept. 26.
Of course the shop owners could have applied for a conditional-use zoning exception, but they're anarchists, so they don't do that shit.
So in the meantime, the infoshop--which is a great idea for someplace that's not in the middle of a residential neighborhood--is out of business, and all the folks who liked to go there will have to go back to hanging out wherever it is they used to hang out.
It's interesting that in the hate-filled post about being forced to leave, the Autonomia representative lashes out almost exclusively at the shop's neighbors--not at the city bureaucracy with its zoning laws, or the police with their noise-complaint responses. No, these anarchists are bitching about private citizens who had the gall to stand up for what they wanted in their neighborhood.
Can't imagine where they got that idea.
From the Autonomia website:
"We support and encourage the concept of community self-control and autonomy."
"We believe that a well-organized community is able to solve its own problems and better meet the needs of its community members when it practices group decision making and direct democracy."