At one point, a group of men in the middle of the crowd at Westlake began rolling and smoking doobies and chanting “USA! USA!” Photo by Casey Jaywork

Anti-Communists Hold Court at May Day Rally In Westlake

The regularly scheduled anti-capitalist march was replaced by a rally for Trump.

For years, at dusk on every May Day in Seattle, the anti-capitalists have come out. A few hundred march between Westlake Park and Seattle Central College, with one or two dozen masked and clad in black, so as to hide their individual identities from police. Some windows get smashed, police douse marchers in pepper spray, and eventually people get tired and the march ends.

That’s not what happened last night.

Instead, hundreds of Trump supporters delivered speeches from the Westlake stage and marched around downtown Seattle for what was advertised on Facebook as an anti-communist march. Overwhelmingly men (but not overwhelmingly white), they carried various patriotic flags and homemade melee shields, and wore biker vests and military gear and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats. Some were abusive; others, scrupulously polite. Likewise for the handful of liberal/leftist counterprotesters who hung around the edges of the crowd, occassionally chanting “No racists, no KKK, no fascist USA!”

According to Seattle police, five men were arrested at Westlake, apparently in seperate incidents, over the course of the evening. The AP’s Manuel Valdes captured one of the arrests on tape:

Other than the arrests and some scuffles, the march was notably free of violence or vandalism.

Some of the debates between different members of the crowd were illuminating. For instance, in this exchange, a cyclist asks a Trump supporter (who is wearing the swastika-like flag of Kekistan, an imaginary country of the alt-right) what he believes in. The answer turns out to be trolling and deportation:

The cyclist was Moira Kearney, 34. She comes to the May Day evening march every year to see what goes down with her own eyes, and then contrasts that with news coverage the next day. I ask her about her exchange with the ambassador of Kekistan.

“What I see is a lot of people who have built their ideology around making other people angry, and they don’t seem to believe anything themselves,” said Kearney. “That kid, he thinks it’s a big, funny game. I know exactly what kind of Reddit places he looks at, and 4Chan, and where he got that Kekistan flag that he thinks is really funny. That kid isn’t even a Nazi, he’s probably not even a white supremacist, but he’s quite alright with appropriating that imagery because it makes people unhappy…It seems like the conservative movement in the United States has largely become a reaction. Maybe not in the halls of their policy wonks who are writing for the Brookings Institute, but…[regular] people liked Trump not because of any policy goals [but because] he makes people like me angry. That’s what they like. They don’t have any other policy or political opinion than what makes the liberals angry. And that’s dangerous.”

Asked how liberals and leftists can responsibly respond to a politics of trolling, Kearney responded with some common advice: don’t feed them. “I think that, honestly, ignoring it is best,” she said. “If nobody had shown up to that Milo event at the University of Washington, his ratings would have gone down, he would have more quickly faded into the background.”

You can see some other debates between pro- and anti-Trump attendees here and here. Less illuminating, but still notable, was the moment when what looked liked the beginning of a conflict (it wasn’t clear between whom) turned into a doobie session between what the Seattle Times described as opposing demonstrators:

At dusk, police ordered everyone to disperse from the park. For a few fleeting minutes, it felt like a regular May Day evening again.

cjaywork@seattleweekly.com

More in News & Comment

State high court upholds $1,000 fines on ‘faithless electors’

They signed pledges to back their party’s nominee, Clinton, in 2016, but then voted for Colin Powell.

Pow! Bam! Inslee delivers a one-two punch of executive power

Governor shifted $175M to culverts and vetoed a sentence he said threatened funding for transit.

Self-driving cars: Heaven or hell?

Depending on factors, traffic and environmental impacts could become better or worse.

King County’s $5 million derelict boat problem

When a boat sinks, it costs a lot to bring it up, with millions being spent since 2003 on removals.

Ashley Hiruko/illustration
Susan’s quest for ‘justice’ and the civil legal system dilemma

While citizens have the right to an attorney in criminal cases, they’re not afforded the same rights in civil litigation.

Upon further review, EPA wants to redo water quality rules

Feds say they’ll use what the state submitted in 2016 even though they’re no longer the state’s faves.

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn sent a letter to the FBI asking for them to help investigate Allan Thomas (pictured), who is under investigation for stealing more than $400,000 of public funds and skirting election laws in an Enumclaw drainage district. Screenshot from King 5 report
King County Council requests report on special districts in wake of fraud allegations

Small, local special districts will face more scrutiny following Enumclaw drainage district case.

The Marquee on Meeker Apartments, 2030 W. Meeker St. in Kent, will feature 492 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail. The first phase of 288 apartments is expected to be completed in early 2020. Developers are targeting people in their 20s and 30s to rent their high-end, urban-style apartments. Steve Hunter/staff photo
Housing study pokes holes in conventional wisdom

High construction and land costs will incentivize developers to build luxury units.

File photo
Eviction reform passed by state Legislature

Tenant protections included longer notices and more judicial discretion.

Most Read