Saturday night, hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists marched through Seattle streets from a little after 6 p.m. until just before 10 p.m. Beginning at Westlake Plaza right next to a pungent rally for medical marijuana, the activists–largely organized and led by a group of young black women–covered ground from Belltown to Safeco Field and back, escorted by several dozen Seattle police who used their bicycles to form a wall preventing the march from occupying more than one lane of traffic.
There was no violence or property damage.
Many of the people leading the march were UW undergraduates who have been active in past Black Lives Matter actions. Others were part of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a Maoist group that has also been active in the protests of the last several months that many regard as a personality cult centered around leader Bob Avakian.
Tensions between black radicals and white Maoists boiled over twice during the march. While moving through downtown, members of RevCom shouted down black activists with cries of “Solidarity! Solidarity!” Later, during a series of impromptu speeches in front of a packed Safeco Field, members of each group shouted at each other through bullhorns. “[I’ve heard you] talking about your damn movement and your damn bookstore [Revolution Books], but I didn’t fucking hear you talk about black lives,” cried one marcher at RevCom marchers. “You’re not talking about black people. And you can’t fucking hear me. You’re not trying to listen. You have fucking cognitive dissonance and you don’t fucking understand!” Much of the crowd applauded.
“That’s not true,” replied a RevCom organizer. “That’s not true!”
The crowd proceeded to overwhelm another apparent member of RevCom with chants of “Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!”
The march eventually returned to downtown, marching up First to Pike Place Market. One passerby, who declined to give his name, said of the demonstration, “To be honest, I have no clue what it’s about. But I think it’s retarded.”
The march concluded in the intersection of 3rd and Pike, where marchers formed a circle, sang together, and listened to Michael Moynihan, aka Renaissance, describe the social forces he says are behind contemporary black struggles. Listen here.
See the collective singing at 3rd and Pike:
And see the closing chants about whose lives matter, led by UW senior Palca Shibale: