A controversial anarchist hangout in the Central District has apparently closed up shop after a months-long fight with neighbors and the city.
A letter posted on Pugetsoundanarchists.org claims Autonomia—located in an old church/corner store on 24th Ave S. and S. Lane St.—is closing up shop because of “assholes, who could not abide a bit of street-life on an otherwise empty corner” and “certain uptight citizens just could not handle Autonomia and its ragtag crowd.”
Also, “gentrifying scum-bags.”
Autonomia—which, on its website, describes itself as a “radical social space”—drew the attention of the Seattle Police Department and city’s Department of Planning and Development after receiving complaints from neighbors about noisy concerts at the venue.
As recently as last month DPD had said they were waiting for Autonomia to file for the proper permits for the venue, but had not received paperwork.
But Autonomia promises (sort of) that it will rise from the ashes: “It’s only a matter of time before a new social center pops up in a disused building near you,” the letter says.
You can read the entire email below.
We’ve contacted Autonomia for comment and to confirm the closure.
CENTRAL DISTRICT – 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.
For the whole of its existence, Autonomia provided a place for anarchists and other anti-authoritarians to meet and to have events like movie-nights, workshops, fundraisers, and meetings. There was a free store full of clothes and toys that anyone was welcome to take. There was free tea and coffee and free computers to use, too. L@s Quixotes Infoshop had a nice little bookstore and lending library with cozy chairs and shelves brimming with exciting, incendiary reading material. An industrial kitchen produced food for delicious open potlucks and Food Not Bombs. The place was generally neat and tidy, with posters on the red and blacks walls celebrating struggles from around the world. A giant calendar proudly announced the month’s events.
In addition to all of this, the collective had planned to hold regular music fundraisers to help pay the rent. Despite efforts to sound-proof the space and open channels of communication with those living around the social center, certain uptight citizens just could not handle Autonomia and its ragtag crowd. Once, a frightened wife even called the police after her husband had gone to talk with the “anarchists” and hadn’t come back home soon enough. Instead of crossing the street to find her husband herself, this Nervous Nellie instead called the cops, probably on speed-dial. Her husband, as it turned out, was perfectly fine.
Anyway, thanks to these party-pooping shitheads, the Department of Planning and Development put a stop to the music, thus starving Autonomia of potential income. Neighbors like these are the types that regularly attend community meetings with police, slobbering on their handcuffs and offering tips on which neighborhood kids they think possibly maybe could be selling drugs on the corner based on their, you know, manner of dress and slang and stuff. They cringe at graffiti and all other signs of disorder. They use their money and their friendly relationships with cops to sanitize their surroundings. You know, “those” kind of people.
Well, they’ve done it this time. Autonomia has been pushed out of the neighborhood by anal-retentive, control-freak yuppies who are entirely ill-equipped to reside in a densely, diversely populated urban environment that is bound to erupt into riots within the next few years.
But life goes on. It’s only a matter of time before a new social center pops up in a disused building near you.
Tides of Flame would like to thank everyone who made Autonomia possible. We will really miss it.
And to all rich, whiny neighbors: fuck off and die, you boring, khaki-wearing VOTERS!