All Out on Friday 2/19 to Defend Camp Dearborn!
3 weeks ago, the residents of the Dearborn Nicklesville encampment passed a vote of “no confidence” in Scott Morrow who is a founding board member of both the Low-Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and SHARE which are the two primary non-profits in Seattle “servicing” the houseless. Since the inception of city-sanctioned encampments, Scott has used his connections to essentially act as the primary conduit between the encampments and these organizations and as a result, he is the de facto authoritative figure at each encampment. As most of the people reading this website will know, this is highly problematic. His position of power has led him to doing things such as denying the Dearborn residents access to a free de-escalation skills training, banning people from encampments for a week for refusing to participate in a demonstration he organized, and cutting off food and water deliveries as well as trash pick-up. This is only a small portion of the laundry list of complaints levied against Scott.
It is also worth noting that this is not the first time that an encampment managed by Scott has voted him out of power. Up until this most recent incident, it has always followed a predictable pattern; campers pass a vote of no confidence in Scott to which the response from SHARE, LIHI, and Scott is a choice to either reinstate him to power or face immediate camp shutdown which results in the camp voting him back into power. There is no offer to open a dialogue or attempt to problem solve around the issues. There is no compassion. There is no semblance of “self-management” which is cornerstone of SHARE’s mission statement. Only coercion and abuse.
This time, however, the situation has taken on a different tone. After receiving the ultimatum to vote Scott back into power, Camp Dearborn held another vote on whether to capitulate to the demand or maintain their position of no confidence in him. Unlike the other times this situation has played out, the residents of Camp Dearborn voted to reaffirm their position and keep Scott out of the encampment. The way they see it, Scott is going to permanently ban all those who dared to oppose him in the first place from every encampment that he holds sway in regardless of the outcome so the only choice for them is whether they will go quietly or go out fighting with the potential of creating an honest discussion here in Seattle around how these encampments are being managed. These people are fired up, organized, and determined to hold their ground.
This is where the community comes into the picture. The residents of Camp Dearborn have put out a call to action for the community to come to the encampment at 1010 S. Dearborn St. this Friday 2/19 at 7PM for an “Open House/Move-In Day”. The purpose of this event is twofold; it will provide an opportunity for community members to meet the residents of the camp which will help personalize the issue for folks and build solidarity with them and other houseless members of the community as well as provide an time and place for folks who want to help the residents physically hold the space to come in and set up shop. On that note it is critical that we stress that this is THEIR home and THEIR fight so if you want to hold space with them to resist the eviction, it is important that you respect their processes.
That being said, it is our hope that our fellow anarchist comrades will consider reaching out to their affinity groups to begin planning for the impending eviction this weekend. We feel it is critical that we as anarchists work to support groups such as the residents at Camp Dearborn who are fighting for their dignity and autonomy where society has consistently denied them both. It is hard to conceive a more appalling example of the non-profit industrial complex when these groups are raking in millions of dollars during our city’s “homeless state of emergency” only to turn around and spurn the legitimate concerns of those they are proclaiming to be helping. Immediate needs of the camp include: food, water, firewood, medical supplies, materials to bolster weak spots of the perimeter, batteries, and tents.
Unfortunately, right now the only way to contact the campers and other community members organizing with them is through Facebook or in person. Their Facebook page is “Occupy Camp Dearborn” but rather than showing some token support online, we encourage you to get with your people and head straight to the encampment. Check in at the front gate on Dearborn, introduce yourself to the camp members, and let them know that you unequivocally support their desire for autonomy and their right to resist this eviction! Together, we can make sure these folks don’t wind up right back on the streets.