Anarchist News: Wildcat Social Center closing to make way for development

(Image: CDN)

(Image: CDN)

A hot bed of social and political activism is reportedly shuttering on 23rd Ave. Here’s an update on the Wildcat from the Anarchist News:

As members of the Wildcat collective, we are both relieved and bummed to announce that everyone’s favorite too-tiny social center will be closing its doors by August 15.

Since opening in February 2012 near the politically-charged intersection of 23rd and Union in the Central District of Seattle, the Wildcat has hosted dozens of speaking events, dinners, and films. It also housed L@s Quixotes, a radical lending library with a great collection of anti-authoritarian books and consistent open-hours. We opened the space during the crucial ebb-time between the eviction of the Decolonize/Occupy Seattle camp at Seattle Central Community College and May Day 2012. Without the Occupy camp or the Autonomia social center, the city’s growing and loosely-formed anti-state/anti-capitalist network desperately needed a meeting place to continue to encounter each-other and discover new affinities. For a time, the Wildcat was exactly that. True to our mission, our three-room cubbyhole was “a springboard for comrades to meet and launch their collective struggles toward freedom.”

Throughout the spring of 2012, the Wildcat was a clearinghouse for posters promoting what would be an unforgettable May Day. The space bustled on summer weekends as folks circulated in from the Food for Everyone BBQs that took place down the street in front of the mostly-empty Horace Mann building, a site of historic contest in the Central District. Along with the Umojafest PEACE Centeracross the street, the Wildcat helped to spread anti-police and anti-gentrification sentiment in the neighborhood. Upstanding citizens complained about all the graffiti, posters, and demonstrations.

Unfortunately, developers are currently planning to destroy the southeastern block of 23rd and Union in order to build a giant apartment building similar to the ones on Capitol Hill. This development may ultimately destroy Umoja and the black- and brown-owned businesses currently located next to it. While we have no love for capitalist enterprise in general, we recognize that this development is yet another step in a process that is rapidly transforming Seattle into an over-priced, sterile, white-washed dead zone. In this context, it is really sad to see the Wildcat go. The yuppies would have really, really hated us.

More here.

According to city records, a permit to transition the building to restaurant use was renewed earlier this year. In 2010, CDN reported that a project called Burger Central was planned for the location.

40 thoughts on “Anarchist News: Wildcat Social Center closing to make way for development

    • .
      Amazing that some people say off the wall things as though there are some sort of neighborhood covenants that include political thought control tests. Good for you for sticking up for reasonable discourse.

    • Did I violate their rights in some way by taking pleasure their absence? They absolutely have the right to fade away due to their own failure to prevent the attack off flesh eating bacteria that so many of them are suffering from.

      These are folks who actually want to live out of dumpsters. They go for the coifed oscar the grouch dirty pants thing. Their point is to acheive some post civilization world where nobody does anythign so offensive as to raise the bar by purchasing new shoes or mowing the lawn – how yuppie.

      They have the absolute right to continue living in self made pig pens. It is just so silly how somebody else is always to blame.

      Meanwhile billions of people worldwide are working to get ahead, buy or rent a good home, and raise a family in as stable a country is they can make or find. Anarchy is a dumb joke passed on by uptight frightenned weinies. Athiest yet whollier than thow hypocrits.

      • You seem creepy, johnny. And you seem to do quite a bit of projection. I simply stated that the self imagined “anarchists” are dirty smelly slouches. That isn’t debatable, and you don’t debate it. I am simply disrespecting a group that has no rrspect for civil society.

        Now that I think of it- given a condition that they reject law the they also must reject protection of their rights by that law. So let’s kick the out and see how well they fair as nationless vagrants they claim to be.

        We don’t have to accept and respect every clown and freak that pisses on a corner of our world.

        Govcry yourself to sleep johnny pants.

    • You pounced on his comment in 3 minutes, his comment that was simply stating his pleasure in reading news – and stating nothing about rights of being there. Might need a hobby, if your urge to start web type arguments is driving you this much.

      • Soooo. How do you feel now Johnny? Your precious anarchists are burning everthing in sight. Way to be positive man. Long live the Easter bunny.

  1. What neighbourhood are they going to destroy and gentrify next? Beacon Hill? Seward Park? Myself and a few others are already being forced out of the CD due to the rise in the rental market rates.

  2. “…The yuppies would have really, really hated us.”

    What’s with the “Would have” ??

    And Nico, have you ever BEEN to Seward Park? You probably can’t afford it now already.

  3. If they weren’t so excited to be hated, they might make more friends and start an effective discussion of their concerns. Terms like “white-washed”, “dead zone” and “yuppies” are pretty divisive, and not particularly useful in rallying support.

    They have a right to be there, and I’m happy to respond with my opinion. I am in full support of many ideals expressed by people concerned about bland, purely capitalist development, but I find people to be pretty foolish when they blanket blame capitalism, and particularly the state, which provides everyone with things like dollars invested in vaccines and disease treatment, an economy that can pay for public transportation, and enough idle time to spend being an activist. Without some form of capitalism, we’d all be dying at 40 and living in squalor, wondering how to put food in our mouths.

    The question is, how do we keep it from controlling our culture? How do we use it to further the ideals we may have, like, culturally sensitive community building, housing developments that are committed to being accessible to a broad group of income levels, and commercial developments that are affordable for risky small businesses, which do more to foster community (and conversation) than Domino’s or Walmart?

    If you dismiss people just because they are white, more wealthy than you, or just simply have bad taste in apartments, you assume with your bias that every one of these people are a problem, and unreachable. The truth is that in this city, you’re much more wrong than right about that. You could do a lot worse than Seattle. Most people are sympathetic to these concerns, but tend to believe in some form of state, and some exchange of goods and services with money, which makes pure anti-capitalist anarchism a little hard to swallow. If everyone fighting tooth and nail against gentrification (or rather, the people they believe to be gentrifiers), would try a little harder to see both sides of the coin, you might actually accomplish something. In the mean time, you’ve made enemies of a lot of potential sympathizers – people with a lot more power than you have. Keep tagging up the neighborhood and throwing rocks, and you’ll just get steam rolled by developers looking to make a buck off our neighborhood.

    We should be rallying as a community with diverse opinions to foster community, not calling names and trying to tear down the fabric of society.

    • .
      The things that were written and the links on the Wildcat website were well thought out. You seem to be attributing activities to them that were not their doing and not advocated by them.
      The people who self identify as anarchists covers a broad spectrum and includes a few young people who are probably not scholars of anarchist history who might or might not spray paint a few circle A symbols in a few places to highly respected intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky who I am sure has never been a graffiti artist or graffiti vandal depending on how one perceives that endeavor.
      I am quite sure that the Wildcat people agree with you about housing developments that are committed to being accessible to a broad group of income levels. In my opinion, this is one of the primary needs in the neighborhood.
      In their statement they use the words over priced, sterile, white washed dead zone. Those words and worse are an accurate description of the building that is planned for the southwest corner of 23rd Ave and E Union St.
      I am sorry to see the Wildcat close their doors.

      • 98122, while it’s technically true that people are probably attributing to them activities which weren’t their doing nor advocated by them, I am also left with the nagging impression that the words on the website were very carefully chosen so as to retain that self-same “plausible deniability” (i.e, “Oh, WE never said that…”) to allow them to protest their innocence about such activites. Maybe I’m guilty of exactly that–reading more into it than is explicitly said— but when I read references to “an unforgettable May Day”, somehow I think my idea of “unforgettable” doesn’t carry the same level of affection for vandalism and destruction that their memories do. Whether they come right out and say it or not. They’re not fooling anybody. That’s my 2c worth, anyway.

      • @98122, (wrong area code for the CD) I am very happy they are going from that spot. Your description of developers and the building shows a profound shallow reactionary behavior and no knowledge of design just a pathetic attempt to thrw rocks. You probably never even looked at the drawings posted by DPD. You shout about alowing diverse views but you try to shut down any view that does not agree with your narrow thought process.

        So what follows my response, more of the same poor attempt at a writing style to give emphasis to your lack of social skills in public discussion?

      • A few points for Mr/Ms Eyes:
        1. The entire CD has the same area code. It’s (206).
        2. The ZIP CODE of the Post office at Union & 23rd is 98122.

        Now, where were we?

      • Big deal I said area code instead of zip code and most of the CD is 98144. So that is your come back? No substance? Great, just petty factoids or was that an attempt at attempting some pavlovian response from me. This dog does not drool.

      • So then, it’s your contention that your statement 98122 is the “wrong” zip code for the CD isn’t diminished at all by the fact that the very Post Office that serves the entire CD is ITSELF 98122? In fact, a very very large portion of the CD is 98122. It speaks to the fact that maybe you’re not such an expert on the CD as you think you are. And only YOU know what point you were trying to make by alleging that poster 98122 had a “wrong” zip code– what WAS that (erroneous) observation supposed to be pointing out, anyway?

        I don’t need a “comeback”. You’re spouting the faulty zip code blathering, not me.

      • shallow reactionary behavior against developing the CD which happens in every neighborhood in Seattle is the issue, zip codes are not, or don’t you have a intelligent response?

      • We are on to something here! Three comments from eyes that don’t include the words ‘containment zone’. We are growing here people.

      • @ a first. The fact that the CD is a known documented containment zone and your demands for proof on a public forum really eats at you doesn’t it? Let me guess your a SPD troll afraid of deliverables going to the DOJ, right? or is that giving you you too much credit and your just a bored halfwit hiding behind numerous names at some sad attempt at using witty titles. Either way, a sad case you are.

  4. What a load of butthurt. Funny how anarchists reject society, then are super surprised when it rejects them right back.

  5. The article title is incorrect – they don’t appear to be closing because of development but because of financial or other operational issues.

  6. tkiehne, thank you for posting. I have read the story several times in an attempt to determine what the real story is. I have not yet found any evidence that the group was evicted or given any type of notice due to new plans for the site. Since they have been there for just over a year, any plan for immediate development would have been understood before they leased (I presume.) the space. I am sure that there are many who have questions and concerns regarding the southeast corner, but this news release does little to enlighten the neighborhood.

  7. Isn’t the development of the apartment building at the south west corner? That is the big empty lot which has been fenced off for years. I don’t understand what a new building on this corner has to do with the anarchists leaving. I am personally looking forward to seeing the new building go up there. When people bash developers its a good reminder to look around you and take note that the houses and apartment buildings (yes even the charming old brick ones) we all live in were created by developers who took significant personal risk at some point. Sometimes they make a profit, sometimes they lose their asses.

  8. lol… I don’t think us decadent capitalists were ever really meant to see that article…. I note that this was a repost from the Anarchist News by, I think, a member of the CD news rather than one of the anarchists themselves.

    Well said geronimo. I for one am not going to ever be an anarchist, it’s as unlikely as I’ll ever be a libertarian. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think that a majority of people can be trusted to do the right thing and government is necessary when you group more than just a few people together in any small area…. that doesn’t mean I like big, bland, corporate development. I’d move to to the burbs, live in planned community and shop at the nearest strip mall that I would have to drive to, if I liked that sort of thing…..

    The buzz words in the article and the general lack of coherency, I have to say, have given me more than a few chuckles… The last couple sentences are a real knee slapper… yuppies… lol, that is so 80’s… I can’t get big hair and shoulder pads out of my brain now… In any case I’m at least a decade too old to be a yuppie and I’d gander I’m one of the younger pups on the block.

  9. It is just too easy to pick on the so-called anarchists. But it does generate responses, which this blog badly needs.

  10. “These are the questions that need to be answered as part of figuring out what will be necessary to open another space”

    *rolls up sleeves* ..

    How can we create sustainable antagonist infrastructure in an expensive city like Seattle?
    *did you just say sustainable antagonist infrastructure?* *maybe try a cheaper city like Seatac* *create a dues paying structure and fund your own militia*

    What kind of social center models could or do work well here?
    *lol’l @ social center models*

    How can an anarchist space become relevant to the neighborhood surrounding it?
    *by becoming less anarchist* *by moving to Seatac**by jumping in the DeLorean DMC-12*

    *Hope that helps!!!*

  11. Sometimes, when I read the comments on news sites, I can’t help but think that we’re living in the protracted reality presented by the movie “Idiocracy”.

  12. .
    Jim98122x, graffiti and breaking windows is not a common activity no matter how people politically self identify themselves. Also, as far as I can tell, there were a few people in Seattle who broke one or maybe more windows on May Day 2012. I am quite sure that tactics are debated among people who call themselves anarchists just as much as anybody else. There is no reason to conclude that anyone who did not participate supports that activity.
    The broken windows were used as an excuse to persecute four young people for their political beliefs. They were not suspects let alone convicted of any crime. Still, they were incarcerated for quite some time. This was in all the papers, local and national, even international. The way the grand jury process was used in these cases is a travesty that all of us, in my opinion, should oppose. To their credit, people at the Wildcat did just that.
    Not as extreme as the Haymarket Martyrs or Sacco and Vanzetti who were executed because they were good organizers who believed that working people should not be compelled to spend more than eight hours a day at their jobs and similar things.
    I am grateful that some young people are interested in history and are willing to invoke the memories of those who stood up against powerful ruthless forces making the lives of everyone after them better. In my opinion, it is unfortunate that a few in Seattle did not follow the lead of huge numbers of people all around the world who celebrate and commemorate May Day without breaking windows.
    Somebody broke some windows on that day but you do not know who they were and you do not know who, if anyone, agrees with their tactics. Fact is, it might have been agents of some sort. It is unfair and dangerous to accuse people of supporting crimes because you do no agree with their politics.
    Personally I would not use graffiti or break windows. I just do not believe they are effective tactics. That does not mean I support incarcerating people who are not convicted or even suspected of any crime. That does not mean I support upping the charges on political people who do those things so that they end up with decade and worse sentences. And, if some people who self identify as anarchists do those things, it does not mean that every current and historical anarchist agrees with those tactics and has nothing to offer to the political discussion in Seattle and elsewhere. Chomsky is one example, among many. And, as far as I can tell from their website, the Wildcat people are thoughtfully evaluating their political options.
    The history of May Day is not taught in our schools. What’s up with that?
    And, like you, that’s my 2c worth, anyway.

  13. Correction: As the Founding Director of the Umoja PEACE Center, we do not spread “anti-police” sentiment. We focus on replacing negative culture with positive culture, intelligence, respect, productivity, preserving and building a our community and world. We are for justice and respect of the human rights of our community and all people. For more information visit

    • Thanks for that clarification. Seems like those smelly fools want to usurp your respected efforts as and roll themselves up as the defenders of justice. Umojafest, Omari, and the likes have proven their commitment to good causes for decades.

      The “anarchists” have proven able to disrespect people.

      • the “anarchists” are nothing but middle class white posing as 60’s black activists wannabees, trying to live out a decades old fantasy. Now they could have copied the 60’s by burning down what they percieve are symbols of “gentrification”. They are on a mission and play into the hands of those who want to keep the CD a containment zone. Funny, when arson was happening in Greenwood it was all over the news, people in the neighborhood went on patrols and the SPD picked up the guy within weeks. Ask you self, why do we not have the same attention and quick results?

      • Partly so eyes, but, the 60s was more flower power utopian foolishness than today. Sure, there was some hard core zealots then.

        This modern crop of zombie “anarchists” seem to have a much lower vision of what I would not call utopia of LSD enhanced lifetime hippy orgies in Julie Andrews meadow. These guys seem to want everybody to live in dumpsters and scrounge for garbage like cockroaches. The resent captalism more because they resent wealth of any kind rather than simply wanting the best system to distribute wealth.

        Today there is an information virus that leads people to beleive the world would be better off if all people were reduced to living hand to mouth and exchanging (batering) toe jam for ear wax, or, head lice for a collection of fried foreskins. I call this phenomina “dermaculture”. Essentially it goes like this. Person’s have no right to the worlds commons – which belong to a pre-human or nobal savage native population. As humans deserve only the space in which their two feet occupy, so long as they have avoided stepping on any multicellular life form ( not including human fetuses), then, the human must live only upon what foods they can grow and collect upon their own bodies.

        Thus, toe jam becomes a valuable comodity. Of course men are also richest in this new society as they are allowed to have birds nesting in their beards and to collect any of the eggs that perish naturally.

        I will be presenting seminars on the ultimate morality of dermiculture every tuesday at the starbucks at 23rd and Jackson if you want to attend.

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