Thursday, December 1 – Sunday, December 5
Washington Council on International Trade
Thursday there was a smaller march down by the harbor. Thursday is the day the ships start coming in. It was kind of amusing to see the longshoremen peel away to go to work.
Thursday night police were saying they were going to clear the streets if people weren’t off by curfew. There were I don’t know how many hundreds of people in the jail, and hundreds more camped outside, with vegan food all over the place and dancing and pot—a mini Woodstock.
There were all kinds of wild rumors that the people inside were being tortured. And there was a lot of joking about, Yeah, they’re being made to eat baloney sandwiches.
At that point people were getting tired of all this idealism from these young people. For god’s sake, they’re in jail. They’re not going to get a catered meal.
It was fascinating to watch how they made decisions as a group. They did not recognize leaders—if you said, “Your leader Han Shan says,” they’d say, “Han Shan’s not our leader.” They decided by consensus. Ten people would stand to speak, and they would keep talking till some consensus formed or didn’t form.
These intense negotiations went on for hours. Their one demand was to get their attorney inside the jail to verify that nobody was being hurt. They were debating whether, even if they did, they would leave. People were saying the police are going to do this and do that, and by god we need to stand our ground, and others said no, our negotiators are working hard and we need to honor our agreements. On and on and on.
I was on the phone with Ron Sims and—if this was a movie nobody would believe it—just as he was on verge of telling me he had gotten an agreement from the jailers and the sheriff so the attorney could go in, my cellphone went dead. All these people started thrusting their phones at me so I could get the deal done, but I didn’t have his number.
Finally we got the deal. The attorney would go to a certain window and wave and that meant everyone was okay, you can all leave. Then she came back and said, “We need something else, we need a second person to go in.” I said, I can’t start over getting everyone to agree, but amazingly they did.
The big moment came. She was up there on the catwalk. She waved and gave the high sign. And everybody did what they said they would. They cleaned up everything—the place was spotless. Everything calmed down after that. It was the night peace broke out in Seattle.
Downtown Seattle Association
We knew we were going to survive on Friday when Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus came back to Nordstrom’s Santaland. Of course they had to be escorted by the SWAT team.