Seattle: A City on the Cutting Edge of Empire

Seattle is the “cutting edge” of hyper-modern industrially-outsourced capitalism.

This is why, despite having the most progressive city government of any big city in the country, Seattle has been unable to address a crisis of homelessness or pass taxes on big corporations. The liberal, progressive culture of Seattle will never provide real solutions to the problems of capitalism and industrial civilization.

Despite any claims to the contrary, Seattle is an oligarchy run by the rich, for the rich. The city was created as an imperial outpost of a society hellbent on logging all the old growth forest and stealing all the land from the indigenous inhabitants. Today, it has morphed from primarily a lumber and salmon extraction site to a central managerial site for global techno-capitalism.

The psychology of an exploitative colonial state is reflected in Seattle’s dominant news organizations.

The Seattle Times is a deeply conservative paper with entrenched business-friendly views. Like any other major news source in the country, the Times covers local corporations, war, poverty, and other topics from, at “best,” a centrist liberal perspective. They never critique capitalism and they never dig to the root of problems. The vast majority of their content consists of bourgeois trifles. The Times is a paper of and for business.

The Stranger, Seattle’s bi-weekly free newspaper, is a case study in the rise of neoliberal, post-modern culture. For decades, The Stranger has been defined by page after page of “sex industry” ads, advertising strip clubs, sex chat, and more (this weeks issue, page 17, contains this choice ad: “Sex offender registration got your down? We might be able to help you remove that requirement”).

Over the past decade, this type of content has migrated from the back pages to the front. Over the same time frame, The Stranger has also launched it’s own amateur porn festival (“Hump”).

The Stranger personifies the post-modern “sex-positive” culture, which has been driven by a multi-billion dollar corporate porn industry and a complete inability to engage with the realities of sexual exploitation. Instead of grappling with the commodification of patriarchal sexuality represented by mainstream porn, The Stranger has chosen to simply stick its head in the sand and instead promote imaginary “feminist porn.”

Originally, this article was going to recommend Real Change, the newspaper distributed by homeless people around Seattle, as an alternative to The Stranger and The Times. While not explicitly an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist publication, Real Change covers local news with a much more serious lens than either The Stranger or The Seattle Times.

However, even Real Change falls prey to the neoliberal thinking that typifies Seattle. The latest issue (March 6-12, 2019) includes an article titled “Disputed Awareness: Anti-trafficking campaigns miss the mark, sex workers say.” The article highlights the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), an organization founded by Robyn Few who was federally charged in 2002 for promoting prostitution across state lines.

As one formerly prostituted woman described, “that’s pimp shit.” Radicals have been opposed to prostitution for hundreds of years because, as an industry, it exploits primarily women and girls and because it promotes the idea that bodies can be bought and sold. Even Marx and Engels, writing in the Communist Manifesto nearly 175 years ago, said that “It is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private.”

The relationship between the destruction of the planet, patriarchy, and the exploitation of women in prostitution has long been established. Shiela Jeffries, in her book The Industrial Vagina, writes that “as foreign mining and logging companies open up new areas for new forms of colonial exploitation they set up prostitution industries to service the workers. These industries have a profound effect on local cultures and relations between men and women.”

We can do better than this. As the world is torn by climate chaos, capitalist wars, proto-fascist terrorism, blatant and widely accepted racism (as long as the emoji are multi-racial, nobody seems willing to confront capitalism’s fundamental racism), increasing inequality, ecosphere collapse, and hyper-normalized patriarchy and objectification, Seattle deserves news sources that tell the truth.

Deep Green Resistance Seattle aims to tell the truth, but our ability to cover major issues is hampered by our small numbers and lack of funding. If you are interested in getting involved in this organization for the purposes of providing an alternative to these media failures, or to support our work, please contact us.

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