As the nation continues to face the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and we near the November 2020 election, the Department of Justice released a list of three cities (New York, New York; Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon) it designated as “anarchist” jurisdictions. Are these Democrat-led cities in a state of anarchy? No. While at first this is so absurd it’s laughable, the underlying intent here is important. Why? Because this is pretty clearly a move motivated by politics that puts state and local governments at risk of losing federal funding because of reported violence and vandalism at the summer protests.
Of course, people from these cities have been eager to show what life is really like in a state of “anarchy.” We can look at those tweets below, as well as what elected officials are saying about this new threat to federal funding.
In a Monday press release from the Department of Justice, it is claimed the department identified New York, Portland, and Seattle as “three jurisdictions that have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.”
“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” Barr said in a statement, adding that he hopes the identified cities will “start protecting their own citizens.” That’s some rich irony considering that much of the violence Trump obsessed over was actually peaceful demonstrations against police brutality.
During a Monday conference call with reporters, Gov. Chris Cuomo addressed the concern of federal funding, as reported by the New York Daily News, saying: “I believe the president is fundamentally a bully… you can’t bully New Yorkers.” He continued: “The president of the United States can’t interfere with federal funding for cities and states just cause he feels like it. We have laws in this country.”
More than anything, the anarchy designation has gotten a lot of jokes online.
ok does this mean alternate side parking can just vanish https://t.co/Po3GyAxRXH
— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) September 21, 2020
This morning in my Anarchist jurisdiction, I enjoyed a skim milk cappuccino in the bike lane and then I bought a few Bouquets of overpriced flowers.
— Molly Jong-Fast???? (@MollyJongFast) September 21, 2020
This is within the city limits of an anarchist jurisdiction. ????PDX ???? pic.twitter.com/YohhSBbZOx
— Cozca Itzpapalotl (@KohzKah) September 21, 2020
Nothing to see here just growing herbs in the windowsill in the anarchist jurisdiction known as NYC pic.twitter.com/1k5m8Nq9EB
— Monique of the anarchist jurisdiction known as NYC (@endorphinique) September 21, 2020
— Monica Castillo (@mcastimovies) September 21, 2020
I was able to document the “anarchy” in NYC yesterday after my 5 mile bike ride with my son and wife yesterday. Truly terrifying. https://t.co/ca9RRHD2v8
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) September 21, 2020
ANARCHY IN NEW YORK CITY pic.twitter.com/vALR8YimUT
— Max Burns (@themaxburns) September 21, 2020
*exhales cigarette smoke*
New York City hasn't been an anarchist jurisdiction since CBGB closed, man.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) September 21, 2020
The anarchist jurisdiction of Seattle opened a brand new pier yesterday. It's so fucking out of control over here. https://t.co/2xCYIJbxfu
— Alexandra Klasinski (@alexandrak) September 21, 2020
The DOJ can designate Seattle as an “anarchist jurisdiction” all it wants but good luck finding us at night now that we have turned of the lights of our giant ferris wheel.
— Emmett Montgomery (@emmettfungomery) September 21, 2020
Good morning from the anarchist jurisdiction of Seattle, Washington. News to me. Would love for that to happen! Does that mean we've gotten rid of cops? That we've removed hierarchies from our city and that Bezos is gone??? No??? fuck.
— Mx. Unionized Yana – A.C.A.B. (@VillainousGoo) September 21, 2020
riding my bike with a wicker basket full of fruit thru the anarchist jurisdiction of NYC
— JP (@jpbrammer) September 21, 2020
These stand in contrast, of course, to the images a number of media sites are using to share this very story—mainly, nighttime images of fire and chaos.
White House names New York City, Seattle and Portland as "anarchist cities" that could lose federal funding, accusing them of tolerating crime https://t.co/E0oWva35Ww
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 21, 2020
The Justice Department has designated New York City, Portland and Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions" under a directive from Trump to withdraw federal funds from such cities.
Criteria for the designation includes defunding of police forces or refusal to employ federal troops. pic.twitter.com/YDjtoID4Gh
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 21, 2020
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) September 21, 2020
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.