By Amanda Hunt, intern
On September 21, I attended the Showdown in Suncadia, in beautiful and remote Cle Elum, WA. Suncadia is a luxurious mountain resort in the majestic Cascade Mountains. This event was organized by Washington Community Action Network, and joined by many organizations from across the state. Shar Lichty, Brock Baker, myself, and 5 members of the Youth Sustainability Council left Spokane at 530AM. This was an action in direct response to Governor Gregoire’s “private” address to the Association of Washington Business. Besides our governor, Phyllis Campbell, the Northwest Regional Chairperson for Chase Bank, was also addressing the group.
Unfortunately for the corporate fat cats, who were supposed to be enjoying activities such as wine tasting and golfing, Suncadia was not secluded enough. Hundreds of protestors from all over the state interrupted their quiet little retreat.
Upon arrival, we were quickly informed that the resort had been placed on lockdown due to early morning actions conducted by an inside group. This group made wake up calls to rooms with messages like “Wake up! We are in a recession,” and put Wanted fliers, with Phyllis Campbell’s picture, under the doors of sleeping guests. There were groups with letters on their t-shirts spelling out “cut tax loopholes” and at the entrance, giant arrows held up by balloons pointed up for the top 1% and the down for the rest. Everyone participating was very energetic and excited. The state patrols stood back and watched as hundreds gathered and chanted, waiting with anticipation for the governor’s arrival.
The main goal of this event was to interrupt the business agenda and to invite the Governor to our people’s summit at camp Koinonia, so she could hear OUR agenda. The people’s agenda included quality healthcare, quality education, quality jobs here and now, racial equality, and closing corporate tax loopholes. We delivered a petition and an invitation to attend the “people’s summit,” but she sent her staff person instead. One group of protesters was able to get into the resort and chanted around the time of the governor’s speech.
Although the governor did not attend our people’s summit, this event was successful in meeting our goal: to state our priorities (the people’s priorities and agenda), to be heard, and interrupt their meeting with the business leaders. According to Mariah McKay with Washington CAN!, “It was not business as usual.” There were local actions taken in numerous cities throughout the state also, including the one here in Spokane at the downtown Chase bank. For me, it was very motivating to be amongst activists from all over the state and to experience the creativity Washington CAN! provided.