Keep Socialist Sawant on Seattle City Council

Kshama Sawant speaks at a 2017 rent control rally. PHOTO:

Who votes on December 7? Seattle voters do it when there’s a big, determined effort to remove the only open socialist from city council. Anti-left forces succeeded in securing a special recall election scheduled on this odd date in the hope that low voter turnout will facilitate their attempt to oust Councilor Kshama Sawant.

Voters in his constituency, located in the heart of Seattle, must reject this reactionary attempt.

Originally launched in 2020, the red bait recall campaign used Sawant’s vigorous exercise of free speech during the Black Lives Matter insurgency as an excuse to get her to vote midterm. His so-called crimes? Sawant spoke at a protest outside Mayor Durkan’s home and led a march inside Town Hall.

But it is its socialism that the Recall Sawant campaign truly despises. For the power structure, Sawant’s unpardonable sin is to call out the for-profit system at the root of the problems encountered in everyday life – like workers unable to live in the city they work. And to try to keep politicians on both sides accountable.

In retaliation, an eclectic array of downtown business interests, law and order Democrats, pro-business gay activists and Republicans have come together to try to oust him.

A member of Socialist Alternative, Kshama Sawant was elected in 2013. Her record includes fights for the poor, low-income tenants and overtaxed workers. She led the $ 15 Now campaign that made Seattle’s minimum wage one of the highest in the country.

Sawant’s office faces greedy landlords who raise rents but refuse to repair their own buildings. Recently, she asked the city to pay reparations for its racist treatment of the New Hope Baptist Church and black residents decades ago. His office spearheaded the fight for a head tax on Amazon and other big companies in 2018. Although hastily canceled, the effort allowed other measures to be taken that have eventually raised taxes for many Seattle ultra-rich companies like Google and Starbucks.

Over the years, the Socialist Freedom Party has challenged some of Sawant’s decisions. She often votes for regressive tax measures. She voted to confirm former police chief Carmen Best. As a leftist who understands the reactionary role of the police, Sawant knew best. And while she and Socialist Alternative call for building mass movements, the results are often competitive efforts that only put them in the spotlight. This simultaneously undermines their efforts and alienates other activists. But these are matters to be debated among allies and not to be removed from their posts.

Seattle cannot afford to lose an independent socialist voice like Sawant’s. It needs more elected leaders who label the capitalist system as corrupt, prolong the pandemic and induce poverty. More people saying that a socialist society, democratically run by the working class, is the ultimate answer to these problems.

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