Seattle Socialist Kshama Sawant Defeats Democrat Incumbent


Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal congratulates Kshama Sawant and US Socialist Alternative on their important and inspiring success in the Seattle City Council election.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>* * *

November 15, 2013, Seattle, Washington — line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>* * *

Seattle public radio line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>reported on November 5:

Branding herself as a socialist – still a dirty word in many corners of American politics – may have helped her rake in line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:blue”> magazine
, based in Washington, D.C., wrote about her this week in equally glowing terms.

The Nation line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>* * *

According to the blog 10.0pt;line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>, making Sawant the first [known] socialist member of Seattle’s city council in the past 100 years (as well as being an immigrant, female and person of colour; this is definitely a landmark victory).

“Seattle has become a really unaffordable city and overall, not just in Seattle but everywhere in the country, people are fed up, angry and frustrated with the political system. They’re fed up with the political dysfunction and they’re hungry for change.” – Kshama Sawant on her strong finish, quoted in 10.0pt;line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>.

The rest of her platform outlines an explicitly socialist vision for Seattle, a position that would spell near-certain electoral defeat in other parts of the United States but which is finding a more receptive audience in the state of Washington.

A former software engineer who now teaches economics at Seattle Central Community College, Sawant ran a Socialist Alternative “Fund Human Needs, Fight Corporate Greed” campaign that argued: “We live in one of the richest cities in the richest nation on earth. There is no shortage of resources. Capitalism has failed the 99%. Another world is both possible and necessary—a socialist world based on the needs of humanity and the environment.”

Sawant pulled no punches in her platform, which began with her signature proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 and hour and then promised to:

  • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Seek “a millionaire’s tax to fund mass transit, education and living-wage union jobs providing vital social services”. She proposes to “end corporate welfare. Tax freeloading corporations. Reduce the unfair tax burden on small businesses, homeowners and workers.”
  • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Support efforts to “unionise Amazon, Starbucks and low-paid service workers”.
  • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Commit to “no layoffs or attacks on public sector unions!”

 

Sawant has also called for rent control in the city, another popular policy amongst voters since Seattle rental prices keep climbing, and her platform seems to be resonating in the city. While on election night, November 5, Sawant was losing by four percentage points, ballots counted after election day skewed heavily toward her, and as Sawant’s lead over Conlin grew in the following days it slowly became apparent that Seattle voters have decided on change for their city.

“There is nobody in the political leadership in Seattle right now who comes into work every day with a sense of urgency to really fight for people’s standard of living. That’s why voters are engaged in our campaign, because they are hearing a voice that they have been wanting to hear for years”, reported line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>* * *

The November 14