“The attack on [Ksham Sawant] is part of a national push by the corporate elite and the right-wing to criminalize the right to protest, attack voting rights and strike back against victories for working and oppressed people.”
By Darragh O’Dwer, Kshama Solidarity Campaign.
Since first taking office in 2013, Seattle’s only socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has paved the way by using her position to build movements that have won important victories for workers and young people. This list of victories include the first $15 an hour minimum wage of any major city in the country, a slew of renters’ rights legislation and last year’s historic Amazon Tax – a progressive tax on the top 3% of Seattle’s mega-corporations like Amazon to fund affordable housing and homelessness services, which represents a $2bn transfer of wealth from big business and the super-rich to workers and the poor over the next decade.
She’s also used her office to bring attention to important international issues from condemning the right-wing terror of India’s Modi government to pressuring the US Biden Administration to lift patent restrictions on Covid-19 research and vaccines, in order to aid global response to the pandemic particularly in the global South. And she does all this while being a workers’ councillor on a workers’ wage, donating ⅔ of her salary to a Solidarity Fund to support struggles of workers and young people.
Because of her record, she has long been a target by the capitalist class and the political establishment both locally in Seattle and nationally. During what became her third straight election victory in 2019, Amazon spent an unprecedented $1.5m in directly opposing her re-election campaign. Despite this, her bold socialist record as a fearless fighter for workers and the poor saw her re-elected. The dynamic campaign launched by Kshama and her comrades in Socialist Alternative defeated the efforts of the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, to unseat her.
Now, the ruling class and the right-wing are coming after her again, specifically in retaliation for her participation in the Black Lives Matter movement and leading role in the Amazon Tax victory in 2020. Unable to defeat her in a regular election, they have come together to manipulate their system, initiating a special ‘Recall’ election on 7 December during the end of year holiday period. This is an attempt to suppress voter participation particularly among workers, young people and people of colour who overwhelmingly support Kshama Sawant. Special elections see the number of voters drop as much as 50% versus regular November elections and bring out a smaller, older, wealthier and whiter electorate.
Kshama Sawant is the United States’ only elected Marxist and most effective fighter for gains for the working class – this is the real reason she is being targeted. The attack on her is part of a national push by the corporate elite and the right-wing to criminalize the right to protest, attack voting rights and strike back against victories for working and oppressed people. Internationally this has implications far beyond just one city council seat. Over the last eight years, Kshama’s seat has been a beacon of light for socialist politics and class struggle in practice. International solidarity has always been a cornerstone of our movement so we encourage all of the left, trade-unionists, workers and young people across the world to support us in the fight against the right-wing Recall attempt.