Hellhole – week of 5/28

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We prayed to the invisible hand of the market, and, blessed be the hand, our rent increased. This week we have a Mayoral Plan that’s more of the same, proof that a stopped clock is right sometimes, a search for a Chief that proves why reform is weak tea, and we finally tackle Millennials – what’s their deal anyway? Enter the Hellhole…

More Emergency Shelter Can Only Mean One Thing – Sweeps

Mayor Durkan announced her plan to spend $6.3 million to expand shelter bed capacity in Seattle, based on one time funding from the sale of property in SLU. In the future, these shelters would be funded by money from the recently-passed EHT (assuming the combined forces of fascists and corporations aren’t able to repeal it). This continues Durkan’s emphasis on short term patches that can look like progress without actually solving the homelessness crisis that is even worse than we thought. In order to make sure that people are in the shelters, no matter their quality, rules, or respect for the lives of the people in need of their services, the sweeps will continue and likely be expanded.

The short term need for shelter and services is real, but if Durkan and Amazon hadn’t fought so hard against the larger EHT, which still would have been less than half of what the task force said was needed, the city would be in a better position to build the permanent, affordable, and decommodified housing that we actually need to meet human need. Until we can break free of false neoliberal market solutions, more people will continue to suffer and die unsheltered.

Bad Representative Supports Good Thing For Bad Reason

One of the most aggravating things about reformism is that “reform” can apply equally to the marginally good and the abjectly evil. Privatizing schools? Reform. Cutting welfare? Reform. Barring the shackling of pregnant inmates and providing education and drug rehabilitation programs? Reform! It’s that last one that’s in the news this week, and with some unlikely names attached.

One of the most unlikely is Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican congresswoman from Spokane and generally bad person. Of course, the humanitarian reform that she’s pushing for is also cost-effective, making it one of the few policies whose fiscal savings overcame Republican disgust at the thought of improving lives. This rarest of moments aside, it’s dangerous to fall into the trap of justifying decent ideas in the framework of the other side – if everything is framed in their terms, someday it will backfire.

Police Chiefs And More Discussion Of Reform

The difference between a demand for police reform and police abolition is that reform treats the present system of racist and classist policing, which has only existed in the world in its current form for a couple hundred years, as an eternal and timeless system. Under the rules of reform we can only be tweak the system for minor problems (mirroring the neoliberal view of the system of capitalism, in which police and prisons are a necessary tool) and not transform it. Abolition imagines a radically different world, where justice is restorative and handled by the communities impacted – not by an occupying army employed as thugs to protect private capital.

To this end, demanding a better process for picking a new SPD Chief is merely a reform. The city’s failure to include Interim Chief Best, in spite of her having some support in local PoC communities, to instead favor three candidates from afar shows contempt for the pretense that police serve their community.

The SPD is laughably considered in compliance with the consent decree after a year that saw the killings of Charleena Lyles and Tommy Le, brutal sweeps and oppression of unhoused residents, and many other abuses. If the new Chief has no connection at all to the city and its communities, how can we trust them to even make even the tiniest efforts at reform?

To end the oppression of capital’s reign, we must maintain the transformative vision of abolition. Period.

Millennials and Socialsim

The headlines say it all. Millennials are earning less, living at home, have no savings, are mired in debt, and are ruining everything from Applebees to having babies. Yet, they’re also the generation unionizing at the highest rate, and taking back the mantle of socialism across the country. So, what’s the deal with this age cohort anyway?

That was the topic of the Seattle DSA and Red May Seattle’s discussion last night at the Labor Temple, in which speakers from across the young left in our city shared their stories of campaigns won, ongoing fights to win, and why this generation is saying “enough is enough.”

We were there to live tweet the event and you can find the entire thread here. For a good and thorough analysis pick, check out some of the work of our keynote speaker (and DSA Local Council member) Shaun Scott.


As always, there’s more to do than just to read about the world – we’ve got to work to change it. There are all sorts of ways to do that this week: Join Seattle DSA’s canvass for Medicare for All in Othello, stand up to the corporate astroturf campaign against the Employee Hours Tax as a Decline to Sign canvasser, write in to UW President Ana Mari Cauce in support of academic student employees in their contract dispute, and much more!

You can also join Seattle DSA at all sorts of events this weekend, as well as our monthly meeting this Tuesday! Check out our calendar for more information. Coming up later this month is the 2nd Annual Seattle DSA Potluck and Picnic, open to all Seattle DSA members, family, friends and fellow travelers who want to contribute and share in an event of community and solidarity. RVSP here!

 

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Hellhole is written by members of the Seattle DSA communications team. Unless expressly stated, Dispatches do not necessarily reflect the views of Seattle DSA as an organization or its leadership.

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