The Hellhole – Week of 10/22

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Photo by Adrian Swancar

Photo: Adrian S.

Capitalism is a blender that takes people, communities, and the planet for a ride – what comes after is a slurry of profit to be consumed by roughly 400 people. We’ve got more than strained metaphors this week folks, Trump is going after more of our comrades, the fight for Bakaro rolls on, $15 is good, and the White House put out a book report about socialism. Enter the Hellhole …

Gender Will Not Be Erased

No state should determine your gender identity, your fate, or your stars. That’s part of what makes the Trump Administration’s cruel actions so alarming. The attack is three-fold:

  1. The Department of Health and Human Services is being hijacked to erase transgender identity by redefining who can qualifies for services. HHS holds enormous sway in health coverage, Medicaid eligibility, etc…
  2. The Justice Department is arguing that federal civil rights laws don’t protect against gender-identity discrimination in the workplace. This will impact anyone marginalized on the basis of gender: transgender folkx, gender non-conforming people, or even ciswomen.
  3. The US is pressuring for trans-erasure in the United Nations.

These decisions will certainly be challenged in court and Brett Kavanaugh, like Justice Anthony Kennedy before him, is more likely than not to provide the decisive vote.

This isn’t just a matter of the marketplace of ideas with abstract actors and outcomes. This is life or death for many transgender people. This push for erasure will allow for violence from the government, from bosses, and from individuals without any official channels for redress.

While Seattle may be seen as a safer place, the same tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook that have won plaudits for being progressive on LGBTQIA+ issues, are just as complicit in electing reactionaries who are working tirelessly to hurt our comrades.

Workers of the world must unite alongside the oppressed. By the time they come for any cis-readers, it will be too late.

The Fight for Bakaro

Bakaro Mall represents a fight in the struggle for community control against the forces of outside capital. Bakaro Mall is publicly owned and currently rented to help support local residents, many of who are immigrants. The plan as of September is to get rid of the mall to build housing. While it’s undeniable that housing is needed, so too are dignified wages and not being treated as a cog to be reassigned by Amazon, Uber, etc.

SeaTac decided in September to sell the property to developers, with not even a guarantee of right-to-return. In response, workers organized for Takele Gobena, of Teamsters 117 and the SeaTac Community Coalition, to fill a vacant seat on the council and to win a place at the table.

While the council passed over on Gobena for Amina Ahmed, sworn in this week to be the first Somali-American member of the council, the fight for the Bakaro and for greater representation in local political decision-making continues.

Raising Wages, Still Good

The authors of the notoriously-flawed UW study on the $15 minimum wage have backed away from the “raising minimum wage hurts poors” theme and admitted as much. “We’re prepared to have a lot of people come out and say we’re contradicting ourselves. That we’re flip-flopping” said Jacob Vigdor, the University of Washington economist leading the study who previously worked at right-wing think tanks AEI and The Manhattan Institute.

We knew all along that raising the local minimum wage to $15 would always be a net positive — no matter what the doomsayers proclaimed. But even now, too many of us are priced out of the very city where we work, and too many of us can’t afford the very products and services we strive to create and provide.

Raising the minimum wage isn’t enough. Working multiple jobs just to pay rent and survive isn’t enough. We deserve bread AND roses. We need socialism in our lifetimes.

The White House and the Capitalist State is Shook

Buried in the glue-huffing haze that forms the White House’s bizarre term paper on the evils of socialism is a silver-lining: capitalists are actually scared to see socialism’s resurgence. Good.

Check out this gem:

The socialist narrative names the oppressors of the vulnerable, such as the bourgeoisie (Marx), kulaks (Lenin), landlords (Mao), and giant corporations (Sanders and Warren).

The White House, Unironically

Shucks. They figured us out. They know about our hatred for oppression in its many forms.

While the report is laughable in many regards, its a sideswipe at our fight to win Medicare for All, claiming that if M4A “were financed through higher taxes, GDP would fall by 9%” which is a take so wrong even Vox decided to write about it.

So, read the report, laugh it off, then get organized! We have a world to win!

Archival Photo of Kenny Booker for the lay-up during a basketball game. Courtesy of Associated Students of the University of California at Los Angeles

 

Note: The Seattle Hellhole represents the views of its writers and are not official positions of Seattle DSA at large. Its writers are a collective working on independent pieces, editing, and design to deliver this each week. If you want to volunteer, join us in #communications on Slack or email [email protected]