The Hellhole – Week of 2/18

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Photo of Marina Ginestà in Spain among Republican, Anarchist, and Communist forces fighting Franco's impending dictatorship. "No pasaran!" is overlaid, meaning "They shall not pass"

UW right-wing vandalizes monument to those who fought fascism in Spain (and many who died in the Holocaust)

Fascists recognize how popular socialist policies are. It frightens them. Reactionaries at the University of Washington defaced a memorial to the Spanish Civil War, a  struggle where anarchists and communists bravely fought dictator Franco’s rise to power and far-right rule. Many of those same Catalans were capture in Nazi-occupied France and sent to concentration camps.

Defaced monument to Spanish Civil War veterans who fought against Franco's dictatorship.
Defaced monument at UW dedicated to Spanish Civil War workers in the anarchist, syndicalist, communist, and republican-comprised coalition that fought Franco.

This petty move follows a growing trend in defiling public spaces, meeting locations, and monuments dedicated to socialists, anti-fascists, and civil rights icons, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The University of Washington is not immune to right-wing violence as shown during by the College Republican hosted Milo Y event where a comrade was shot. Much like we see in Oregon with damning collusion between the patriot prayer group and police and the ongoing harassment of everyone from the IWW to the mayor, right-wing rhetoric and militant preparation is escalating driven by the President and op-ed pages begging for the KKK. Just this week,  a Coast Guard officer stockpiled arms for right-wing violence against journalists and the left.

To everyone at risk of far-right violence, stay vigilant and protect others from harm.

Another Day in Washington: Right to Work Legislation being Pushed Nationwide

Sen. Rand Paul’s National “Right-to-Work” legislation, which breaks up union shops and guts resources workers use to fight back, is out there and totally expected. It’s backed by Trump, Koch, et al, but what is “right to work” you ask?

Following the passage of the National Labor Relations Act, business struck back with Taft-Hartley, a bill that weakened labor protections and allowed states to pass laws that would make it illegal for workers to agree to a contract with their employer in which new hires would have to join the union.

The idea is to prevent democratically-governed union shops from collecting dues from people they are legally required to protect and represent. Thus weakening unions, and the Left as a whole.

Time and time again, union jobs offer better benefits, more stable workplace conditions, protections against harassment and unjust firings, and more. In rank-and-file hands, it can help cut the pay gap based on gender and protect against racism, sexism, ageism, and ableism.

While Rand Paul’s bill won’t likely pass, the assault on Labor from the misnamed and billionaire-funded “Right to Work” Committee is unceasing — especially in Washington State.

Get organized. Seattle DSA runs a  Workplace Organizing Collective every week to teach and workshop ongoing organizing campaigns in the city. There’s no reason to fight the bosses on your own when you can have a whole shop backing you!

Fort Lawton Hearing Now on March 4

Record snows in King County delayed the Fort Lawton hearing. Now that it’s been moved to March 4, it’s worth reflecting on how many people went without heat, without shelter, and without running water during the storm.

For the survival of Seattle, please speak up for Affordable Housing at Fort Lawton. You can register here.

IWW Secures Wins for Evergreen State Students and Faculty

Thanks to organizing by the IWW South Sound General Education Union, the following good as hell demands were met:

Sound familiar? The Hellhole wrote about the Evergreen State College admins hiring cops over new faculty in November. These Wobblies don’t waver when it comes to justice at work and in their community.

Punchline: Tim Eyemannnn

Tim Eyman is the resident troll in Washington politics, fighting at the behest of the mega-rich to prevent any shift from current regressive taxes on the poor to progressive taxes on wealth. He’s alleged to have verbally berated election workers to try and solicit gaffes, allegedly violated campaign finance law, held cringey press conferences, and has perennial “white guy hogging the mic” syndrome.

This week, Tim Eyman decided to take a seat. From an Office Depot. To be honest, Tim, everyone deserves a chair after a hard day’s work, even people with short-sighted policy goals that protect the wealthy while others go bankrupt.

Amazon Isn’t Alone

We rag on Amazon a lot. Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world while workers hustle to scrape by in warehouses. It’s criminal. Amazon isn’t alone though. Capitalism demands profit and that profit is taken from workers with low wages or from wage theft or both and also  from politicians selling out the commons for vaporware jobs guarantees like the recently cancelled $3bn handout from New York to AMZN—coming after the company got away with paying zero in federal taxes 2018 and received $1.61 billion in state and local subsidies over the last two decades. But Amazon is not alone.

Google sought millions in tax breaks through shell companies, Netflix avoids taxes like the plague,  Apple has “black sites” that offer exploitative work conditions for migrant workers and contractors, and the list goes on. This is all in addition to tech companies’ massive surveillance apparatus and collusion with states against workers, migrants, and more.

The problem isn’t Amazon. Or tech in general. The problem is concentrating power and wealth created by the many into the hands of the few. The result is monopoly power, but that’s what happens in capitalism. It’s bad folks.

Look at the UN Definition of Genocide then look at what the US is doing to Migrants.

The US is engaging in an ongoing and deliberate assault against Indigenous, Latinx, and Muslim migrant populations. The United Nations defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

The United States has

  1. Killed immigrants
  2. Harmed migrant children
  3. Deliberately kept migrants in horrific conditions
  4. Intentionally withheld care from pregnant migrant women
  5. Taken migrant children away from their parents permanently

One could weasel-argue that it’s not the intent of ICE and the United States to destroy migrants per se, but the ethical and material reality of their actions is clear.

1 in 5 booked into Seattle prisons are unhoused

We know that King County’s wealth and housing stock isn’t trickling down. A recent report in Crosscut revealed that 1 in 5 booked into Seattle prisons are unhoused. Prison worsens behavioral health outcomes and makes it much harder to find housing. The feedback loop of crisis->street->jail->crisis is real, and the police are be used as muscle to fix problems created by inequality gone mad and a government that refuses to hold the rich accountable.

We need socialism in our time, and in our city. One step? Let’s get involved in modifying the King County Charter. It’s happening now.

Bernie Runs

Bernie Sanders announced he was running for President, and raised, like, $6 million from over 100,000 people. At our convention in January, Seattle DSA passed a resolution calling on Bernie Sanders to run in the 2020 Presidential election through the Democratic Party’s primary; and has called on DSA to promptly endorse Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Interested in getting involved? Come to the next meeting.  


Note: The Seattle Hellhole represents the views of its writers and does not represent 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 #wg_comms_design on Slack or email [email protected]