Dispatches, Official Statements

Seattle DSA Statement in Support of Council Member Kshama Sawant

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In 2019, Seattle’s 1% blatantly attempted to purchase a city council seat. Working people all over the city recognized this, fought back, and won, re-electing Kshama Sawant by thousands of votes. Now the rich are at it again. They think the left is going to fall asleep now that Biden has been elected President – the perfect opportunity to get rid of Kshama Sawant. Seattle’s right wing have already raised almost $200,000 to “recall”  the only socialist on Seattle City Council. Their goal is to start collecting signatures as soon as January, and then undemocratically remove Council Member Sawant from office in a recall referendum designed to fall on a low-turnout, spring or summer 2021 election.

The threat posed by this recall has not gone unnoticed. At our December 2020 General Membership Meeting, Seattle Democratic Socialists of America members voted in a landslide to stand in support of councilmember Kshama Sawant. The resolution, reproduced below in full, affirms that Seattle DSA considers the recall effort against councilmember Sawant as a direct attack on all socialists, and will actively work to defeat this power grab by Seattle’s 1%. 

For years, as a Seattle City Council Member in district 3, Sawant has been a strong champion for the working class, leading with the Amazon Tax to provide housing for working people, the fight for a $15/hour minimum wage, tenant protections including a winter eviction moratorium, and calling to defund the police on every single budget since she’s been in office. If you are someone who has to work for a living in Seattle, there’s probably something Kshama has sponsored that has benefited you! 

Kshama Sawant shows, by example, that electing even one socialist to a city council can result in tangible victories for working people. Though Sawant’s organization, Socialist Alternative, is a different organization than Seattle DSA, and we each have our own goals, we know that there is much that unites us. And we respect Sawant and SA for all they have accomplished during Sawant’s time in office.

All of us who think that Seattle City Hall should not be for sale to the highest bidder should actively work to defeat this blatant power grab. That is why the Seattle DSA electoral committee will start the new year with an active campaign in CM Sawant’s district, to talk to our neighbors about the true nature of this recall campaign, and the economic and political forces behind it. If you’re interested in volunteering for our campaign or helping organize, please sign up here . An attack on Kshama Sawant is an attack on working people in Seattle. But if working people fight together, we will win. Let’s get ready to fight!


Here is the full text of our resolution.

Seattle DSA Stands in Solidarity with Kshama Sawant

Co-Sponsors: Aram F., Laura L., Justin R, Fernando C., Barbara P., Ty M., Robert L., Roy Z., Philip L., Ramy K

Adopted by Seattle DSA membership at our December 1, 2020 meeting by a vote of 94% to 6%

Whereas Seattle City Council Member, Kshama Sawant, the only socialist on council, has led on and fought for policy victories like $15/hr, the Amazon Tax and police accountability;

Whereas CM Sawant has been attacked ferociously by Big Business, the political establishment, right wing groups like Safe Seattle and police unions;

Whereas CM Sawant has attracted the ire of Seattle’s political and economic elites, as well as hate groups such as Safe Seattle, due to her defense of marginalized communities;

Whereas CM Sawant is frequently the target of racist, misogynistic attacks due to her status as a strong woman of color in a leadership position;

Whereas CM Sawant has been the most consistent voice on the Seattle City Council in favor of defunding the police and investing in our communities;

Whereas Seattle DSA endorsed CM Sawant in her successful reelection campaign in 2019, when she defeated a candidate bankrolled by Seattle’s business elite;

Whereas Seattle DSA has endorsed the Kshama Solidarity Campaign;

Whereas local media have reported that the recall effort is funded in part by local landlord and Trump donor Martin Selig and his daughter Jordan Selig in cooperation with the business-funded candidate who lost to CM Sawant in 2019;

Whereas all the alleged misconduct used to justify this recall are baseless and frivolous, but we nevertheless cannot rely on the judges of the state Supreme Court to block the effort;

Whereas the immediate pretext for the recent recall effort against CM Sawant is her speech at the June 29 march to the street adjacent to Mayor Durkan’s home — a march that was organized by Seattle DSA;

Therefore be it resolved that Seattle DSA stands in full support of CM Sawant as she fights off this recall effort;

Be it further resolved that Seattle DSA considers this recall effort an attempt by the corporate Democrats to remove CM Sawant after they tried and failed to defeat her at the ballot box;

Be it further resolved that, within 14 days of adopting this resolution, the Seattle DSA Electoral Committee will:

  • Reach out to SA and Kshama Solidarity for a meeting.
  • Publish a public statement on our support of the Kshama Solidarity campaign and our shared politics.
  • Begin organizing a list of DSA “Apartment Captains” who will assist in either canvassing their apartment complexes, or coordinating with canvassers.

Be it further resolved that should the recall petition qualify for the ballot in 2021, Seattle DSA  will:

  • Endorse a “No” vote on the recall initiative.
  • Create a subcommittee of the Seattle DSA electoral committee, which will be called DSA Kshama Solidarity, and which will last for the duration of the recall election and will be dissolved thereafter.
  • Make the maximum allowable financial contribution to the campaign, up to $1000, to defeat the initiative.
  • Organize canvassing by Seattle DSA members and other voters within Seattle City Council District 3 in support of a “No” vote.