Editor Note: Dispatches, unless official statements from the LC or members, represents the views of its writers and does not necessarily represent official voted positions of Seattle DSA at large. DSA Members are welcome and encouraged to write editorials at any time. Simply reach out to [email protected] or find us on slack via #comms_design_wg. The following post was written by Barbara P.
In 2019 the Seattle elections became a referendum on who runs the city: big business or working people. Amazon and big business made it crystal clear that the biggest prize for the establishment would be getting rid of socialist city councilmember Kshama Sawant. But working class people fought back and won: decisively demonstrating Amazon can’t buy city hall.
Yet again, this year big business has hand-selected candidates: Bruce Harrell, Sara Nelson, and Ann Davison. Once again, their top priority is to rid themselves of socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant — this time through an undemocratic recall process on a low turnout winter special election.
In the labor movement, we recognize that an injury to one is an injury to all. Losing the fearless leadership of our only socialist city councilmember would truly be a massive setback for all working people in Seattle, which is why 20 unions have endorsed the Solidarity Campaign.
In this context, where big business and the right wing are united in their effort to push back progressive politics, it’s alarming that not one member of the Seattle City Council has yet spoken out against the recall against Kshama Sawant. Not one has yet denounced the blatant voter suppression of the recall campaign.
It’s time for City Councilmembers to pick a side. Support Councilmember Sawant and working people against the right-wing recall.
Rank-and-file Democrats at the 43rd LD voted by an overwhelming 83% majority to stand with Kshama back in February saying, “It is shameful to see such an undemocratic and retaliatory effort led by the same upper-class in Seattle who perpetuated racist and misogynistic attacks against Sawant for years.”
Girmay Zahilay and Rebecca Saldaña have both endorsed the Kshama Solidarity Campaign. King County Councilmember Zahilay recently led the charge on expanding a number of renters’ rights protections to cover all of unincorporated King County-and many of these victories were pioneered right here in Seattle by Councilmember Sawant. It’s clear tenant advocates working to prevent the tsunami of evictions are standing with Councilmember Sawant against the powerful real estate profiteers and billionaires funding this recall.
This year CM Sawant has continued leading the way in fighting for a renters’ bill of rights. The new legislation that prevents school year evictions for students and school workers brought forward by Sawant’s office is the strongest of its kind in the nation. From the $15 minimum wage to the Amazon Tax to renters rights laws, Kshama has led the way on urgently necessary and groundbreaking legislation time and again.
The rich and powerful are going all out to oust Councilmember Sawant and the left from Seattle politics. Throughout history, the right-wing attacks socialists and the right-to-protest as a precursor to going after all progressives. Seattle City Councilmembers should stand with Kshama and our movements against the Republican-backed recall.