by Charles Fredricks
We came from LA, Toronto and Alaska, to witness the results of a race for one district of the Seattle City Council. We knew the results of this election had the potential to reach far beyond Seattle’s city limits. As Chris Hedges put it, I want to stress how important the re-election of Kshama Sawant is nationally you can be sure that not only the establishment in Seattle but the establishment nationally is determined to crush this movement because it expresses the real concerns [and] needs of working men and women in this country utterly abandoned by both the Democratic and Republican parties http://tinyurl.com/HedgesEndorsementVideo
When results came in, the crowd let out a roar. Kshama was ahead by five percentage points. Despite the last minute infusion of corporate cash to her Democratic opponent, Kshama managed to out-fundraise her competition from small donations, $414,000 to $384,000. But it was the grassroots team of volunteers on the ground tabling and phone-banking that really made the difference, to get out Kshama’s message about skyrocketing rents, city-owned WiFi, mass transit and climate change. After pushing her city to commit to a $15 an hour minimum wage, the first in the US to do so, she was a target for the oligarchy. The donors to her opponent read like a Who’s Who of the corporate elite of Seattle and beyond; but people power carried the day.
We have had an open socialist re-elected!î she chimed in her victory address. This victory, this vote, is a strong victory for all working class people, for the socialist movement, and for independent working class politics. It’s a sharp reminder that the political establishment is increasingly out of touch with the anger and frustration of so many working class Seatle-ites who are struggling to get by in an increasingly unaffordable city. The pundits were wrong. Socialist politics are here to stay and will be a growing force in Seattle, nationally and internationally.
She went on to address those beyond the city’s borders. Brothers and sisters, our conditions are not unique to Seattle. There is a growing chasm of economic wealth and racial inequality opening throughout the nation. Most of us have had six years of a joyless so-called recovery. The political establishment is totally discredited, and we have a dysfunctional and broken two party system that is drowning in corporate cash. In the face of all this opposition we won the Fight For Fifteen in Seattle, and now it has become a national movement Nationally, the Bernie Sanders campaign has electrified the working class around the nation. Our victory, along with the enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, opens a new chapter for the American socialist movement a movement that consistently champions the working class, and all those oppressed by capitalism. Starting with funding for needed improvements in living standards.
Sawant has also talked about the need to oppose all forms of oppression and has called for a new independent political party for socialism based on working class interests and people.