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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 August 2015

US: Kshama Sawant leads Seattle primary elections count on 50%

Seattle 'Socialist Alternative' councillor Kshama Sawant speaking in London at Socialism 2018 on 10.11.18, photo Mary Finch

Seattle 'Socialist Alternative' councillor Kshama Sawant speaking in London at Socialism 2018 on 10.11.18, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Alternative reporters

Kshama Sawant, a member of Socialist Alternative (co-thinkers of the Socialist Party in the US) won almost 50% of the vote in a Seattle City Council primary on 4 August. She was standing to defend the seat she won in 2013 as the first open socialist elected to a council in a major urban area in decades.

Kshama was a full 15 percentage points ahead of her nearest opponent, Pamela Banks, in a field of five candidates in her district.

This result is a confirmation of the support among ordinary people in Seattle for Kshama's work on the council over the past 19 months.

Most importantly, she played a critical role in winning the first $15 minimum wage ordinance in a major city.

She used her position to help build, with union support, a grass roots movement, 15 Now, which has spread to cities across the country.

After many other battles, Kshama is now leading the struggle for rent control and building high-quality public housing to address the massive affordability crisis in the city.

Recently 1,000 people packed a town hall meeting to hear Kshama in a debate with a developer lobbyist and a politician supporting the developers.

That such a debate is taking place at all is a measure of the political shift that has been created by having a voice on the council for the struggles of working people.

Challenging campaign

Kshama's excellent vote came in a challenging primary environment where the electorate tends to be older and wealthier than in a general election. Big business has been increasingly pouring money into the campaigns of Kshama's opponents, particularly that of Pamela Banks.

The result reflects a ferocious campaign with 600 volunteers, who knocked on 30,000 doors and raised an incredible $265,000, not a single penny of which came from big business.

This result clearly gives Kshama an excellent platform going into the general election campaign. But there is no room for complacency. Big business is very likely to step up the attack and pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into this race.

It might seem incredible that so much corporate money would flow into one city council race, but big business is clear about what's at stake.

They see the massive excitement created by the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, who has taken up the call for a national $15 minimum wage and who calls for a "political revolution" against the billionaire class.

There is a radicalisation under way in the US. Kshama's fight for re-election is the fight of all progressives across the country.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 19 August 2015:


Socialist Party features

The Labour Party, Militant and 'infiltration'

Gulf War 'unfinished business' remains today


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Subscribe to the Socialist!

Fascists caged, humiliated and driven out of Liverpool

We won't pay for their crisis!

Anger at bus service cuts in Sheffield

TUSC by-election boost in Grimsby and Cleethorpes


Socialist Party news and analysis

Corbyn stand: A welcome upheaval in British politics

Solidarity with the Polish workers' strike

Government discrimination against EU workers

Kids Company closure

Them & Us


Workplace news and analysis

Socialist challenges right winger for Unison leadership

National Gallery all-out strike goes on as bosses sell off jobs

London tube's summer of strikes joined by First Great Western

Probation and courts union Napo needs socialist leadership

Uni unions ready Manchester jobs fight

Retail union must fight Sunday trading deregulation

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Building a new left alternative after Syriza capitulation

Ireland: drop the prosecutions, scrap the water charges

US: Kshama Sawant leads Seattle primary elections count on 50%


 

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