Earlier this week a link to “The Most Dangerous Woman in America” popped up in my email inbox. I immediately assumed ‘she’ had to be either Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren, and was surprised to see, when I got to the link, that she was instead a woman I’d never before heard of, a woman by the name of Kshama Sawant, a Socialist who first sat on the Seattle Washington city council in January 2014 and is up for reelection this year. The article describes her as one who has, during her just over one year on the council,
“. . . helped push through a gradual raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle. She has expanded funding for social services and blocked, along with housing advocates, an attempt by the Seattle Housing Authority to allow a rent increase of up to 400 percent. She has successfully lobbied for city money to support tent encampments and is fighting for an excise tax on millionaires. And for this she has become the bête noire of the Establishment, especially the Democratic Party.
With a resumé filled with such populist accomplishments, she’s “become the bête noire of the . . . the Democratic Party”??? WTF?? The article continues:
The corporate powers, from Seattle’s mayor to the Chamber of Commerce and the area’s Democratic Party, are determined she be defeated, and these local corporate elites have the national elites behind them. This will be one of the most important elections in the country this year. It will pit a socialist, who refuses all corporate donations—not that she would get many—and who has fearlessly championed the rights of workingmen and workingwomen, rights that are being eviscerated by the corporate machine. The elites cannot let the Sawants of the world proliferate. Corporate power is throwing everything at its disposal—including sponsorship of a rival woman candidate of color—into this election in the city’s 3rd District.
So apparently it’s not only Republicans that are underneath the corporate thumb, but Democrats as well? How disgusting is THAT??
I followed the link to her website and found this, her own synopsis of her accomplishments:
Dear friends and neighbors,
We have officially completed a year in office and what a year it’s been!
• Thanks to our hard-fought 15 Now campaign, we passed the historic $15 minimum wage in Seattle.
• To crack down on rampant wage theft in our city, we won additional funding for the new Office of Labor Standards.
• Together with indigenous activists, we established Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
These and many other victories have shown what is possible when we build movements—we can overcome resistance from the political establishment and its corporate backers to improve ordinary people’s lives. We should celebrate our successes, and then build on them to win even bigger victories.
I hope you will join with me. Let’s take our city forward and make Seattle affordable—for all.
OK, NOW I get it! NOW I understand why even the Democrats want her out of there. It’s because her accomplishments and agenda are UN-AMERICAN (!) because they favor the worthless bums in the lower and middle classes and NOT the filthy rich of the upper crust! Wow, suddenly it all makes perfect sense. IT’S THE MONEY! 😯
Back to the original article; its author (Chris Hedges) describes Sawant as one who “is as intense as she is articulate.” He continues,
Sawant, born in India, is a leader of the Socialist Alternative Party. She holds a doctorate in economics from North Carolina State University and before her election to the City Council was a professor at a community college. She knows that there will be no genuine reforms, let alone systemic change, without the building of radical mass movements and a viable third party.
“A viable third party” is undoubtedly Hedges’ key phrase. But is it possible? Speaking for myself, I had huge hopes that when Barack Obama was elected in 2008 together with a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, the chances were very good that we as a nation could finally overcome the middle class disaster wrought by decade after decade of “elite” control. I was wrong. There are far too many “elite” buggers on both sides of the aisle, and too, with a Supreme Court already over-packed with justices owned by those same “elites,” the consequences were predictable. The once loud and proud voice of ‘We the people’ is now under the firm control of the monied “elites,” and there it shall remain until the bums are tossed. It’s also clear that the only way we’ll ever accomplish same is through a mass movement that makes no claim to either the Republican or Democratic Party philosophy of money-based power. A third party? Maybe, but not really necessary. The real task is to elect people like Sawant to public office at all levels, including Congressional and Executive. In Sawant’s words,
“The idea that things have to get a lot worse to have some sort of awakening and bring about an alternative to this corrupt and defunct corporate political system is inaccurate. What we need is a big surge for an independent working-class political alternative while people are experiencing a sense of confidence, after decades of bitter defeat. . . .
“We have to provide a place for people looking for something different, especially the younger generation. Any presidential campaign cannot be run as an end in itself. That will dishearten people. People know what is going to happen in 2016. It is going to be Hillary Clinton or some Republican. Our campaign needs to be a launching pad for something bigger. It needs to be about building a mass movement, a viable radical alternative. This is what is happening in Greece and Spain.”
The concept of returning this nation’s government to “We the people” — to retrieve it from the oligarchic and fascist entities which have worked diligently since Roosevelt’s death in 1945 to further enrich and empower themselves at the nation’s expense — is a most intriguing concept. The possibility that a vibrant surge of the working class embedded in a Socialist movement could actually serve to revitalize the Constitution and a functional Democracy beggars the imagination.
Count me in. Anyone else?