Socialist candidate for Seattle City Council, Kshama Sawant, appears to be closing in on a victory over a long time incumbent corporate Democrat. Mail-in ballots are being counted and as the later received ballots are being counted, it seems there has been a late surge in support for her. She just needs 52% of the remaining ballots to win, but her percent in recent count has been steadily increasing and the latest count shows over 58% for her.
It is also interesting that she evidently has split a section of the base of the Democrats, with members of several local Democratic clubs supporting her. The US capitalist class has had a monopoly over US politics for so long that they don’t really know what to say, but they are starting to sit up and take notice. Forbes magazine is running an article denouncing Kshama and saying that she shouldn’t even be allowed to teach economics since she’s a socialist! (The replies to this nonsense are even more interesting than the article itself; the great majority support Sawant.)
Meanwhile, Sawant’s organization, Socialist Alternative, is evidently calling for the running of 200 independent left candidates in the next mid-term elections. Sawant’s campaign shows that socialism can be placed on the agenda, that people are not afraid of the word anymore. In fact, one poll showed that among young adults age 18-29, 46% viewed capitalism favorable (vs. 47% who viewed it unfavorably), while 49% viewed socialism favorably (vs. 43% who viewed it unfavorably).
Sawant and socialism have already scored a victory with this campaign. Now, if she actually wins the election, it will really start to put socialism on the map. We hope she and the organizers of her campaign follow this with a nation-wide speaking tour and that this tour is used to help socialists, and working-class fighters, organize to make that goal of 200 independent left (or socialist) candidates a reality. We will certainly do whatever we can here in Oakland, and in the San Francisco Bay area, to help.