(Note: This article was written at the time of the election of Kshama Sawant. It was enthusiastic, and that was correct at that time. As the final sentences in the article point out, any real struggle of, by and for the working class must also involve a struggle against the present union leadership Unfortunately, since the time of Sawant’s election, she and her group – Socialist Alternative – have tied themselves to the union bureaucracy and have turned further and further towards the mainstream liberals as a result. That is really a shame. For further articles and updates, just type in “Sawant” in a search of this blog site.)
by John Reimann
A socialist has been elected to the Seattle City Council. No, this is not a “socialist” like Obama has been called (by the Tea Party, who also call him a fascist!) Nor is this a closet socialist, who whispers that she’s socialist in the dead of night with nobody around or pretends that capitalism can be made more kind with a few “socialist” policies. Nor is this somebody who pretends she can resolve workers’ problems for them.
Kshama Sawant, born in Mumbai, India, where she spent her early childhood, has stunned the political establishment by handily winning her race against long time liberal Democrat incumbent Richard Conlin in the Seattle City Council. A member of a socialist group – “Socialist Alternative” – Sawant campaigned around some very practical demands including for a $15 per hour minimum wage in Seattle, for rent control, and other issues. But she has also not hidden her support for socialism. Society can’t be “more socialist”, she says. “It can either be capitalism or socialism.” “We have to find an alternative to capitalism itself… democratic socialism.”
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