Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/789/17762
Stunning election victory in Seattle
90,000 votes for socialist change
Four and a half thousand miles away, in Seattle USA, the possibility of building a mass electoral voice for working class people has been glimpsed. This is in the most powerful capitalist country in the world, with much less of a history of a strong socialist movement than in Britain. Yet Kshama Sawant has been elected as a council member for Seattle on behalf of Socialist Alternative (co-thinkers of the Socialist Party). At the time of writing Kshama has won over 90,000 votes for socialism.
In her interview in this week's Socialist she declares: "I've seen a lot of comments saying that there's something unique about Seattle. Of course there are always things that are different from one situation to another but... given the crisis of capitalism... there is absolutely no question that there are opportunities. And if it can happen in the belly of the beast there is no reason why it can't be done elsewhere. But it's not automatic which is why we need to consciously build our forces."
Here in Britain, at election time, four in ten people say they choose 'none of the above'. This is a record level of disillusionment with the major capitalist parties. No surprise. Cameron has proudly declared that the Tories plan permanent austerity. They intend that all the misery of the last two and a half years - pay cuts, decimation of public services, the bedroom tax, queues outside food banks, choosing between heating and eating - will continue forever.
Nor is Labour fundamentally different. While many workers will vote Labour at a general election in order to try and get rid of the Con-Dems, it is not in the hope of getting a government that will stand up for the 99%. On the contrary, Labour leaders Miliband and Balls have made it clear that 'the next Labour government will make cuts too'.
Labour local authorities across the country are implementing the Con-Dem cuts. Individual Labour councillors who vote against cuts face suspension or expulsion from the party for their 'crime'. Rachel Reeves, the shadow welfare minister, has declared that Labour will be tougher on welfare than the current government!
The need for a mass party that stands for the majority - the working class - has never been so urgent. In the local elections on 22 May 2014 the Socialist Party in England and Wales will be taking part in a major electoral challenge to austerity as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). Join us to campaign, vote and think about being a candidate, for TUSC.
But it's not just about elections. Kshama was successful because she stood in solidarity with campaigns for decent wages and conditions for workers in Seattle. She constantly made clear that she is a socialist who fights for a fundamentally different type of society.
Capitalism is a system that works for the super-rich 1%, based on the exploitation and misery of millions of working people. The victory in Seattle reflects the fact that ordinary people, in the US and beyond, have had enough. We need to fight for a socialist alternative to capitalism, based on democratic planning to meet the needs and desires of the majority of the population and of the planet.
See more about the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and how you can get involved at tusc.org.uk
On social media
A sample of the comments from Facebook and Twitter:
History is made: Democrat cedes to socialist in #Seattle. Congratulations to Councillor Kshama Sawant #cwi #tusc
Congratulations from all Socialist Party & @PCSLeftUnity members in PCS to Kshama & all US comrades. A voice for the 99% #victoryinSeattle
Quite remarkable election in #Seattle Challenging Tweedledee and Tweedledum politics that is the norm
Amazing news @VoteSawant- Socialist Kshama Sawant takes historic lead over Conlin in Seattle council race
It looks like the lady has won!!! @VoteSawant ...and what a victory....for all of us...everywhere. #socialism. #CWI #NSSN #TUSC
Victory in Seattle! Congratulations to Kshama Sawant and all US comrades with the CWI (and the international helpers!!!). This is just the beginning!!!
- Follow @VoteSawant on Twitter
- Like the Vote Sawant page on Facebook
Read the Socialist's interview with Kshama at www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/789/17760
In The Socialist 20 November 2013:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party comments and reviews