Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/932/24244

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 January 2017

USA: Seattle activists win housebuilding programme

Socialist Alternative's Kshama Sawant has twice won a seat on Seattle's city council, photo Socialist Alternative

Socialist Alternative's Kshama Sawant has twice won a seat on Seattle's city council, photo Socialist Alternative   (Click to enlarge)

Adam Ziemkowski, Socialist Alternative (US co-thinkers of the Socialist Party)

Housing activists in Seattle, organised into the 'Coalition to Build 1,000 Homes', have scored a major victory, winning $29 million for affordable housing in the 2017-2018 council budget. They pushed through a final unanimous vote in the city council, despite fierce opposition from the city's Democratic establishment.

Seattle city council member and Socialist Alternative activist, Kshama Sawant, who spearheaded the effort, celebrated the movement's victory and explained: "Let's be clear. We won this because we built our coalition and a movement. We made it impossible for corporate Democratic politicians to ignore our proposal."

200 new homes

The additional $29 million will allow the city to build nearly 200 homes for low-income residents, and it sets an important precedent for using city bonding authority to build desperately needed affordable housing.

For working people in Seattle, especially communities of colour, this is a big deal. Seattle is experiencing an economic boom and an unprecedented wave of development, but as luxury condos and office space are built, they often replace older, more affordable units.

Rents are rising faster in Seattle than anywhere else in the country, and more than 4,500 people are living on the streets without shelter. Seattle family doctor and coalition member Libby Loft observed: "If I could write a prescription for housing, it would be far more powerful than any medicine at my fingertips."

The 1,000 Homes movement emerged out of a victory by Black Lives Matter and other activists, who successfully blocked construction of a new $160 million police precinct. Kshama's office then reached out broadly to service providers, activists, unions, faith communities, housing advocates, and social justice organisations to fight to use that same funding to instead benefit ordinary people and communities of colour.

In the end, hundreds of activists and more than 70 organisations joined the coalition. Many also saw spending the money on housing as the best way to permanently block the new police "bunker".

1,000 Homes coalition members again and again packed City Hall for budget meetings and public hearings. Hundreds of people made phone calls, sent emails, and signed petitions to council members.

We plastered the town with posters, and progressive Democrats from Seattle legislative districts passed resolutions supporting the 1,000 Homes demand. Coalition activists also organised 'stand-outs' on street corners and attended events to demand other council members vote yes on Kshama's 1,000 Homes amendment.

We compelled the mayor and city council members to respond to our demand, which they had so desperately wanted to ignore.

First, they said it was impossible to build housing with the police precinct money. After Kshama presented a detailed report from city staff explaining exactly how the money could be reallocated, the Democratic establishment changed its tune and instead claimed the proposal was "fiscally irresponsible".

Priorities

But community members kept hammering them with a simple question: why did the bonds make fiscal sense when proposed for the most expensive police precinct on the continent, but not for affordable housing?

Ultimately, the council rejected the full $160 million proposal, voting instead for a much smaller $29 million package and leaving funding available for a new police precinct in the future. While celebrating their victory, coalition activists were understandably outraged by the council's serious weakening of the measure, given the gravity and urgency of Seattle's housing crisis.

In mid-December 2016, coalition members helped Kshama pass ground-breaking tenant rights legislation, capping move-in fees and requiring landlords to offer payment plans - over howls of opposition from the real estate lobby.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 18 January 2017:


What we think

Labour's civil war continues - build a mass workers' party

Tories torn in two on single market


Resist Trump

Resist Trump

Inaugurate the resistance

We can stop Trump's sexist agenda in its tracks


International socialist news and analysis

Mexico: Mass movement against "gasolinazo"

USA: Seattle activists win housebuilding programme

1917revolution.org website to launch


Socialist Party news and analysis

'Black alert' NHS: Demonstrate 4 March

Eight billionaires own as much as half humanity!

Pollution kills 600: fight for clean air!

Northern Ireland calls snap election: back Labour Alternative

Millwall FC move threat: Defend the Den - 'wall not Renewal


Workplace news and analysis

Billions in profit for Tesco, cuts and job losses for workers

Liverpool dockers and drivers protest "appalling lack of facilities"

Manchester: BA cabin crew pay strike

London: Taxi drivers gridlock City of London

Southern Rail strike continues

Unite the Union elections

PCS union national executive elections


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

The Socialist: read it, write it, sell it

Protesters surround Sheffield's cutting council

Fracking protest in Sherwood Forest

Residents protest at plans to close nine community centres

Anger at south east Kent Momentum meeting

Socialist Party national committee agrees document for congress


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Theatre review: high art and savage poverty in Bootle

John Berger: remarkable art of a contradictory socialist

Socialist artists invite others to exhibit work

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 January 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

USA:

triangleTense, lively prologue to events which changed the world

triangleHuge anger internationally on marches against Trump

triangleMillions on women's marches around the world: Build a mass movement against Trumpism, austerity and capitalism

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: Trump and right wing populism

triangleUSA: mass protests break out to #ResistTrump

Seattle:

triangleSolidarity not racism - Socialism not Trumpism

triangleJoin the Socialist Party to fight for socialist change

triangleSolidarity to end LGBT-phobia

triangleUSA: the un-Democratic primary

Housing:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Council:

triangleAslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to fight to win

Homes:

triangleWales council votes to buy back homes

Socialist Alternative:

triangleBuild 100 days of resistance to Trump's agenda!

Rents:

triangleWhy I joined: "Things have to change"

Kshama Sawant:

triangleNo Ban, No Wall: Socialism not Trumpism

International

International

15/2/17

France

French presidential election: crisis in the establishment parties

15/2/17

Yemen

Yemen solidarity

15/2/17

Spain

Report: Izquierda Revolucionaria central committee meeting

15/2/17

CWI

Committee for a Workers' International and Izquierda Revolucionaria - towards unification

15/2/17

France

France: police attack triggers protests

15/2/17

Podemos

Spain: clear win for left in Podemos!

8/2/17

Donald Trump

Solidarity not racism - Socialism not Trumpism

8/2/17

Romania

Romania: mass protests against corruption go on

8/2/17

Syria

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?

1/2/17

Trump

Build 100 days of resistance to Trump's agenda!

1/2/17

Tamil

Tamil Nadu mass protests against state repression

1/2/17

Bangladesh

Bangladesh: 'Hartal' protest against destructive power plant

25/1/17

Donald Trump

Huge anger internationally on marches against Trump

25/1/17

CWI

International news in brief

25/1/17

India

India: struggle against land grab in Pune

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Feb Tata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

triangle16 Feb Aslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to...

triangle15 Feb Socialist Students: growing, brimming with confidence

triangle15 Feb March to save #OurNHS

triangle15 Feb Vibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike

triangle15 Feb French presidential election: crisis in the establishment parties

No cuts!, photo by JB

triangle15 Feb Council cuts can be fought - and they must be!

More ...

triangle20 Feb Chesterfield Socialist Party: Capitalism - On the edge of the volcano?

triangle20 Feb Leeds Socialist Party: LGBT rights & the Russian Revolution

triangle21 Feb Bristol North Socialist Party: Where is Britain heading?

triangle21 Feb Manchester Socialist Party: Where does British capitalism come from?

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice