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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2015

Kshama Sawant

Kshama Sawant   (Click to enlarge)

Seattle councillor Kshama Sawant re-elected

Socialist policies get results!

Laurel Fogerty, Socialist Party south west London

Following an electrifying and historic campaign Kshama Sawant, Seattle's first socialist city council member, was re-elected on 3 November. She campaigned on bold socialist policies - tackling wage theft, enforcing rent controls, providing emergency housing for the homeless, and using a 'millionaires tax' to fund stretched public services.

This unwavering focus on key issues that affect ordinary people secured her re-election with 55.5% of the vote.

With no big business backers, her campaign was funded by small donations from the public totalling nearly $500,000, with a median donation of just $50 (33). This stood in stark contrast to her Democratic Party rival whose campaign was backed by slum landlords, business moguls and even Republican donors.

Support for Kshama was galvanised by the success of her first year in office. Just six months after her election in 2013, Kshama and a mass movement of working class people pushed Seattle City Council to pass an historic $15 an hour minimum wage throughout the city. This measure is expected to pull some 100,000 low-paid workers out of poverty and add $2.5 billion to their pay packets over the next ten years.

On the council, Kshama refused to accept budgets that cut or underfunded vital public services. Instead she demanded a 'people's budget' that prioritised working class needs.

This same strategy was used by Militant-supporting socialist councillors in the 1980s who proposed 'needs budgets' in opposition to Margaret Thatcher's swingeing cuts. And this tactic, applied to councils across the UK, will be vital if Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is to succeed in opposing Tory austerity.

The victory of Sawant and Socialist Alternative (co-thinkers of the Socialist Party) in Seattle shows that these tactics can win. An unwavering socialist programme focused on the needs of the working class can politicise young workers, energise volunteers and voters, and spark mass movements that can win real victories for ordinary people.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 11 November 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Bail out the NHS

Socialist policies get results!

Government departments agree to hack budgets

Tories open the door to further rises in tuition fees

Fury as India's leader Modi plans to visit Britain

Buyers queue overnight for 'affordable' London homes

School kids must walk hands behind backs says head

Them & Us

What we saw


Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2015: Socialist ideas back on the agenda


International socialist news and analysis

USA: Kshama Sawant re-elected

UK trade props up Kazakh dictatorship


Workplace news and analysis

Unions should keep independence to lead fight to defend Corbyn

CWU rep sacked

Hull council in aggressive attack on trade unions

Step up the fight for trade union rights

Huge support for socialist in Northern Ireland union election

Workers dig in for fight over job threat

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Can biomass energy be part of a socialist plan of production?

Revolutionary themes in games


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save steel jobs

Jeremy Corbyn visits Leeds Uni

Southampton council: cutters or Corbynistas?

Derby school support staff: fight against pay cuts continues

Fight now on to save disabled respite centre


 

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Related links:

Kshama Sawant:

triangleAmazon bosses defeated in Seattle - Kshama Sawant reelected

triangleKshama Sawant reelected in Seattle

triangleUS: "Launch a mass, working-class fightback"

triangleBlack Friday day of action against Amazon

triangleCWI news in brief

Socialist:

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: Material deprivation and the impact on schools

triangleNew left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now

triangleSocialist Party national youth meeting

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: Marxist economics

Seattle:

triangleHow can Trump be defeated?

triangleWorldwide walkout at Google against sexual harassment

triangle1,000-strong rally in London this weekend

Council:

triangleStop Pimlico gentrification

triangleWe need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July

Election:

triangleSupport Sharon Graham for Unite general secretary

Pay:

trianglePublic sector pay - NHS, teachers - Prepare for action!

Socialist Alternative:

triangleFight the rotten establishment

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