Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/996/27400

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 May 2018

Tax Amazon movement wins in Seattle

Socialist Alternative members and supporters take to the streets of Seattle in the fight to tax Amazon, photo by Socialist Alternative

Socialist Alternative members and supporters take to the streets of Seattle in the fight to tax Amazon, photo by Socialist Alternative   (Click to enlarge)

Keely Mullen and Calvin Priest, Socialist Alternative USA

On 14 May, Seattle City Council passed a historic tax on Amazon and other big corporations to fund permanently affordable, publicly owned housing. The driving force behind this victory was the strength of our #TaxAmazon movement.

Under the leadership of Socialist Alternative council mem-ber Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative, housing activists, and Democratic Socialists of America, our movement put this issue on the table last autumn when we occupied city hall overnight and brought our fight into the November city council budget hearings.

In the week before the final vote, big business and their purchased politicians like Mayor Jenny Durkan, worked furiously to water down the legislation and fill it with corporate loopholes. Durkan put forward a counter-proposal that cut the proposed $75 million tax to $40 million a year with the majority going to temporary services, which will include inhumane homeless sweeps rather than building permanently affordable housing.

Due to the strength of our Tax Amazon movement, her proposal was voted down by the city council finance committee. Over the weekend however, while the movement was in the streets fighting for $75 million with no corporate loopholes, the rest of the city council was working out a deal with the mayor and big business.

While the deal they worked out is only marginally better than the Bezos-Durkan deal with $48 million in new revenue as opposed to the proposed $75 million, it is a $48 million a year transfer of wealth from the hands of big business to working people that would never have been won without the fight we mounted.

Threats

As with the $15 minimum wage, what we won was based on the strength of our movement, our ability to continue to mobilise broad public support, and our ability to politically defeat the arguments of big business. Amazon fought viciously against this tax in its entirety and we have now wrested tens of millions from Bezos' hands to fund affordable housing.

In the lead up to the final vote, Amazon sent an extortionary threat to Seattle workers. Amazon threatened to halt construction in Seattle if this tax was passed, holding over 7,000 construction jobs hostage!

It made no immediate financial sense for Amazon to halt construction on this project part-way through, and this tax doesn't even come close to making a dent in the massive profits they make in Seattle. It was a shameful act of bullying by the billionaire class and a blatant attempt to divide Seattle workers.

Amazon's share of the tax would have been pocket change to CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man on earth. This extortion was an attempt to maintain an iron grip over local political policy by flexing the muscles of their massive capital and weight in the Seattle economy.

It was also a message aimed at intimidating workers in other cities around the country where Amazon has offices and fulfilment centres.

As socialists, we are not naive about Amazon's enormous power or the number of jobs it holds sway over, but we completely reject capitalism's 'race to the bottom' which seeks to pit housing against jobs, city against city, and worker against worker. This is standard for a system that places profit and the wealth of a few over the needs of the vast majority of society.

Jeff Bezos' wealth sits on top of the shoulders of tens of thousands of Amazon employees, and it's those employees who create its wealth.

We need a fundamentally different society - a socialist society - where rather than bending to corporate extortion, we would take big corporations like Amazon into democratic public ownership and run them by workers instead.

Trendsetting victories by socialists like a tax on Amazon or the passage of a $15 minimum wage are critical first steps, but our movements cannot stop there.

Social housing

Capitalism is incapable of providing quality affordable housing for all, and we need to fight for an alternative to the broken private housing market and for rent control. We need a massive expansion of tens of thousands of units of publicly owned and run social housing.

We can also ensure all money generated though rents is invested straight back into maintaining and expanding publicly owned housing instead of being funnelled upwards into profits.

Finally, we can mandate that the housing be built with 100% union labour with priority hire given to local construction firms, ensuring the maximum benefit for Seattle workers.

The victory our movement has won in Seattle has the potential to spread around the country.

By building a determined, unapologetic movement we have won one of the most progressive big business taxes in the country. The leadership of Socialist Alternative and Kshama Sawant in this movement cannot be overstated.

By basing ourselves on the power of working people to disrupt business as usual, we forced the entire business and political establishment in Seattle to capitulate to our movement.

Now we have to continue the fight; not only for immediate gains in the present, but for an alternative to the bankrupt system of capitalism. A future where nobody is allowed to die alone on the street, nobody is forced to choose between homelessness and an abusive partner, and nobody is forced out of the city where they work.

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


In The Socialist 23 May 2018:


What we think

Tories prepare for possible snap election


Socialist Party news and analysis

Capitalism's Grenfell shame - Tories must go

Homeless charity colluding to deport homeless!

Youthful enthusiasm to break with repression of past

New Ebola threat

Government continues to back failed private rail

Support refugees rights


France '68

May 1968: 'Communist' leaders hand power back to defeated bosses


Socialist Party workplace news

Victory: how school strike beat 'academy' privatisers

Threat to unity of PCS left

PCS conference votes for strike action

Solid strike at Tesco Dagenham distribution centre forces pay talks

Services disappearing from Harrogate

College staff caught between the devil and the deep blue sea

First ever strike at TGI Fridays


International socialist news and analysis

Yes to the struggle to lift the siege

Tax Amazon movement wins in Seattle


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Stop Trump! Build for 13 July student walkouts

Student leaders claim one million on the streets against Brexit - fight for a workers' exit

Let's sell 1,000 extra copies of issue 1000!

Leicester socialists fight poverty-paying sweatshops

Sheffield Pride organisers defeated in attempt to ban politics

40 attend Socialist Party housing campaign launch in Windsor


Section 28

30 years on from Section 28: the legacy of fighting LGBT+ attacks must continue


Opinion

How 'Prevent' training fosters racist paranoia

Ads won't fix it: fight mental health cuts as well as stigma

We can learn about struggle from the mass trespass of Kinder Scout

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 May 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Amazon:

triangleSeattle council repeals Amazon Tax

triangleAmazon tax halves as revenues soar - nationalise now!

triangleAmazon workers living in tents

triangleCushy government job for Amazon boss

Tax:

triangleRichest worth 724bn... as 100,000 kids fall into poverty

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: The battle that defeated the Poll Tax

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The fight against the poll tax

Seattle:

triangleUSA: Defend socialist councillor Kshama Sawant

triangleDefend socialist councillor Kshama Sawant against lawsuits

triangleUSA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

Housing:

triangleGrenfell disaster: one year on, still no prosecutions, still no adequate housing..

triangleHousing strike against individualised pay enters week two

Big business:

triangleDesperate divisions in Tories - Corbyn and unions must act

Wealth:

triangleSocialist nationalisation: what it is and why we need it

Socialist Alternative:

triangleUnited working class movements can defeat Trump

Capitalism:

triangleWhat We Saw

Minimum wage:

triangleFirst ever strike at TGI Fridays

Kshama Sawant:

triangleMass rally to commemorate 1917 Russian Revolution

USA:

triangleUSA: Huge 'march for our lives' protests

Economy:

triangleNo to Trump's trade war

International

International

20/6/18

Seattle

Seattle council repeals Amazon Tax

13/6/18

Venezuela

Venezuela: Neither the capitalists nor regime can solve the crisis

6/6/18

Italy

Italy's political crisis is reverberating through Europe

6/6/18

Jordan

Jordan: Workers and youth remove prime minister and demand end to austerity

6/6/18

Donald Trump

No to Trump's trade war

4/6/18

Gaza

Eyewitness report from Gaza: "Razan was killed in front of my eyes"

30/5/18

Ireland

Historic victory won by grassroots movement

28/5/18

Ireland

Landslide vote to repeal Ireland's abortion laws

23/5/18

Gaza

Yes to the struggle to lift the siege

23/5/18

Amazon

Tax Amazon movement wins in Seattle

16/5/18

Spain

Spain: Student general strike against sexist, capitalist 'justice' system

16/5/18

Belgium

Belgium Lidl strike victory

16/5/18

Gaza

Exclusive interview with Gazan activist: "The more they kill us, the more the anger increases"

16/5/18

Sweden

Sweden: Socialist elected leader of 77,000-strong tenants' union

9/5/18

Israel

Socialists fight for Palestinian liberation and workers' unity

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999