Sawant Socialist Alternative Campaign doing well – facebook post to CodePink

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Subject: [CODEPINK DC] Sawant Campaign Optimistic Of Eventual Victory!…
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2013 23:09:34 -0800
From: Alan L. Stewart
Reply-To: Reply to Comment
To: CODEPINK DC <7652470775@groups.facebook.com>

Alan L. Stewart posted in CODEPINK DC

Sawant Campaign Optimistic Of Eventual Victory! Election Victories
for Socialist Alternative – Huge Opportunities for Working-Class
Politics Must be Seized

Two Socialist Alternative candidates sent historic shock waves through
the United States left last night. Both candidates, Kshama Sawant in
Seattle and Ty Moore in Minneapolis, mounted the strongest election
campaigns by open socialists in a major U.S. city in many decades.

Only initial results have been announced, and more ballots are being
counted in the next couple weeks. At the moment, both races are too
close to call. Moore is down by only 130 votes. Sawant is down by only
4% in the initial count of an estimated 38% of the total ballots
expected, with the remaining ballots likely to trend strongly in
Sawant’s favor.

Regardless of the final count, the votes for these firebrand socialist
candidates illustrate clearly the vacuum in U.S. politics and the
anger at the corporate-controlled establishment.

Rooted in the Great Recession and the shallow economic recovery, there
is a tremendous distrust of the political establishment, which fueled
both campaigns. The government shutdown also stoked up a popular rage
that allowed the socialist campaigns to strike a real chord with
ordinary people. During the government shutdown, the approval rating
for Congress slumped to a historic low of 5%. In a Gallup poll, a
record-high 60% said that a new party was needed in the U.S., and a
record low of only 26% said the two parties were doing an adequate
job.

Many people in the U.S. often feel discouraged and demoralized by the
rigged pro-corporate electoral system. However, these campaigns
demonstrated beyond a shadow of the doubt that independent candidates
and ordinary working-class people can challenge the establishment and
win without taking a dime of corporate money! Ty Moore raised more
money than his main corporate-backed opponent, and Kshama Sawant
raised $110,000 compared to her opponent’s $238,000.

Socialist Alternative’s campaigns showed clearly that it is possible
for ordinary people and young people to organize together and fight to
change the world. Socialist Alternative wants to build on this
momentum, and is appealing to people to donate and get involved with
Socialist Alternative to help us build future campaigns of the 99%
like the “Fight for a $15/hour minimum wage and a union” and the
struggle to tax the super-rich to pay for a green jobs program and
mass transit.

As cuts to popular government programs like Social Security are likely
coming, possibly in the next few months, both corporate parties will
probably see their support further undermined. Going into the 2014
mid-term elections, these socialist campaigns have shown the huge
opening for independent working-class politics. Coalitions of fighting
union leaders, socialists, Greens and civil rights groups should be
built in every city across the country to organize movements and mount
independent candidates.

These election results, along with the Arab spring, the Wisconsin
labor uprising, and the Occupy movement, have made possible what
seemed impossible. They are ushering in a whole new process. Not only
are these electoral campaigns leading to the growth of a new vibrant
socialist movement in the United States, but they will also serve as a
model that will contribute to the eventual inevitable rise of a new
party that will fight the richest 1% – a mass party of working
people.

Socialist Ideas on the Rise

Many people on the left argue that socialist ideas cannot gain mass
support in this country; these campaigns show that they’re dead
wrong. Pew Research Center Polls show over and over that a majority of
young people and people of color now prefer “socialism” to
“capitalism.” Obviously, this consciousness is confused, but it
illustrates that people are fed up with growing inequality, the
unbearable rises in the cost of living, and capitalism itself.

Sawant and Moore’s opponents barely bothered to resort to
“red-baiting” against socialist ideas. Instead, incumbent Richard
Conlin in Seattle used thinly-veiled anti-immigrant and sexist
rhetoric against Sawant while Alondra Cano in Minneapolis shied away
from negative campaigning, preferring to rely on her support in the
real estate industry and the political establishment.

Socialist ideas are clearly back on the agenda, and Socialist
Alternative is uniquely positioned to help build a new socialist
movement. This needs to be done by socialists being the most effective
fighters for the needs of ordinary working-class people such as a $15
an hour minimum wage and a tax on the super-rich to fund jobs and
services. Socialist Alternative has stood out on the left for our
ability to connect with politicized workers with understandable
language. At the same time, we honestly explain that reforms in our
society can only be fully sustained if power is taken out of the hands
of big business and a new socialist system based on democratic public
ownership of the top 500 corporations is established.

Building Movements

Ty Moore’s campaign in Ward 9 of Minneapolis was built alongside
important high-profile housing justice campaigns led by Occupy Homes
Minnesota. Moore and Socialist Alternative helped co-found this
organization which successfully defended many homeowners from being
evicted by big banks and the police. The center of Occupy Homes’s
“Foreclosure and Eviction-Free Zone” was in Ward 9, a diverse,
working-class community, and both Occupy Homes and the Moore campaign
mutually reinforced each other.

Likewise, in Seattle, Sawant’s campaign helped put the “Fight for
15” – strikes and protests of low-wage workers for a $15/hour
minimum wage – at the center of political debate. When labor
organizations placed an initiative on the ballot to raise the minimum
wage to $15 in the suburb of SeaTac, Socialist Alternative
energetically built this movement while aiding victimized striking
workers and countering arguments against raising the minimum wage,
contributing to the ballot initiative’s historic success.

Eventually, both mayoral candidates, who hadn’t mentioned the
minimum wage at the beginning of their campaigns, came out vaguely in
support of a $15/hour minimum wage. Sawant’s success at shifting the
political debate prompted the Seattle Times, the largest newspaper in
Seattle, to say before the election that “the winner of Seattle’s
election is already the socialist Kshama Sawant.”

The Labor Movement

These independent working-class electoral campaigns have important
lessons for the labor movement, which is facing a serious crisis. The
labor movement is under attack from big business, and the Tea Party
Republicans are trying to destroy union rights altogether. However,
Democratic politicians are often the ones proposing cuts,
privatization and other attacks on unions, too. In this situation, the
labor movement needs to regain its fighting traditions and run more of
its own independent working-class candidates.

Instead, labor leaders often back Democrats either out of fear of
Republicans, habit, or the fact that many labor leaders live lives of
luxury that have more in common with politicians than their own
members. However, the Moore and Sawant campaigns demonstrate that
workers are increasingly fed up with politics as usual, and labor
support can be gained by credible independent campaigns with concrete
demands. Moore obtained the active support of SEIU State Council in
Minnesota which played an instrumental role in the campaign.
Meanwhile, Sawant won endorsements from six union locals, and a
majority of the King County Labor Council voted in favor of endorsing
Sawant (narrowly missing the super-majority necessary for an
endorsement).

In the coming months and years, union members will face continual
attacks on their rights and living conditions. In the course of these
fights, we’ll need to use protests, pickets, strikes and direct
action to defend ourselves. Workers will have to struggle to win
democratic control of their unions and elect leaders who are actually
willing to resist the corporate onslaught. These battles will show the
need for workers to have their own independent political
representation, and the Moore and Sawant campaigns show that unions
can run very successful independent candidates, which should be a step
towards forming a new party of the 99%.

Next Steps

Many people who supported Moore and Sawant are breaking from the
Democratic Party, but aren’t ready yet to fully break from the
Democratic Party. Socialist Alternative will continue to argue within
social justice movements and coalitions that the Democrats are
fundamentally a party of big business, and that working-class people
shouldn’t give any support to them – even candidates on their
“left wing.”

We urgently need a party of working people, connected to social
movements, fighting unions, community organizations, Greens and
socialists. As a concrete step to get there, we should form coalitions
throughout the country with the potential to come together on a
national level to run 100 independent working-class candidates in the
2014 mid-term elections. The unions who supported the Moore and Sawant
campaigns and many others should run full slates of independent
working-class candidates in the mid-term, state, and local
elections.

U.S. capitalism is in a deep economic and social crisis. The political
establishment is discredited, and their system of government appears
broken. Deep anger is growing against inequality, racism, sexism and
homophobia. Environmental destruction is worsening. The situation is
crying out for an alternative.

If socialists, Greens and union leaders don’t capitalize on this
opening, then the right wing will. For instance, a Libertarian
candidate for Virginia governor won over 145,000 votes in this
election. Even worse, reports show that openly racist far-right groups
are growing.

This is an urgent situation. We need to actively build the socialist
movement along with broader coalitions of the 99% to challenge the
agenda of big business. The incredible election results of Ty Moore
and Kshama Sawant are shining examples of the way forward.

To join Socialist Alternative today:
http://www.facebook.com/l/rAQFehE5JAQHax2rj99JNyzX1bex0AHVQPCvdmCf8QDwKcw/socialistalternative.org/join/

To donate to Socialist Alternative:
http://www.facebook.com/l/XAQHxQJvfAQFbm7_MqZ5EKkNtJKCxi_0IaAo3sAe8q_Zj8A/https%3A%2F%2Fvotesawant.nationbuilder.com%2Fdonate
We do not accept corporate money; so we need your support!

Kshama Sawant campaign information:
http://www.facebook.com/l/CAQHUlbz2AQF1UtM-ZIBSJlHnnaKy6bdo8FA6SexsI_Pi8Q/www.votesawant.org/

Election Victories for Socialist Alternative – Huge Opportunities for
Working-Class Politics…
http://www.facebook.com/l/3AQGUZP6aAQF-KjqgTYwXmoltkWaU7U35ZyPr6-_-WsFINA/www.votesawant.org/election_victories_for_sa

Two Socialist Alternative candidates sent historic shock waves through
the United States left last night. Both candidates, Kshama Sawant in
Seattle and Ty Moore in Minneapolis, mounted the strongest election
campaigns by open socialists in a major U.S. city in many decades.

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