Socialist Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Up for Re-Election, Visits New York for Fundraiser

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Kshama Sawant, the first socialist to be elected to the Seattle City Council since 1877, attended a fundraiser for her re-election campaign at the All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City on May 31.

Sawant, who represents District 3, is in her first term and won against Democrat Richard Conlin in 2013. She is best known for her efforts in pushing for the $15 per hour minimum wage, which was passed by the City Council last year.

Journalist Chris Hedges, activist and Socialist Alternative member Eljeer Hawkins and former Green Party Gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins attended the event to support Sawant.

Hawkins discussed his own candidacy last year when running for governor of New York and how Sawant had helped him raise funds. In addition, he emphasized how it was vital for Sawant to win in Seattle to ensure other third-party candidates across the US are able to build-off the success of her campaign.

“That’s why this election is so important. Kshama needs to win so we can have credibility as a progressive, independent movement,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins noted how the Democrats would prefer to see Sawant lose in order to incorporate independent movements into the party. He pointed at a comment by a Workers Families Party member who wrote it would be better to see a Tea Party Republican win than Hawkins.

“Their whole point is to prevent independent politics. That’s what the Democratic Party really wants to do,” Hawkins said.

Eljeer Hawkins, an activist, spoke next about the poor conditions throughout the world and why it was still important to not only mobilize, but organize as well. Moreover, he focused on the rise of SYRIZA in Greece and Podemos in Spain.

“We must always remind ourselves we are part of a global majority,” Hawkins said.

Moreover, Hawkins emphasized the successes Sawant pushed for, including the $15 minimum wage in Seattle.

“Kshama Sawant has done more in one year than most politicians have done in two or three terms,” Hawkins said.

Hedges was introduced next and highlighted the successful “corporate coup d’etat” in the U.S. Although, Hedges said there was still an opportunity to change the country.

“The only response, if we are going to recover a country that does not slip into a corporate, oligarchy tyranny…is if we overthrow the system,” Hedges said. “Let me repeat that word in case anyone from Homeland Security is here and that’s overthrow.”

Earlier this year, Hedges wrote a piece for Truthdig on Sawant where he called her the “Most Dangerous Woman in America.” He wrote how “Sawant’s fight is our own.” (more…)