Big business bought a mayor, don’t let them remove Kshama!

There was one clear message on election night: big business has yet again used their money and influence to buy political power. Big business bought a mayor, and their favored candidates are in the lead in two other races. Many progressives and young people are recognizing that the next few years will mean bitter battles against politicians in the pocket of the Chamber of Commerce. 

This means we need Kshama Sawant in office more than ever to fight for working people and stand up against this onslaught by big business. It is absolutely crucial that we stop this racist, right-wing recall!

Help our campaign cancel out the right-wing recall’s big-business-funded warchest by giving $200, $50, $27, or whatever you can RIGHT NOW!

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Planning the way forward requires an honest assessment of how we got here. In the context of a summer of struggle, which mobilized over 20 million Americans onto the streets in peaceful protests for Black Lives Matter, Lorena González echoed the demands of ordinary people calling for an end to police brutality. 

Then, across the country, as the protests came to an end the political establishment and right wing mounted a backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement. This attack meant criminalizing leading figures in the movement to make an example of them, like the right-wing recall Kshama is facing. It also meant waging an ideological battle against any demands to hold the police accountable or to move resources away from bloated police budgets toward affordable housing and community services. 

The main weapon the establishment used was a fear-mongering, law-and-order offensive. They framed extreme income inequality and the affordable housing crisis as a failure of progressive politics, rather than the continuation of decades of big business-backed, anti-worker policies. They portrayed themselves, absurdly, as opponents of status quo politics.

Unfortunately, Lorena González did not change the terms of the debate. Rather than going on the offensive to fight for rent control and a major expansion of affordable housing paid for by increasing the Amazon Tax, she got mired in a disingenuous discussion about SPD job satisfaction. Rather than taking clear positions on bold demands that could make a real difference in the lives of working class people and the oppressed, she went on the defensive and gave space to Harrell’s empty “unity” message. 

She also failed to expose the massive corporate PAC spending in the election on Harrell’s behalf. Over $2 million in PAC money was spent this election cycle by real estate behemoths like Vulcan. While there was no million-dollar Amazon check as there was in 2019, the huge spending on countless mailers, web ads, and attack pieces was obvious. But, by being largely silent on this issue while not fighting for working-class demands like rent control, González allowed Harrell to seize the mantle of a “change” candidate.

Why? Likely it is for the same reason that González never came out in support of the Tax Amazon movement and does not support Kshama Sawant’s rent control legislation — González and many other progressive Democrats hope to win elections by not upsetting powerful business and real estate interests. However, this is not a successful strategy, and in trying to take a middle position, she failed to win the support of working people and young people who are disillusioned by politics. It is the opposite of our approach to the 2019 Seattle elections where we made it clear from day one what was at stake was “who should run Seattle — Amazon and big business or working people.” It is the opposite of our fight for rent control, the Amazon Tax, the $15 minimum wage, and groundbreaking renters rights laws; all of which were won by building movements, not by trying to fly under the radar of big business forces.

It was always crucial that we defeat this racist, right-wing recall campaign against Kshama Sawant, but now with these apparent victories by big business, the stakes are even higher. 

Since the right-wing recall campaign has engineered the most undemocratic Seattle vote possible with this unprecedented December ballot, we always knew turnout would be key for our election. The unfortunate election night results make it even clearer that we'll need to build the biggest Get-Out-The-Vote operation this city's ever seen. We plan to do exactly that.

Young, working, and oppressed people will need to do more than just vote for us to defend Kshama, our movements, and our victories. Just last year, our movement and City Council office led the way for the historic Amazon Tax, and in recent weeks, we won crucial renters’ rights victories like six months’ notice on all rent increases. 

We’re continuing to fight for rent control, so far collecting over 15,000 signatures demanding another groundbreaking win for working people in Seattle. This is how we can effectively defeat big business and the right wing again. To win, we'll need more volunteers, donors, and canvassers than ever before.

Our movement has a ton of work ahead of us, and only a short amount of time left before this December 7th election. Over the next month, we will need to knock thousands more doors, deliver hundreds more yard signs, and send mailers to every home in District 3. Please donate $200, $50, $27, or whatever you can RIGHT NOW to make sure we have the funds to sustain our effort and defeat this racist, right-wing recall and their voter suppression.

Remember to look out for a ballot in your mailbox shortly before Thanksgiving, VOTE NO immediately on the right-wing recall by December 7th, and then help us get out the vote!

Solidarity,

Emily McArthur

Campaign Director