A "Republican Movement"

Published on May 13, 2021

A breaking report in Publicola reveals that the Recall Sawant campaign is rallying members of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) to their canvassing efforts.

In an email written by recall campaign manager H John Bridger II to SPOG and forwarded to its members last Friday, off-duty officers are called on to collect signatures, wave signs, and appear in “plain clothes” in order to “beef up” their sparse group of volunteers. Seattle Police (SPD) have lobbied for years against even modest police accountability measures and actively opposed candidates who support them. 

The Seattle Police had the largest single delegation of any department in the country to the January 6 Capitol riots, with at least six officers in attendance. A recent investigation identifying these officers shows that five of the six had generated lengthy histories of complaints over issues like excessive force.

The SPD, whose officers have killed at least 28 people in the past decade, has demonstrated a determination to remain unaccountable, underscoring the need for community control of the police.

While the Recall has accused us of “gaslighting,” courting the SPD’s active support is just the latest example of how what the conservative Patriot Journal refers to as a “Republican Movement” can, indeed, be accurately described as “right-wing.”

Why else do we call the Recall right-wing? For reasons like this: the 43rd Legislative District Republicans have also been encouraging their supporters to volunteer with the recall, recently posting a call to arms for signature gathering to recall “Kashama,” misspelling her name, as right-wing racists often intentionally do. In contrast, the 43rd LD Democrats resoundingly endorsed the Kshama Solidarity Campaign with an 83% majority.

Why else? Because in addition to SPOG and the 43rd LD Republicans, anti-homeless group SAFE Seattle is calling for volunteers to the Recall effort and posting videos of supporters tearing down our Solidarity Campaign posters. 

Earlier this month, this Recall Campaign backer posted a shockingly xenophobic rant comparing Kshama to a “rude guest.” Even more abhorrently, their official page recently threatened in a facebook comment, “I would never stop at her. I would just keep right on driving.”

Unfortunately, Kshama is unfortunately no stranger to intimidation as her office regularly receives racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic threats. However, this one is particularly frightening coming while a right-wing assault on the right to protest is being carried out across the country in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, including laws in Oklahoma, Iowa, and Florida which absolve motorists who attack protestors with their vehicles. 

Why else? Because the far-right, pro-Trump Breitbart News website, which has promoted conspiracy theories, xenophobia, white supremacy and neo-Nazism, has covered the Recall Campaign effort with an article that smears Kshama and progressive movements, calling peaceful Black Lives Matter protester “rioters” and the Occupy movement “violent.”

This is not the first time Breitbart has come after Kshama — earlier this year, they called for Kshama’s Twitter account (as well as Colin Kaepernick’s) to be silenced for supporting Black Lives Matter. 

Why else? Because the recall has the support of more than 100 rich Republican donors, including former Boeing CEO Frank Shrontz and major Trump donor and billionaire Martin Selig. Over half of the people who have given the maximum donation amount of $1000 to the Recall Campaign are Republican donors.

The reality is that Breitbart News, SAFE Seattle, Seattle Police, and rich Republican donors are united behind the Recall Campaign because it is right-wing in its very essence: it is an attack on the right to protest, on Black Lives Matter, and on Seattle’s only elected socialist, who has used her time in City Council to champion progressive causes like the $15 minimum wage, renters’ rights, and progressive taxes on big corporations, not working people. 

Not only is the Recall’s strongest support from conservative forces, but they’ve publicly said that they prefer to avoid the high-turnout November general election in favor of a lower-turnout special election — this is simply voter suppression by another name. They have promoted the recall on right-wing talk radio multiple times. The charges themselves attack Kshama’s peaceful participation in movements while the courts have blocked grassroots recalls against establishment politicians, including one against Amazon’s Mayor Jenny Durkan for her administration’s brutalization of protestors.

Almost laughably, the Recall’s latest round of attack mail attempts to turn the tables, saying, “SAWANT WANTS VOTERS TO BELIEVE REPUBLICANS ARE BEHIND THE RECALL. THE TRUTH? SHE WORKED AGAINST DEMOCRATS FOR YEARS...AND HELPED ELECT TRUMP."

As Rich Smith describes it in The Stranger: "If you’re looking for evidence of the Recall Sawant campaign operating in bad faith, look no further than their opening salvo: about 38,000 big, double-sided mailers full of the same bullshit Sawant haters have been hurling at her for years from the safety of their rapidly appreciating homes.”

The right-wing Recall (yes, we said it again and will continue to say it) can afford to bombard the District with round after round of attack mail, paid for by their copious wealthy Republican and corporate funders. We need to respond by mailing out flyers with our own message to defend against their distortions. 

A donation of $25 allows us to reach 50 households with our message. Add your donation of $25, or anything you can give, right now to stand with Kshama against these right-wing attacks.