Posted on October 14th
Last week, the Washington State Supreme Court tossed out the effort to recall Mayor Jenny Durkan. That grassroots recall effort sought to remove Durkan from office for allowing Seattle police to brutally crack down on #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd protesters under her watch, deploying tear gas and other weapons on them during the coronavirus pandemic. After reviewing the charges against Durkan, the Supreme Court concluded that the arguments against her were “factually and legally insufficient” to proceed.
At the same time, the King County Superior Court just summarily rejected the “motion for reconsideration” of its ruling that the right-wing recall campaign against Councilmember Kshama Sawant can go ahead. It should come as no surprise that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Durkan. At the end of the day, both Durkan and the courts are loyal to the same boss: the billionaire class.
It’s no accident that the courts are rejecting the recall against establishment mayor Durkan for overseeing police violence against Black Lives Matter protesters, while at the same time upholding the big business and right-wing campaign to remove our working-class elected representative who was tear gassed by Mayor Durkan’s police.
We should in no way assume that the recall case against Kshama will be thrown out by the courts in the same manner.
The courts under capitalism, just like the police, are in no way neutral. They are not on the side of working people or oppressed communities. The laws are written by and for the very rich, and they are enforced on a political and legal basis. That means that the legal system will side with corporate politicians like Durkan and not with working-class fighters like Kshama.
Already, without requiring any burden of proof whatsoever, and despite all four charges being inaccurate, the Superior Court judge has ruled against us on all four counts. Though our movement will continue appealing our case at every level of the legal system, we cannot in any way rely on justice being served to working and oppressed people. Washington State law is written such that courts do not judge the truth of charges in recall cases, and Kshama will not be provided an opportunity to defend herself against these dishonest claims.
Recall campaigns in our state have often been highly politicized and legally flimsy. Seattle’s last elected socialist, Anna Louise Strong, was driven from office by a recall campaign in 1919 for her links to the labor movement and opposition to World War I.
Last year, Seattle’s District 3 voters decided that we wouldn’t stand by and let corporations buy Seattle’s elections, and voted in Councilmember Kshama Sawant for her third term. We elected her to fight unambiguously for working people and alongside movements, and that’s exactly what she has done. Following her re-election, our movement won the historic Amazon Tax this past summer to fund affordable housing and services every year. As a result, the right-wing and the billionaires desperately want a do-over.
We had to go all out in last year’s election to defeat Jeff Bezos, and we’re going to have to do the same to ensure the corporate elite and right-wing don’t overturn that historic victory. We can’t afford to wait and hope that the legal system will rule fairly, and instead need to build the strongest possible grassroots defense against this attack now.
Please join us this Sunday, October 18th, at our Volunteer Kick-Off event! We’ll set up tables all over District 3 to talk to working people about defending Kshama’s seat in City Hall, as well as how we can win demands like defunding SPD by 50% to fund community programs, an elected community oversight board with full powers over the police, canceling rent and mortgages for those who’ve lost jobs or income due to COVID, and taxing the rich to fund Green New Deal programs. This will be a socially-distanced event, please wear a mask.