New boss, same corporate bullying

Posted on February 15, 2021

Jeff Bezos’ announcement that Andy Jassy will replace him as the CEO of Amazon matters for our grassroots campaign to defend Kshama Sawant against the right-wing recall effort. Because while the corporate figurehead is changing, what remains constant is Amazon and big business’s staunch opposition to Kshama Sawant, to the Amazon Tax our movement won last year, and to socialist politics.

Jassy, who called the idea of an Amazon Tax “insane,” was one of at least 10 members of Amazon’s elite “S-team” of top executives who donated to the campaign of Egan Orion, Amazon's candidate against Kshama in the 2019 elections. In addition to his maxed-out donation to Orion, Jassy put $5,000 into the Orwellian-named “People for Seattle” corporate PAC, one of the multiple corporate PACs which spent big against Kshama and other progressive candidates.  

As we’ve said from day one of this fight, the right-wing recall represents a desperate attempt by big business to force a re-do of the 2019 election after they failed to buy the election with unprecedented corporate spending. The same forces behind Orion's campaign have been lining up behind the recall. As The Stranger has reported in September, the contact lists from Egan's corporate campaign were freely shared with the recall campaign soon after it was launched. Billionaire Trump donor Martin Selig, who spent $25,000 to overturn our 2018 Amazon Tax victory, is backing the recall.

The public has no way of knowing whether Amazon’s new CEO is amongst the recall campaign’s 77% of anonymous donors, but it’s clear that as in 2019 this effort is being financed by huge quantities of corporate cash. The Recall Campaign has already begun to brazenly flex their quarter-million in dark money, putting up a large “Recall Sawant” billboard at the intersection of Jackson & Martin Luther King Jr. Way, a few blocks from Kshama’s house. 

Notably, the billboard is in the same location that in 2019, right-wingers vandalized yard signs to say "Fuck Sawant" outside of the Seattle Girls School, a middle school for girls aged 11-14. The vandalism has continued this year with our Solidarity Campaign posters being burned or torn down by recall campaign supporters. The recall has also taken out an ad in the Madison Park Times, using a photo of Kshama that is a favorite of the right-wing media, depicting her as the “angry brown woman.” 

These right-wing attacks are only going to increase as the recall campaign builds its corporate war chest and the conservative media whips up more hate. We defeated 2019’s record-breaking corporate onslaught by fighting back with a powerful grassroots movements, and that’s again what it will take to defend our voice for working people in City Hall. 

Amazon CEO-to-be Andy Jassy is himself a resident of Kshama’s District 3, which is shaping up to once again be at the center of the struggle over the question of who runs Seattle: Amazon and big business, or working people. Working people can’t afford to let Seattle become a playground for the rich.

We can’t let corporate bosses buy this Council seat, as they’ve tried to do time and time again. Can you donate right now to support the Kshama Solidarity Campaign’s defense of our voice for working people in City Hall?