SEATTLE—Kshama Sawant, the socialist on the City Council, is up for re-election this year. Since joining the council in January of 2014 she has helped push through a gradual raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle. She has expanded funding for social services and blocked, along with housing advocates, an attempt by the Seattle Housing Authority to allow a rent increase of up to 400 percent. She has successfully lobbied for city money to support tent encampments and is fighting for an excise tax on millionaires.
“Sawant said it is incumbent upon socialists and the entire U.S. left to swiftly begin the task of building working-class political campaigns independent of the Democratic Party in order to create the space for a viable national party.”
Yes, a SINGLE national party, not 20 parties of the left that garner 100 votes in each election.
If all parties, single interest groups and individuals of the left, in the US, would form a coalition, establish or adopt an umbrella party (why not the Greens?), and run a single candidate for any given office, that would introduce real politics into the US political system, and would probably elect some leftists to congress.
This strategy is working in Germany and in South America. Why wouldn’t it work in the US?
That this has not been tried, or even seriously proposed and promoted, in the US, at this late date, amazes me.
Failing an adoption of this strategy, I think we can expect increasingly fascist rule by the RepubliCrat twins forever.
Why not the Greens? Because in trying to build an effective national party, their track record is abysmal.
I agree with your premise, but what is needed is an entirely new grass-roots party and a new generation of leadership.
Agreed, the Green’s track record has been abysmal. But let’s not write them off on that score. They are an established party with ballot access in many states, and building that ballot access took time.
It would probably take a newly established party eight years or more to equal that ballot access, and time is of the essence.
And the Green’s track record might be improved if some new thinking is brought into their strategy.
For instance, they should not be trying to break new ground with candidates until they are an established party. While I have no objection to a woman prez and vp, as they ran in 2012, many people do.
I think the Greens should run conventional appearing men as both prez and vp until they are an accepted party, in order to increase membership.
Sorry ladies, but I consider building a viable party of the left of higher priority than women’s liberation. I’d happily vote for Kshama Sawanta as prez, but I fear most would not.
While running candidates for the executive is glamorous, it’s also impractical. Presently we should focus on electing people to the congress, not to the executive. A Green prez without any support in congress would be powerless, and the congress would do all in its power to make him look ridiculous.
Chris Hedges would be an excellent candidate for any office, and Green leadership should appeal to men of his caliber to run for important offices.
“…this singularly vicious and bizarre species of naked apes will one day soon lose the power to exploit and despoil and murder the life of this world.”
This will happen in one of three ways. We will elect people of sane disposition, or a successful revolution will take place, or they will manage to destroy all life on the planet.
Kshama Sawant is my current hero. It is imperative in the next election (and in all future elections) to permanently and relentlessly trash the two big business parties to the point that anyone who doesn’t support the defeat of these two parties will be labelled as corporate fundamentalists and tools of the 1%. I, for one, will drive around town with loud speakers on my van broadcasting to anyone who will listen (and to many who won’t!) about the evils of voting for either of the two established parties. I will appear at all public debates to trash both parties and when people ask me… “Who should I vote for then?” I will reply… “Anyone as long as they’re not a Democrat or Republican!” That’s as grass roots as I can get.
Good grief! You have effectively alienated half the electorate! Have you not noticed that the 2 most successful lefty candidates so far, as mentioned in the article, are WOMEN - the idea that folks won’t elect women is not only farcical, but self defeating …
What the GP needs are dynamic, fire breathing candidates, like Sawant, who know how to use a bully pulpit and who, IMO, have enough credentials to convince not only the poor, but the middle classes that they have the chops and the background to deal with the “big issues” - her degree may not help her appeal among working folk, but it certainly doesn’t hurt in terms of her appeal to folks of “middle class” sensibilities the left so often disdains, but will definitely need to succeed …
Frankly, when i, as a supporter of the cause, catch myself yawning at another speech filled with statistics and endless analysis, how do you think folks who are looking for inspiration, feel - King roused his audiences from the pulpit, not the Bureau of Labor statistics, for Pete’s sake … Say what you want about charisma, but it inspires and inspiration is what gets folks energized …
That was my first impression of Stein - i just hope she doesn’t get bogged down in the internal politics of the GP, that, IMO, have been what has stood in the way of its success … Combine the righteous indignation that i heard from her in the beginning with a vision of how it can be - not just how awful it is …
In the end, it isn’t just proposals that win folks over, it’s people - individuals. Obama’s “success” is understandably a cogent warning against the seduction of “charisma”, but the fact is, whether we like it or not, it really is important …
But the Greens do have at least a skeletal national base, and that is not easy to come by - a base that can be built on with fresh ideas and dynamic leadership … yeah, they do have some issues … and they need to deal with them, or be left by the wayside …
Wow, how inspiring …
Perhaps this is another case of overlooking the obvious - we are paying attention to her because she won … Would there be any of this press if she had lost …
So, it seems to me the best question to ask is - how did she do it? Was it because it was Seattle, and such a victory could not be reproduced in Middle America? What about McLaughlin? How did she do it? Was it just “the issues” ? But these exist across the country … I think we ought to take a look at the individuals - how did they convince folks to support them for office? What roll does the ability of individuals to inspire have to play? I think this is an issue too long overlooked, and too often denigrated …
Maybe it’s time, instead of simply putting, ipso facto, party “leaders” on the ballot - parties seek out, encourage and support folks of the same mind, but who have such abilities, to run … Like it or not, in the end, it is people, not simply “platforms”, we elect …
Kshama Sawant the most dangerous woman in America? If that is true, America needs many more like her! Being a Socialist is an anathema to the two major political parties. But it is long past due for these two evil political,war parties that are controlled by the same oligarchy and have both sold out the American people for far too long… to go the way of the dinosaurs. Diogenes would be proud of this lady!
Good on you Space_cadet.
We defeated cannibalism, why not its equally bloodthirsty cousin capitalism?
“I think you really stepped into it this time - wait 'til SR reads your post… ha-ha-ha”
I’m already hunkered down behind sandbags.
I agree with you - I think the terms “capitalism” and “socialism” carry so much baggage in this country that we are better off discussing ideas rather than ideologies …
I think the terms “liberal” and “conservative” are sort of in that same boat - let us dispense with labels and talk about ideas …
Smile … (sorry, i really dislike those smiley face thingies - emoticons I can deal with, like semi-colons with parentheses, but they apparently aren’t allowed here … )
Don’t hold your breath, FF. At least not until you have to, when these naked apes have so fouled the atmosphere that it won’t support large organisms anymore. Hell, I’d prefer you promote a human targeted viral extinction program to just throwing up your hands and waiting for us to kill ourselves and everything else along the way. We must at least try to save all the non-human life forms that we can which had nothing to do with this Creation-destroying madness in the first place.
The Democratic Party is, as Rahm Emmanuel and Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein and Harry Reid all illustrate, radically anti-democratic! They are merely posuers for the couch potato democrats. People who want to channel surf instead of deliberating their own fate.
Three Cheers for Kshama Sawant! She sets an example that, sadly, no one in our Oregon Green Party can hold a candle to.
It behooves us to look for our Kshamas in our neighborhoods and start getting them in shape to take over. We have to do it now. I voted for Stein, too, and Cynthia McKinney and Winona LaDuke and Sherri Honkala. There are some really dynamite folks around. All or us know some of them. It is important to get organized so we could change things. We can do something to change our direction. Our lives are on the line and we have a bunch of sophomoric empty suits in Congress. I know a hundred people who would be better than most of the losers we have elected so far. Let’s use these forums that we know, Common Dreams, TruthDig, KOS, and more. It is time to get serious.
The dearth of comments for either Hedges or Isaiah Poole reveals a progressive community that neither knows that for which they stand nor how to communicate that message to the rest of teh country’s electorate.
So what would your “base organization” do after it is built if not participate in electoral politics?