Progressive cheers escalated on Friday after Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant officially defeated a right-wing recall effort, which the Socialist Alternative lawmaker called “part of the national backlash” of the billionaires and big corporations targeting lawmakers and others fighting for social justice and working people.
“The ruling class in the United States is afraid of these kinds of moves and so we shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction.”
Election officials in King County, Washington approved the anti-recall effort, which led from 50.37% to 49.63%, ie a margin of only 306 votes out of 40,986 cast.
âWe won three elections and now we have defeated that recall,â Sawant said. noted during an interview Thursday for Jordan Chariton’s Coup d’etat status Podcast. “We have defeated big business and the right wing in their attempt to use … trumped-up charges against me personally to stymie the success of the working class movements in Seattle.”
The turnout was around 53%, an unusually high figure for a special election that nearly matched the 55% level in last year’s general election. Sawant’s supporters used an array of tactics to secure the vote, including pop up tents where the ballots were printed, to reach voters.
Sawant, the longest-serving Seattle council member and the first to be recalled, has been charged with “mischief, embezzlement and breach of the oath of office.”
His supporters, however, argued that Sawant’s successes in fighting for the working class and against billionaires and big business have made her the target of “a cabal of tech companies, real estate interests and business lobbyists.”
Sawant was instrumental making Seattle the first major American city to adopt a minimum hourly wage of $ 15. She also helped run the so-called ‘Amazon Tax’ campaign on large corporations and the fight for strong tenant protections, including free legal aid for those threatened with eviction and a Tenants Bill of Rights.
“The ruling class in the United States is afraid of these kinds of moves,” Sawant told Chariton, “so we shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction, and the recall against us was at least part of that reaction.”
The member of the Socialist Council also said that “it is no coincidence” that two of the three reasons given for the recall “were linked to my participation and my solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement”.
“The recall against my office is part of the nationwide backlash … against racism and against oppression,” she said.