They did it. Seattle voters elected a Socialist candidate to the city council.
Kshama Sawant, the “Socialist Alternative” and former Occupy Seattle organizer, defeated four-term Democratic incumbent Richard Conlin Thursday night.
The results from the Nov. 4 election took so long to come in because of Washington state’s mail-in ballot system, but Sawant’s victory was sealed when the latest ballots gave her a 1,148-vote lead over Conlin, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
Sawant, 41, is on leave from her post as a Seattle Central Community College professor. She ran her campaign blasting income inequality and supported raising the minimum wage to $15 for all workers in the city.
“I think we have shown the strongest skeptics that the Socialist label is not a bad one for a grassroots campaign to succeed,” Sawant told the Associated Press this week.
At a rally for slain teen Trayvon Martin in Seattle over the summer, Sawant linked so-called “stand your ground” laws to the capitalist system that she said was “at the root” of racism in America.
“Our task is far bigger than the repeal of a single law. We need to recognize what is at the root of racism, this hatred and fear of black people, of people of color, of poor people,” Sawant said. “The root cause of these blatantly unjust laws is the capitalist system itself … this system does not work for us. Racism is necessary for this oppressive system to exist. It prevents ordinary people from coming together of different races and turning their fire towards Wall Street, corporate politicians and the ruling elite as a whole … the bankers, the billionaires, the capitalists — they are the criminals of our society. They are amounting unimaginable wealth by exploiting the rest of us and maintaining their power by dividing us.”
“We must reject this divided rule and build an independent united working class movement that will put on trial American racism, sexism, class and gender exploitation, and capitalism itself,” she said.