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The Nation - November 10, 2019

"A huge portion of the spending by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s “Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy” political action committee—roughly $450,000—was aimed at defeating Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative movement who ran a “not-for-sale” campaign that bluntlydeclared, “What’s at stake this year is who runs Seattle—Amazon and big business and working people.”

Standing in front of a massive “Tax Amazon” banner, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant declared victory in a re-election race that pitted her against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the billionaire class.

“It looks like our movement has won, and defended our socialist City Council seat for working people against the richest man in the world,” Sawant said Saturday. The two-term council member, one of the most high-profile socialists and municipal leaders in the country quoted abolitionist Frederick Douglass in front of a crowd of supporters who recognized the truth of the words, “If there is no struggle there is no progress… Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

What happened this fall in Seattle was a great struggle—one of several in cities where proudly radical contenders confronted not just rivals but massive spending aimed at defeating them. Sawant won after a long count of mail-in ballots, as did San Francisco District Attorney candidate Chesa Boudin, one of the boldest advocates for criminal justice reform yet to be elected in the national campaign to transform law-enforcement. But it wasn’t easy.

Sawant was one of several Seattle council contenders who were demanding that Amazon and other big-tech firms headquartered in Seattle pay their fair share of taxes. Their proposals unsettled Bezos and his fellow CEOs. Amazon steered $1.5 million into races for the city’s district council seats—all seven of which were up for election this year. The money helped fund a multi-million dollar drive by business interest to elect a corporate-friendly council that would shy away from imposing taxes on corporations, seeking to implement rent control and otherwise tipping the balance in favor working families that are struggling to get by in an increasingly expensive city. ...
Read full report at The Nation