April 15, 2015


Kshama Sawant won her Seattle City Council seat with only small donations. She's a socialist. Here are her comments in a discussion about Hillary's run which includes Hillary supporters and detractors from the left. It's an excellent debate from non-corporate media in two party which is well worth watching.

KSHAMA SAWANT:  I wanted to start by first, you know, talking about something that’s probably on the minds of a lot of people, that, you know, Hillary Clinton is a woman. She is, as others have stated, is all but certainly going to get the Democratic Party nomination, and it would be fantastic to have a woman in the White House, you know, showing the strides that women are making. And I certainly understand where that’s coming from. But, you know, we have to look at her record, and not only at her record. Her record speaks for itself. This is not the record of anybody who would—even remotely could claim that they were upholding the interests of women or children, as, you know, Robert has clearly stated—you know, the gutting of welfare and all the other things that she’s been involved in.

But it’s also a larger question of the Democratic Party establishment itself. I mean, let’s assume hypothetically that Hillary Clinton wasn’t a cynical opportunist, which she is, but she was genuinely going to represent the interests of the, you know, tens of millions of working families that are looking for genuine representation. Or let’s say hypothetically somebody else, who may be less of a warmongering representative, gets the Democratic Party nomination. The question is: Are they going to be able to carry out anything like a working-class agenda, anything remotely approaching social change, if they get to the White House on the basis of the Democratic Party apparatus, which rests completely and utterly on the Wall Street money? And that’s the question we are examining.

Ultimately, the argument of lesser-evilism, if we are going to stay with lesser-evilism, that argument works until perpetuity. It’s never going to be a good time to break from the two-party, or, you know, the two-big-business-party machinery, and build an independent alternative, because you can always make the claim that, well, you know, if we ran a left candidate this year, in 2016, it’s not going to work, so let’s just hunker down and vote for Hillary because she’s better than the Republicans. But what that lesser-evilism argument is missing is the big, big chunk of America that is completely disengaged from politics; if you look at the approval ratings of U.S. Congress, if you look at the percentages of people who go to the polls, and if you look at the polls that show that 60 percent of Americans are fed up and frustrated with the two-party system and want something different, you’re missing that whole big chunk of America that is completely missing in this esoteric argument about whether Hillary is better or some other candidate should get the nomination.

Ultimately, the question that needs to arise at this moment is to—is the responsibility of the left. This is a responsibility of the left to begin the process of building a left alternative, a political structure that represents working families, because, whether we like it or not, there is a gaping vacuum where the most of America is not present, and if we don’t occupy that vacuum, the right will. And it is absolutely an urgent task. And for people who might think that, well, you know, people aren’t ready for it, no, they are absolutely ready for it. And as you said, Amy, you know, we’ve shown in Seattle that you can not only run as an anticorporate candidate, as an alternative to Democrats, but you can also win. And after winning the election, you can actually carry out a very, very effective and successful working-class agenda.

And, you know, lastly, about the—you know, I know that arguments will come up about, well, you know, we can’t do this at the national level; it’s OK to do it at the local level. I think that’s a false dichotomy, because Seattle is a good example. Here, there are no Republicans to speak of. There is just a Democratic Party establishment. All the problems that people face are at the doorstep of the Democrats. And this year, in my re-election year, you will see the Democratic Party establishment going to war against my campaign and making sure—trying to make sure that I don’t get re-elected. Why? Because at the end of the day, that establishment does not support the agenda of working people. What about climate change, action on climate change, student debt, single-payer healthcare, the gutting of public education, attacks on teachers’ unions? All of this lies at the doorstep of the Democratic Party establishment, and, you know, working people need an alternative.