Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

June 1, 2015

Contribute to Kshama Sawant reelection campaign

Filed under: third parties — louisproyect @ 6:07 pm

Screen shot 2015-06-01 at 2.03.16 PM

Last night I attended a fundraising rally for Kshama Sawant at All Souls Unitarian Church on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that was probably a bit smaller than expected because of warnings about flash flooding that got sent out to cell phones in an unprecedented manner. Just before I left for the 6pm event, my wife was shocked to see the message on her cell phone warning her not to go outside. We have never seen anything like that before. While I am not into conspiracy theories, I could not help but wonder if Governor Cuomo was behind this.

I only mention Cuomo because Howie Hawkins, who was one of the featured speakers, ran against Cuomo in the last election and got enough votes to move the Greens to fourth position on the ballot from sixth. Like Sawant, Hawkins knows what it is like to be screwed over by the Democrats or in his case, an “independent” party like the Working Families Party that sent organizers up to Syracuse to get people to vote for them, ie. for the Democrats, rather than the Greens. As one WFP organizer told him, we’d rather see a Tea Party Republican get elected than you. Hawkins was there to solidarize himself with Sawant who is facing a well-funded challenge by the Democrats to remove her from Seattle’s City Council. I recommend Ben Norton’s analysis of why the president of Seattle’s Urban League chapter is running against Sawant:

The Urban League, a purportedly nonpartisan civil rights organization that today serves primarily as an extension of the Democratic Party, is wasting its working-class members’ hard-earned money in order to go after the only leftist and only woman of color on the Seattle City Council. It is literally expending its energy in an attempt to defeat leftism, instead of investing its resources on taking on the white supremacist proto-fascist wolves in neocon sheep clothing who increasingly dominate US politics.

Pamela Banks, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, announced in March 2015 that she will strive to unseat City Council member Kshama Sawant, the only socialist City Council member in the US, and the only women of color on the Seattle City Council.

As Hawkins pointed out, the effect of having Sawant unseated is to drive home the message that there is no alternative to the Democrats. The Democrats in Seattle have stabbed the Greens in the back as well. A Democrat funded by Bill Gates replaced a Green Party member of the School Board who was a strong supporter of the teachers union. Once in office, the Dem backed Charter School funding and all the rest.

Chris Hedges spoke as well. I get a kick out of hearing him since I remember him well from his days at the NY Times when he tried to straddle the fence between accurate reporting about Central America and his editor’s marching orders to reflect State Department policy. Once he got out of the journalism racket, he has become about as radical as you can get. Just check out his latest piece on Truthdig: “Karl Marx was Right” (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/karl_marx_was_right_20150531).

Speaking of Marx, Hedges’s transformation from Pulitzer Prize winning star reporter into Jeremiad-spouting hater of the capitalist system reminds me of these lines from the Communist Manifesto:

Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole.

Sawant gave a speech that described in some detail the usefulness of having a socialist in government. She talked about how she was using her office to rally people against Seattle’s onerous rental costs, something that is making it difficult if not impossible to live in the city—including for the middle-class. She is now campaigning for rent control, hoping to get legislation passed that would do for renters what the $15 per hour did for low-paid workers. In her talk she mentioned a town hall meeting on rent control that she had called. Here’s local coverage on the town meeting: http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/resisting-rising-rents-seattles-movement-demanding/nk22t/

I contributed $50 to Sawant’s reelection campaign and urge you to contribute as well: https://votesawant.nationbuilder.com/donate


  1. I bought a ticket to the fundraiser, but frankly, was too tuckered out to attend. I mailed a check for $50 to her re-election campaign this morning. Along with Louie, I would urge folks to contribute to her campaign.

    Kurt Hill,
    Brooklyn, NY

    Comment by Kurt Hill — June 1, 2015 @ 6:38 pm

  2. Glad to see that you are a contributor to Sawant’s campaign also. Time for solidarity.

    Comment by Arn Kawano — June 2, 2015 @ 3:33 am

  3. “Speaking of Marx, Hedges’s transformation from Pulitzer Prize winning star reporter into Jeremiad-spouting hater of the capitalist system reminds me of these lines from the Communist Manifesto”

    Erm, if you believe the class struggle has reached the decisive hour you would believe the Saudi’s had nuked Yemen. Why a Marxist would waste time defending Saudi Arabia is anyone’s guess, though why you would do it has been becoming clearer and clearer over the last few years.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — June 3, 2015 @ 9:27 am

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