‘They are nervous about the Amazon Tax movement,’ says Sawant
Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), chair of the Council’s Human Services, Equitable Development and Renters Rights, responded Monday to the announcement by Council President González to put a stop to all meetings related to the Sawant-Morales Amazon Tax legislation, a decision supported by the rest of the city’s Democratic establishment.
“This action is disguised as some sort of responsible governance, but in reality, it is the Democratic establishment at the City and State levels colluding with big business in an attempt to undercut the momentum of the Amazon Tax movement. In the context of the increasingly desperate situation facing so many working people in Seattle, this is an absolutely irresponsible and reckless maneuver on the part of politicians claiming to be progressive.
“Our movement has made the Amazon Tax a central debate this year in Seattle, with working people around the country watching. The Wall Street Journal editorial board, in defense of big business, felt compelled to write two op eds attacking our movement, with countless more from the Seattle Times and other corporate media.
“Thousands of people have attended our launch rally, action conferences, march, and other events. Recently, on May 1st, we organized our successful Car Caravan to the Amazon Spheres. We also just organized a District 4 and 7 town hall, led by the rank and file of UAW 4121, which District 7 Councilmember Lewis felt compelled to attend. Our Amazon Tax petition has garnered nearly 7,000 signatures, and nearly 5,000 community members have written to the City Council, urging them to pass the Amazon Tax in full, without watering it down. Over 70 faith leaders and activists released their own statement supporting the Amazon Tax.
“Seattle’s Democratic establishment has been looking to stymie our movement’s momentum. With Councilmembers González and Herbold leading the charge, they are shamefully using the pandemic and Inslee’s emergency order as cover for defending big business. Their claim that our Amazon Tax legislation, which is geared specifically to address the triple emergency of public health, housing, and jobs is NOT emergency-related is Orwellian. How many emergencies do we need to face for establishment politicians to act responsibly?
“It attempts to obscure the real question that is under debate: who will pay for this crisis, big business or working people?
“The disingenuous fretting over public meetings and legality by González and Herbold was mysteriously absent in 2018, when the majority of councilmembers and Mayor Durkan courted violation of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) in a backroom deal with big business and repealed the first Amazon Tax. They were taken to court, and were forced to settle a lawsuit against them by paying taxpayer money.
“Our movement knows the real reason why the council president has taken this step: She, along with the political establishment, recognize the growing momentum and power of our movement. They see that working people are demanding immediate COVID relief, and massive investments in jobs, affordable housing, and the Green New Deal. They recognize that these investments, put together, represent the right response to the COVID emergency, and that there is broad public support for them.
“My staff have fielded calls and messages from community members who are outraged at this anti-democratic step by the Council, and are mobilizing to speak out, and to demand that the Amazon Tax be approved in full immediately.”