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Councilmember Sawant’s comments on the Resolution calling to Impeach Trump Following the Far-Right Attack in Washington DC.

I am glad to vote in favor of this resolution supporting the impeachment of Trump. He should have been impeached long ago.

  • He should have been impeached for massive corporate tax cuts and handouts, including to his own companies, at the expense of vital social services. For utterly failing to represent working people and instead representing the billionaire class, beginning with himself.
  • He should have been impeached for an utterly criminal approach to the COVID-19 pandemic which has undoubtedly cost tens of thousands of lives.
  • He should have been impeached for caging children.
  • He should have been impeached for sexually assaulting so many women.

Frankly it is unfortunate that the establishment of the Democratic party has done so little to fight his far-right agenda over the past four years. Impeachment at this time would be symbolic. I fully support it, because we need to make crystal clear that there is no support for this right-wing violence, but impeachment in the last few days of the Trump presidency are no substitute for a concerted resistance to his agenda over the last four years, or to building a left alternative to the right wing going forward. With mass protests, labor mobilizations, and political demands that would genuinely help working class people like the green new deal and medicare for all, there could have been grassroots organizing that could destroy Trump’s legitimacy by providing a genuine progressive alternative to the corporate establishment and to right populism. But Trump took advantage of the vacuum on the left, and again was able to falsely pretend to be that anti-establishment alternative, and on that basis he won over 74 million votes in the last election and has widespread support – which should alarm anyone serious about fighting the right. 

Biden won over 81 million votes, or 51.3 percent of the votes cast. He is the first US presidential candidate to have won more than 80 million votes. Trump won over 74 million votes, or 46.8 percent of the votes cast. That’s more votes than any other presidential candidate has ever won, with the exception of Biden.

This will do lasting damage unless we build the left and social movements. 

Wednesday’s far right mob in DC – in a violent attempt to overturn a democratic election result – should be understood as a wake-up call for the left. Not surprisingly, the media report there are now warnings of plans for more armed far right, pro-Trump protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed.

The right will continue to grow as long as there is no alternative to the status quo of corporate politics, where despite their differences, the two parties serve the interests of big business and put the burden of the COVID crisis and brutal recession on ordinary people. 

In Seattle, our movement needs to hold Democratic City Councilmembers accountable to the Black Lives Matter movement, working class movements, and to all those fighting the right. It means that Councilmembers correctly voting Yes on this Impeach Trump resolution should also be making sure that they do not water down or repeal the ban on police use of the so-called “crowd control” weapons, and approve the strongest-possible ordinance. And I wanted to be clear that my office looks forward to working with all Councilmembers who want to make sure the best and strongest possible ordinance is upheld. 

The best and only way to STOP the far right is to build the left and social movements. This is how we are going to pull millions of ordinary people away from the right wing’s influence – by building a powerful fightback for the interests of the working class. Where actual fascists are in the street, they should be met by a massive show of force led by the unions and the left.

This week we heard the inspiring announcement of employees at Google forming the Alphabet Workers’ Union. This is a step in the direction of what is urgently needed – the rebuilding of a militant American labor movement.

We can’t expect Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi to provide any alternatives. That is why, I have endorsed the grassroots #ForceTheVote campaign, which is demanding that the Squad and other left Democrats use a floor vote on Medicare for All as part of an overall strategy to build a fighting movement for socialized medicine. Representatives of working people cannot support a corporate tool like Nancy Pelosi continuing as Speaker of the House while millions face misery, as even Squad members have unfortunately done. While I agree Trump should be impeached this cannot be our main focus. The left has the responsibility to address the urgent needs of the working class – and that means, as a starting point, fighting tooth and nail for Medicare for All, comprehensive COVID relief, a socialist Green New Deal, and preparing the ground to launch a new party. This is a critical juncture in history, and we cannot accept a false unity with the corrupt Democratic establishment. We instead need to build the powerful unity of millions of working people and the oppressed to fight for a different kind of society.

The final point I will make is that we need to be clear about what needs to be condemned. I condemn Trump’s violence, and the right wing, bigoted agenda that it serves. I condemn Trump’s authoritarianism, and his attempt to steal the election. I condemn this con man for posing as a representative of working people while actually being an utterly reactionary representative of the rotten billionaire class.

We do have to be careful about using words like “Sedition” and “Treason” in a way that can backfire on working people, which have been used by elected officials since Wednesday. These are words that are used overwhelmingly to attack movements of progressives and socialists, and the labor movement. 

In 1919, the great American socialist, Eugene Debs was sentenced to a decade in prison for sedition, for speaking out against world war I. 

That same year, Seattle Socialist Anna Louise Strong, the last socialist elected in Seattle before me, was part of the movement against WWI. She publicly stood by the Wobblies – or the Industrial Workers of the World – and one of their staff members, who was jailed on sedition charges for opposing the War. Soon after that, Strong was recalled from office at the school board for her association with the Wobblies and those who were courageously opposing World War I.

The Smith Act of 1940 was created in response to attacks by the far right, but was then used to attack the left and the labor movement. 

Thank you, and I will vote yes on this resolution.

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