2014 Seattle City Council Socialist Alternative Inauguration Speech: Councilmember Kshama Sawant

My brothers and sisters,

Thank you for your presence here today.

This city has made glittering fortunes for the super wealthy and for the major corporations that dominate Seattle’s landscape. At the same time, the lives of working people, the unemployed and the poor grow more difficult by the day. The cost of housing skyrockets, and education and healthcare become inaccessible.

This is not unique to Seattle. Shamefully, in this, the richest country in human history, fifty million of our people – one in six – live in poverty. Around the world, billions do not have access to clean water and basic sanitation and children die every day from malnutrition.

This is the reality of international capitalism. This is the product of the gigantic casino of speculation created by the highway robbers on Wall Street. In this system the market is God, and everything is sacrificed on the altar of profit. Capitalism has failed the 99%.

Despite recent talk of economic growth, it has only been a recovery for the richest 1%, while the rest of us are falling ever farther behind.

In our country, Democratic and Republican politicians alike primarily serve the interests of big business. A completely dysfunctional Congress DOES manage to agree on one thing – regular increases in their already bloated salaries – yet at the same time allows the federal minimum wage to stagnate and fall farther and farther behind inflation. We have the obscene spectacle of the average corporate CEO getting seven thousand dollars an hour, while the lowest-paid workers are called presumptuous in their demand for just fifteen.

To begin to change all of this, we need organized mass movements of workers and young people, relying on their own independent strength. That is how we won unions, civil rights and LGBTQ rights.

Again, throughout the length and breadth of this land, working people are mobilizing for a decent and dignified life for themselves and their children. Look at the fast food workers movement, the campaigns of Walmart workers, and the heroic activism to stop the Keystone XL pipeline!

Right here in SeaTac, we have just witnessed the tremendous and victorious campaign for fifteen dollars an hour. At the same time, in Lorain County, Ohio, twenty-four candidates ran, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as ‘Independent Labor’ and were elected to their City Councils.

I will do my utmost to represent the disenfranchised and the excluded, the poor and the oppressed – by fighting for a $15/hour minimum wage, affordable housing, and taxing the super-rich for a massive expansion of public transit and education. But my voice will be heard by those in power only if workers themselves shout their demands from the rooftops and organize en masse.

My colleagues and I in Socialist Alternative will stand shoulder to shoulder with all those who want to fight for a better world. But working people need a new political party, a mass organization of the working class, run by – and accountable to – themselves. A party that will struggle and campaign in their interest, and that will boldly advocate for alternatives to this crisis-ridden system.

Here in Seattle, political pundits are asking about me: will she compromise? Can she work with others? Of course, I will meet and discuss with representatives of the establishment. But when I do, I will bring the needs and aspirations of working-class people to every table I sit at, no matter who is seated across from me. And let me make one thing absolutely clear: There will be no backroom deals with corporations or their political servants. There will be no rotten sell-out of the people I represent.

I wear the badge of socialist with honor. To the nearly hundred thousand who voted for me, and to the hundreds of you who worked tirelessly on our campaign, I thank you. Let us continue.

The election of a socialist to the Council of a major city in the heartland of global capitalism has made waves around the world. We know because we have received messages of support from Europe, Latin America, Africa and from Asia. Those struggling for change have told us they have been inspired by our victory.

To all those prepared to resist the agenda of big business – in Seattle and nationwide – I appeal to you: get organized. Join with us in building a mass movement for economic and social justice, for democratic socialist change, whereby the resources of society can be harnessed, not for the greed of a small minority, but for the benefit of all people. Solidarity.

 

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Showing 22 reactions


commented 2014-05-22 18:45:00 -0700 · Flag
I agree, you should ignore me. You should stand around in a neat little circle and pat each other on the back as you carp. You don’t want to hear anyone that doesn’t buy into your grievances. If I dispute your distortions, move past your sophistries and tell you of real world experiences, it must confuse you. It doesn’t fit into your pact of despair and your loathing of anyone that owns a business. My travels about the world are somehow, not as meaningful as your rambles in self-righteous nobility. Then, I’m labeled a BIG LIE fascist. Loren, Loren, Loren, is that all you’ve got? Capon? Where did that come from? I saw the Occupy people using their iPhones, iPads and iPods while standing in line at the Wall Street Starbucks…is that not hypocrisy? Don’t your people despise evil corporations? I was born into the same country and I’m probably about as old as you are. What went wrong with your lives? I truly can’t think of anyone that I know, that didn’t go as far as their abilities could take them. There are people that could get jobs tomorrow, if your president would have some kind of jobs program. Geez, he’s been in office for five years and he’s done nothing. Maybe your anger and indignation are misplaced. This website was something I stumbled on. Now, I think I’ll heed your advice and ignore you and your self-congratulatory clan. Carl, if you can be educated and instructed in five minutes, that explains a few things. I choose Capitalism, it’ll save us. Clever. Have me kicked off the site, because I disagree with you. Very telling.

Loren, I’m ignoring you starting now. Ha.
commented 2014-05-22 13:40:37 -0700 · Flag
We also need to recognize that fascists, by definition, are not educable. To engage them in argument is merely to give them (another) opportunity to spew their Big Lies. The proper response to Mr. Dieruf — and I am acutely aware of my own error here — would have been to ignore him, then ask a site-moderator to delete his diatribe as irrelevant.
commented 2014-05-22 09:34:04 -0700 · Flag
Good morning, after reading some recent comments by some well meaning individuals, one realizes what it takes to be leader like Sawant. It takes clear concise language, direct and to the point. If you can not get your point across in a 5 minute speech or comment, you are better off writing a book. Capitalism has failed us because of the greedy that run our country, and the people need to take back our country. Socialism is a way to do it. The common people have worked too hard to let so much continue to be stolen from us.
commented 2014-05-21 20:56:45 -0700 · Flag
     Geez, I really want to buy into your story, but sadly, I can’t. I lived in Chile for 13 months in the early 70s. The night I arrived in Antofagasta, Salvador Allende was inaugurated as President. He drug his predecessor’s son into the streets and killed him in cold blood. (of course it was his minions that did it) From the day he nationalized the copper industry to the shortages that lead to the Pots and Pans Rebellion, it was a downward death spiral for that country. Allende doubled everyone’s wages and froze prices, there were no supplies left on the shelves. It was only after the coup, that the free markets revived the economy of Chile.
       I was able to travel to Cuba in 2006. I heard a lot about their highly touted medical care. The only real export, was training nurses for other countries, in exchange for energy. 
       The common saying there was," the Castro brothers turned everyman into a petty criminal and every girl/woman into a whore". Nearly everyone I met, was trying to think of something they could trade, steal or sell to make their lives a little better. A mid-wife told us she worked 24 hour shifts, every other day, 365 days a year for 25¢ a month. Of course she received a bag of rice and a bag of dried beans every month. Please, unless you’ve been there, don’t refute my statement. I almost forgot, there’s no pigeons in Havana, they were trapped and eaten years ago. 
        Doctor’s are paid $20 dollars a month and usually work as doormen at tourist hotels, to earn a few tips on their day off. If a loved one gets ill and needs to live closer to a hospital…good luck. You can’t sell your home, but you can trade it, down at the town square on Saturdays. If you have a broken window from a hurricane 40 years ago, it’s still patched with a piece of cardboard. Even 
        You’ve probably heard about the beautiful ‘57 Chevys cruising the Malecon, it’s bullshit. I saw the two nice cars that have survived and are featured in the hype of perfectly preserved autos. On flights into Cuba, you see repeat visitors, bringing tires and mufflers aboard the flights…seems they couldn’t buy one, even if they could afford one. It’s only the kindness of near strangers, that keeps most of those jalopies running. Time and modernity stood still when Che and Fidel slaughtered their way through the jungle and then into Havana. Liberal rag, Slate, says Che achieved nothing but disaster. 
         Next, your hero Franklin Delano Roosevelt, prolonged the Depression by at least two to three years. It was only after a free market analyst finally pleaded with FDR to abandon his folly. 

Read this later, I just can’t dismantle your fictitious arguments all at once. I’m getting tired, I’m old. I’ve added more at the bottom. 
Macroeconomic model builders have finally realized what Henry Hazlitt and John T. Flynn (among others) knew in the 1930s:  FDR’s New Deal made the Great Depression longer and deeper. It is a myth that Franklin D. Roosevelt “got us out of the Depression” and “saved capitalism from itself,” as generations of Americans have been taught by the state’s education establishment.

  This should be no surprise to anyone who has studied the reality of the Great Depression, for US Census Bureau statistics show that the official unemployment rate was still 17.2 percent in 1939 despite seven years of “economic salvation” at the hands of the Roosevelt administration (the normal, pre-Depression unemployment rate was about 3 percent). Per capita GDP was lower in 1939 than in 1929 ($847 vs. $857), as were personal consumption expenditures ($67.6 billion vs. $78.9 billion), according to Census Bureau data. Net private investment was minus $3.1 billion from 1930–1940.
Cole and Ohanian write as though they were surprised—even shocked—to discover these facts, not so much because they were bamboozled by the Myth of the New Deal, but because of their devotion to “neoclassical model building” as opposed to the study of economic reality. They label as “striking” the fact that the recovery from the Great Depression was “very weak” (a dramatic understatement). And why is it so striking?  Because “[t]hese data contrast sharply with neoclassical theory.” 

 But as Murray Rothbard showed in America’s Great Depression, it was the easy money policies of the early and mid-1920s that created all the malinvestment that was the trigger for the Great Depression. The only wise thing to have done was to allow the liquidation of hundreds of overcapitalized businesses to occur. Instead, the Fed increased the monetary base by 100 percent in five years, causing more of the same overcapitalization problems that were the source of the problem in the first place.
On top of that, virtually every single one of FDR’s “New Deal” policies made things even worse and prolonged the Depression. Austrian economists have known this for decades, but at least the neoclassical model builders have finally caught on—we can hope.

Cole and Ohanian apparently emerged from the rarified world of macroeconomic model building for a long enough period of time to discover that the so-called First New Deal (1933–1934) was one giant cartel scheme, whereby the government attempted to enforce cartel pricing and output reductions in hundreds of industries and in agriculture. This of course was well documented in John T. Flynn’s book,The Roosevelt Myth, first published in 1948. Henry Hazlitt had also written about it some 15 years earlier. “New Deal cartelization policies are a key factor behind the weak recovery, accounting for about 60 percent of the difference between actual output and trend output,” the authors write.

The fact that it has taken “mainstream” neoclassical economists so long to recognize this fact is truly astounding. For generations their own neoclassical textbooks have taught that cartels “restrict output” to raise prices. It has also been no secret that the heart and soul of the First New Deal was to use the coercive powers of government to prop up wages and prices by cartelizing the entire economy.

FDR and his advisors mistakenly believed that the Depression was caused by low prices, therefore, high prices—enforced by threats of violence, coercion and intimidation by the state—would be the “solution.”  Moreover, it is hardly a secret that if less production takes place, fewer workers will be needed by employers and unemployment will subsequently be higher. Thus, the First New Deal could not possibly have been anything but a gigantic unemployment-producing scheme according to standard neoclassical economic theory.

FDR’s tripling of taxes, his regulation of business, and his relentless antibusiness propaganda also contributed to a worsening of the Great Depression, but his labor policies were probably the most harmful to the employment prospects of American workers. In this regard the most disappointing thing about the Cole-Ohanian article is that they do not even cite the pioneering work of Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway—Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America—first published in 1993.

Indeed, it is somewhat scandalous that they do not cite this well-known work while making essentially the same arguments that Vedder and Gallaway do. They recite many of the same facts about labor policy:  The NIRA codes established minimum wages for less-skilled and higher-skilled workers alike; employers were told that they must bargain collectively with unions, which were given myriad legislated advantages in the bargaining process, all enforced by the newly-created National Labor Relations Board. All of these policies made labor more expensive. Consequently, as the economic law of demand informs us, the inevitable result has to be less employment.

Strike activity doubled from 14 million strike days in 1936 to 28 million a year later, and wages rose by about 15 percent in 1937 alone. The union/nonunion wage differential increased from 5 percent in 1933 to 23 percent by 1940. Newly-enacted Social Security payroll and unemployment insurance taxes made employment even more expensive. What all of this means is that during a period of weak or declining derived demand for labor, government policy pushed up the price of labor very significantly, causing employers to purchase less and less of it.

Vedder and Gallaway conducted an econometric evaluation of these labor cost-increasing policies and concluded that most of the abnormal unemployment of the 1930s would have been avoided were it not for these policies. They estimated that by 1940 the unemployment rate was eight percentage points higher than it would have been without the legislation-induced growth of unionism and government-mandated employment costs. They conclude that “The Great Depression was very significantly prolonged in both its duration and its magnitude by the impact of New Deal programs” (p. 141).

Cole and Ohanian reach the exact same conclusions, but express them in the somewhat convoluted language of the “top economic journals”:  “New Deal labor and industrial policies did not lift the economy out of the Depression. . . . Instead, the joint policies of increasing labor’s bargaining power and linking collusion with paying high wages prevented a normal recovery by creating rents and an inefficient insider-outsider friction that raised wages significantly and restricted employment . . . the abandonment of these policies coincided with the strong economic recovery of the 1940s.”

This last conclusion—that the abandonment of FDR’s policies “coincided” with the recovery of the 1940s is very well documented by another author who is also ignored by Cole and Ohanian, Robert Higgs. In “Regime Uncertainty:  Why the Great Depression Lasted So Long and Why Prosperity Resumed after the War” (Independent Review, Spring 1997), Higgs showed that it was the relative neutering of New Deal policies, along with a reduction (in absolute dollars) of the federal budget from $98.4 billion in 1945 to $33 billion in 1948, that brought forth the economic recovery. Private-sector production increased by almost one-third in 1946 alone, as private capital investment increased for the first time in 18 years.

In short, it was capitalism that finally ended the Great Depression, not FDR’s harebrained cartel, wage- increasing, unionizing, and welfare state expanding policies. It’s good to see that the Journal of Political Economy, the University of Chicago, and UCLA are finally beginning to catch up to the libertarian scholarship of Richard Vedder, Lowell Gallaway, Robert Higgs, Jim Powell (author of FDR’s Folly) and such predecessors of theirs as Henry Hazlitt, John T. Flynn, Murray Rothbard, F.A. Hayek, William H. Hutt, Benjamin Anderson, and others associated with the Austrian School.

Better late than never. 

__Gee, it’s seems Red China is experiencing a higher standard of living than they have in decades, maybe centuries. Let’s see Loren, what could it be…maybe Capitalism? Yeah, they have several problems, but nothing like the empty shelved Nicaragua under your other hero’s guidance, Hugo Chavez. 

     Israel seems to be the only prosperous country in the entire region. Their people seem to be able to afford something besides goat. Hmmmmn? Could it be that prosperity and modernity came to them through the Free Market? 

      Look at your beloved Europe, they are on the verge of breaking up the EU. France is walking a tight rope of economic disaster. What in all good hell are you pointing to Europe for? They are on the verge of financial calamity. What are you reading, Loren?

      I had to laugh when the camera s inadvertently recorded the Flea Party, Occupying Wall Street. The real 1% ers (if you believe those folks represented the average citizen, ha, ha…ha) were standing in line with their iPads, iPods waiting to buy a double latte at Starbucks.       

      The real killer, was the moment of silence for Steve Jobs. When the incredible hypocracy was pointed out to them, that the Apple billionaire, was a Capitalist…they said that he was one of us. Ha. He didn’t have one thing in common with any of them. He was a creative self-starter, a relentless perfectionist and tireless worker, even in his illness. He wanted to build something standing up, not sitting on his ass. He bought and sold companies and wanted to make a profit for his shareholders. 

     One last little thing that gives you away. I couldn’t help but chuckle when you said something about earning your Social Security check and didn’t want someone taking it away. That’s the way I felt about borrowing money to buy inventory. I know what you mean, it belongs to me, you don’t have a right to it. 

     I put everything I had into buying my father’s partner out of the family business. We were competing with all the Super stores, Wal-Mart etc.. I hired people to help us. Did they deserve part of our business, because they showed up to work? Hell no. I paid them a full/fair wage. They still call me and thank me for getting them through college and teaching them the value of goals. 

     I got a good laugh when Barry Soetoro said if you have a business, you didn’t build it. Strong words for a small time shake-down artist. Confusing, for someone that’s never had a real job, or written a payroll check out of his own pocket, to anyone. what a pathetic representative of your (non, rehashed failures) Progressive Party. Even that name is a non-starter. I want to go on, but I’m bored. Too bad you weren’t more successful in your own career. I’m only saying that because of your “agitator” moniker. You seem like your older than college age. 

In your brain of brains, you know I’m right. Best Regards, Ivan, you new friend

Please read this: Thomas J. DiLorenzo is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and author of The Real Lincoln (Three Rivers Press/Random House, 2003). His latest book is How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present (Crown Forum/Random House, 2004) (tomd@ mises.org).    

On May 21, 2014, at 1:58 PM, Vote Sawant wrote:

Ivan —

Loren Bliss just commented on 2014 Seattle City Council Socialist Alternative Inauguration Speech: Councilmember Kshama Sawant:

To argue as you do, Mr. Dieruf, that socialism “has never worked,” is to ignore history. To date, the positive consequences of socialism – and they are many – have come from the humanitarian results of its function as a threat to capitalism. In fact this influence was so powerful, not even the treachery of Josef Stalin, the great betrayer of the Russian Revolution and world socialism in general, could weaken its beneficial impact. One such example was the New Deal, by which Franklin Delano Roosevelt – this nation’s finest president – lifted the United States out of the Great Depression with full-employment programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority. (TVA, by the way, rescued the economy of a region that – largely due to the depredations of the northern timber barons – had been in severe and seemingly permanent depression since shortly after the end of the Civil War.) Because of widespread recognition that under capitalism, only the One Percent are truly economically secure, the New Deal created Social Security to protect elderly people from the poverty that capitalism can inflict without warning whenever one’s savings and investments are wiped out by the periodic inflations, recessions, panics and depressions. Meanwhile the Wagner Act – damned by its opponents as the personification of socialism – recognized the rights of workers to bargain for a fair share of their bosses’ profits, a recognition that led directly to the prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s: not only the most prosperous era in U.S. history, but the greatest shared prosperity in all human experience. President Eisenhower’s interstate highway project – which facilitated the efficient movement of people and goods from border unto border and ocean unto ocean – was another example of socialism in action in the United States. Looking abroad, any of the social democracies of Europe exemplify the best of the real-world benefits of socialism: universal health care as a human right not a privilege of wealth; publicly funded education from kindergarten through the doctoral levels; standards of living that by any measurement – life expectancy, infant mortality, general health, educational achievement, psychological wellbeing, freedom from personal debt – now far exceed those of the ever-more-savagely oppressed United States. Knowing these truths, how can you still insist socialism “has never worked”? (Surely the same accusation was made of Christianity in its early days – that as a religion it “had never worked.”) Modern socialism is only about 200 years old. That puts it at about the same place Christianity was under Diocletian (244-311 CE). Just as Christianity was damned as subversive, so are all socialism’s many achievements now increasingly denied by a Josef Goebbels-type propaganda war. Yet the anti-socialist propaganda, founded as it is on Big Lies, tells us only how threatening socialism is to the One Percent – and how determined the One Percenters are to impose on all of us the slave-world they have envisioned since the industrial revolution spawned modern capitalism. In the resultant struggle, there is no more room for neutrality. One is either on the side of the One Percenters and their relentless drive toward Ayn Rand capitalist governance – absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for everyone else (in other words, fascism) – or one is on the side of democratic socialism, which history has repeatedly proven is the only alternative with the ideological and organizational discipline sufficient to withstand the fascist onslaught. In today’s world, particularly in today’s United States, there is no longer any middle ground: one is either a fascist or is part of the anti-fascist resistance. Think about it, Mr. Dieruf: in your heart of hearts, which side are you on?

Respond here: http://www.votesawant.org/kshama_s_inauguration_speech?recruiter_id=22100

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commented 2014-05-21 12:58:51 -0700 · Flag
To argue as you do, Mr. Dieruf, that socialism “has never worked,” is to ignore history. To date, the positive consequences of socialism – and they are many – have come from the humanitarian results of its function as a threat to capitalism. In fact this influence was so powerful, not even the treachery of Josef Stalin, the great betrayer of the Russian Revolution and world socialism in general, could weaken its beneficial impact.

One such example was the New Deal, by which Franklin Delano Roosevelt – this nation’s finest president – lifted the United States out of the Great Depression with full-employment programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority. (TVA, by the way, rescued the economy of a region that – largely due to the depredations of the northern timber barons – had been in severe and seemingly permanent depression since shortly after the end of the Civil War.)

Because of widespread recognition that under capitalism, only the One Percent are truly economically secure, the New Deal created Social Security to protect elderly people from the poverty that capitalism can inflict without warning whenever one’s savings and investments are wiped out by the periodic inflations, recessions, panics and depressions.

Meanwhile the Wagner Act – damned by its opponents as the personification of socialism – recognized the rights of workers to bargain for a fair share of their bosses’ profits, a recognition that led directly to the prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s: not only the most prosperous era in U.S. history, but the greatest shared prosperity in all human experience.

President Eisenhower’s interstate highway project – which facilitated the efficient movement of people and goods from border unto border and ocean unto ocean – was another example of socialism in action in the United States.

Looking abroad, any of the social democracies of Europe exemplify the best of the real-world benefits of socialism: universal health care as a human right not a privilege of wealth; publicly funded education from kindergarten through the doctoral levels; standards of living that by any measurement – life expectancy, infant mortality, general health, educational achievement, psychological wellbeing, freedom from personal debt – now far exceed those of the ever-more-savagely oppressed United States.

Knowing these truths, how can you still insist socialism “has never worked”? (Surely the same accusation was made of Christianity in its early days – that as a religion it “had never worked.”)

Modern socialism is only about 200 years old. That puts it at about the same place Christianity was under Diocletian (244-311 CE). Just as Christianity was damned as subversive, so are all socialism’s many achievements now increasingly denied by a Josef Goebbels-type propaganda war. Yet the anti-socialist propaganda, founded as it is on Big Lies, tells us only how threatening socialism is to the One Percent – and how determined the One Percenters are to impose on all of us the slave-world they have envisioned since the industrial revolution spawned modern capitalism.

In the resultant struggle, there is no more room for neutrality. One is either on the side of the One Percenters and their relentless drive toward Ayn Rand capitalist governance – absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for everyone else (in other words, fascism) – or one is on the side of democratic socialism, which history has repeatedly proven is the only alternative with the ideological and organizational discipline sufficient to withstand the fascist onslaught. In today’s world, particularly in today’s United States, there is no longer any middle ground: one is either a fascist or is part of the anti-fascist resistance. Think about it, Mr. Dieruf: in your heart of hearts, which side are you on?
commented 2014-05-21 05:05:38 -0700 · Flag
     What you didn’t read, is that I bought out my father’s partner, with every dollar I could scrape together. Then, through hard work, expanded my father’s operation to twice its original size. My wonderful father had done the same thing in his youth, starting the business to begin with. The way to stay in business is to be there, working your ass off, six and seven days a week. 
      What you didn’t read, is that I lived in New York City for 15 years as a graphic designer. I arrived there with $1,100 to my name. I went one seven month period without a day off, working 14-15 hours a day. I didn’t feel anyone owed me anything. I had needs. I filled them myself. I’m no ruling class anything, but I know how to work. 
     My point is, the minimum wage is a starting point, not a career. If you raise the minimum wage to a point the employer can’t pay, he automates….hurting the person at the bottom of the pay scale. Have you heard of Robo-Burger? There will be less starting jobs in the future if the minimum wage is raised too high. Raising the wages is passed onto the customer, the very worker that you think you’re helping will be the one that is hurt the most. Please, do some research. Otherwise, I’m sorry if I offended your beliefs. You have yours, I have mine. 

Loren, please show me a country where your ideas have worked. I’m just asking, please educate me. 
commented 2014-05-21 01:37:58 -0700 · Flag
Mr. Dieruf, if you are indeed the Ivan Dieruf of Bozeman, Montana and the firearms and sporting goods dealership Powder Horn Outfitters, your portrayal of yourself as a self-made man — “I put up every dollar I could scrape together to fulfill a dream I had. It came at great risk to the financial well being of my family. If I failed it was on me. If I succeeded it was because of me” — is a gross deception if not an outright Big Lie.

According to the Powder Horn Outfitters website - http://powderhorn.wordpress.com/location-about/ - you inherited your wealth. And if this is true — if indeed you are the Ivan Dieruf in question — then your characterization of minimum wage workers as people with “pitiful little, lazy lives” who “don’t even deserve” their starvation pay-checks surely brands you as a typical Ruling Class aristocrat if not an actual One Percenter.

Which makes you and your tyranno-capitalist ideology — obviously derived from Ayn Rand’s fictionalizations of “Mein Kampf” (if not from the original work itself) — a perfect example of all that we oppose. Thank you so much for reminding us of the reality of class struggle and what is at stake: the world savaged by your ethos — infinite greed as ultimate virtue — versus a world of democratic socialism: from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.
commented 2014-05-21 00:58:16 -0700 · Flag
Dear Bodhi, congratulations on your exemplary career. You were awarded scholarships for your hard work. You applied yourself to every task at hand, you proved yourself worthy of every benefit and advantage you received. While I appreciate your concern, I think you’ve missed the point. Why not make the minimum wage $150 per hour? Employers will never be able to make enough to employ the very people you want to help. The price for everything, by necessity, will have to be increased. Does this hurt the little person or the evil rich?
Many years ago, my idealistic niece, thought corporations should pay more in taxes. I explained to her that if you taxed IBM 5% more for a hundred dollar object, they’d simply pass that $5, onto the consumer. Bodhi, who does that hurt, a rich person like me, or the little person struggling to get by?
I too prospered from applying myself. I was a business man that hired a lot of people over the course of my lifetime. Why would I risk everything to get ahead, if I had to give every extra dollar to an employee that had ventured nothing? I put up every dollar I could scrape together to fulfill a dream I had. It came at great risk to the financial well being of my family. If I failed it was on me. If I succeeded it was because of me. The employee was awarded a job, for a price they thought was fair and worked the hours they agreed to. What else was I supposed to do? They invested nothing into my company. They didn’t have the courage or expertise to do it on their own.
If I had to pay more in wages, I had to raise the price of my goods. What is it that you don’t understand? If McDonald’s has to pay $15 per hour, the Big Mac will then cost $10 each. I can afford a $10 hamburger. Can the person you’re so worried about, fathom the risk of higher unemployment because of your misguided ideals. They certainly won’t be buying an Extra Value Meal.
commented 2014-05-21 00:57:54 -0700 · Flag
Dear Bodhi, congratulations on your exemplary career. You were awarded scholarships for your hard work. You applied yourself to every task at hand, you proved yourself worthy of every benefit and advantage you received. While I appreciate your concern, I think you’ve missed the point. Why not make the minimum wage $150 per hour? Employers will never be able to make enough to employ the very people you want to help. The price for everything, by necessity, will have to be increased. Does this hurt the little person or the evil rich?
Many years ago, my idealistic niece, thought corporations should pay more in taxes. I explained to her that if you taxed IBM 5% more for a hundred dollar object, they’d simply pass that $5, onto the consumer. Bodhi, who does that hurt, a rich person like me, or the little person struggling to get by?
I too prospered from applying myself. I was a business man that hired a lot of people over the course of my lifetime. Why would I risk everything to get ahead, if I had to give every extra dollar to an employee that had ventured nothing? I put up every dollar I could scrape together to fulfill a dream I had. It came at great risk to the financial well being of my family. If I failed it was on me. If I succeeded it was because of me. The employee was awarded a job, for a price they thought was fair and worked the hours they agreed to. What else was I supposed to do? They invested nothing into my company. They didn’t have the courage or expertise to do it on their own.
If I had to pay more in wages, I had to raise the price of my goods. What is it that you don’t understand? If McDonald’s has to pay $15 per hour, the Big Mac will then cost $10 each. I can afford a $10 hamburger. Can the person you’re so worried about, fathom the risk of higher unemployment because of your misguided ideals. They certainly won’t be buying an Extra Value Meal.
commented 2014-05-21 00:18:22 -0700 · Flag
Dear Ivan, I am retired now, but after my first job, which I held at the age of 17, I worked my entire life at jobs that paid above the minimum wage. After graduating from college and obtaining two master’s degrees, I worked for decades at jobs that paid well above the minimum wage. I have to tell you in all honesty that the world in which I came of age was very different from the world in which young people are currently struggling to gain a foothold. I am very concerned about young people in our society facing far greater odds than I faced working my way through college in the 1970s. I greatly benefited from receiving two years of free tuition and fees the City University of New York and generous scholarships at an excellent private college during my final two years of college. Part time jobs were very plentiful then, and I could easily pay my rent, buy gas for my dented tin can of a VW and buy other things I needed for school while working at part time jobs about 15 to 20 hours a week, and 40 hours a week during breaks between semesters and during the summer. I was able to graduate with only $6000 in college debt, which easily off a couple of years after graduating. Nowadays there are often dozens if not hundreds of job seekers for each well paying job opening, and wages for the bottom 50% of workers have been flat or declining for the past 40 years. I don’t want to live in an unequal society where the majority of people work hard for very little, and the top 1% reaps about 90% of all the GNP productivity gains of the American economy. That’s why I’m active in the $15Now movement to help lift hard working people out of poverty. I hope you will reconsider your opinion that people who earn the minimum wage are lazy whiners, because that is certainly far from the true condition of low income workers in today’s economy.
commented 2014-05-20 23:58:10 -0700 · Flag
You’re a bleeding bunch of moronic fools. Socialism has never worked before and it won’t be any different here. Why don’t you apply yourself to working hard to get ahead. Stop worrying about people that are smarter than you are. Leave the successful folks alone and stop whining about your pitiful little, lazy lives. If you work for minimum wage, then you’re so pathetic, you don’t even deserve that. It’s a starting point not a career.
commented 2014-01-10 14:59:39 -0800 · Flag
Yes! (Unfortunately I live in Tacoma, where the voters regard mass transit as “welfare” and are thus killing the transit system while the Democrats play their usual game of mouthing liberal platitudes but serving the Ruling Class, in this instance by stalling city council action on paid sick leave.) We desperately need Kshama to come down here and organize us!
commented 2014-01-07 20:04:55 -0800 · Flag
Imagine if she had a chance to debate Obama on national TV on one of his 2012 presidential debates. Imagine the kind of national support she would of been having behind her demanding a radical overhaul of the political establishment.
commented 2014-01-07 16:11:13 -0800 · Flag
Congratulations and thank you for helping people understand that Socialism = Progress!
commented 2014-01-07 07:46:16 -0800 · Flag
At your inauguration party afterwards, I enjoyed meeting several of your supporters. Great speech from the gentleman from Ireland’s parliament. Your Speech, and the words of the poet, were the highlight of the inauguration.
commented 2014-01-07 07:45:32 -0800 · Flag
You don’t have to be a socialist to recognize a champion of the 99%. Go get ’em, Ms. Sawant!
commented 2014-01-07 00:28:42 -0800 · Flag
Enjoyed every minute. Well worth giving up half a days pay to be there, and $23. parking. Looking forward to help in any way I can.
commented 2014-01-06 21:20:27 -0800 · Flag
Wonderful speech, and best wishes for a great start at the City Council.
commented 2014-01-06 19:52:26 -0800 · Flag
Magnificent speech. Let us indeed continue!
commented 2014-01-06 18:15:51 -0800 · Flag
Loved your speech Kshama!! There was a huge amount of energy in the room today at Seattle City Hall. People are reved up to fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in our city. Thank you for standing up for working people and calling b.s. on the crisis machine that is end stage capitalism.
commented 2014-01-06 17:32:41 -0800 · Flag
Great speech. I was there to hear it, but it’s nice to see it in print, as I missed some words due to all the clapping and cheering!!! I’m inspired and hopeful……

Ruth Yeomans
commented 2014-01-06 17:28:31 -0800 · Flag
Kshama, Your speech at the City Hall glittered as a Shining Star! You spoke for the Millions and Billions of working people and the poor and oppressed around the world.Solidarity!!
Jagadish G Chandra
New Socialist Alternative (Cwi-India)