Kshama Sawant: For Many Millennials, the Dirty Word Is ‘Capitalism,’ Not ‘Socialism’
“In 2013, many people voted for me in spite of the fact I was a socialist,” Kshama Sawant, a Seattle city councilwoman, writes in The Guardian. “In this year’s election, many more people voted consciously for socialist politics.”
There is a decisive mood of resistance in America – a backlash to the status quo. The Bernie Sanders campaign for president is capturing that mood, and it is no surprise that ‘socialism’ was the most looked-up word in 2015.
The American youth of today did not grow up in the shadow of the Cold War. The vilification of socialist ideas by Republicans anyway only serves, if anything, to pique their interest. Coupled with that is the future most young Americans face: a low-wage job market, proliferation of student debt and an escalating housing affordability crisis. Since the Occupy movement, the dirty word as far as many millennials are concerned is not socialism, but capitalism. […]
Our city council re-election victory in Seattle, Washington, this fall is a powerful indicator of the prevailing mood. The first time our Socialist Alternative Party won, in 2013, the political and business establishment did not take us seriously. But we have shown that not only can a socialist win in the US, a socialist can drive the political agenda of a major city. This time around, big business and their political representatives mobilized a massive campaign against us, fueled with large amounts of corporate cash, disingenuous attack mailers, red baiting and red herrings. […]
Despite the fact that most Democratic party leaders backed my opponent, the majority of ordinary people who consider themselves Democrats supported my openly socialist campaign. We won decisively with 56% of the vote. We set a new record by raising nearly half a million dollars – none of it corporate cash – with a median contribution of $50.
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