"A budget as a whole that I would support would tax the rich and big business to end the housing crisis, to end homelessness, to begin the process of creating a world class mass transit system in Seattle. It would use the City's bonding capacity to contract with every affordable housing nonprofit and government agency in the City to massively expand the City's supply of affordable housing as quickly as possible, it would address bloated city executive salaries, it would prioritize job programs, mental health and drug treatment before the punitive aspects of the criminal justice system."
"I support this $5 million commitment, along with every other budget amendment this year we could possibly make to further homeless services and affordable housing. However, we also have to be clear - this $5 million is far less than one percent of the City's budget, and is not in proportion with the scale of the crisis."
"This year, I think, we are defining the tradition of what this holiday can mean to us. Either Indigenous Peoples' Day can become a day when politicians can pretend that they care, one day out of the year with empty rhetoric, or it can be a day of struggle where every year we continue to score new victories for Seattle's indigenous communities. But that's our choice."
"This is really a culmination in some ways - but certainly not the end - of a growing movement against the racism that is so integral to our criminal justice system."
"The question to ask to our movement is, "Why is this happening now?" It's happening now because we, our movement, has brought pressure to bear. And we have done this by being unrelenting in our message."
" There is a crisis in funding for public education. The solution to that is not to short change teachers' unions, but for the school board to concede on these reasonable demands and fight with the union for full funding of public education throughout the state. And really, one of the best ways to help end the school-to-prison pipeline is to fully fund schools, and give the educators a fair contract."
"It is no accident that the victories on Social Security in the 1930s and Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s took place during times of great, historic movements of the working class and youth, many of whom were people of color. In 1935, when Social Security was passed, workers across America were on strike for a better life. They fought to unionize through sit down strikes. They took over and occupied their factories, and refused to give them back until their unions were won and their demands met."
"Passing this resolution will not correct that harm done in the past, but it will help arm anti-racism activists today with an official acknowledgment that racism was done and continues to be something with real consequences to real people."
6/12/2015 Evergreen Commencement Speech
"A commencement ceremony is often a time when speakers focus on individual paths available for new graduates. Commencement speakers will often highlight the opportunities that lie ahead for yourselves - and how to advance yourselves professionally - while having a charitable disposition towards those in need. I'm not going to do that. Instead, I will share with you what I wish I had heard when I graduated."
"Few things counterpose the greed of multinational corporations to the interests of workers, the environment, and democracy as sharply as trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership."
Over the last two years, Seattle has seen a surge in hate crimes and discrimination against the LGBTQ community on Capitol Hill. We're going to need to unite as a city and find bold and lasting solutions to address this crisis.
"Despite Obama's speech today, bitter experience has shown we cannot rely on him to deliver. We must work to build independent movements of working class people, of young people, of women and people of color, and the LGBTQ community."
"The movement against the youth jail coincides with the movement that began on the streets of Ferguson last August. This nationwide movement has become the most significant challenge so far to institutional racism in the US since the 1970s."
On Friday, November 14th, the Seattle City Council introduced amendments to the Mayor's 2015-2016 budget. Multiple progressive amendments were passed, includingKshama Sawant's amendments to raise all City workers to $15/hour next year, fund a year-round women's homeless shelter, and provide critical services to transitional homeless encampments. However, the positive amendments introduced by the City Council only marginally change a $4.8 billion business-as-usual budget. On November 24th, Sawant voted against the budget package as a whole. You can read her press release here, and follow the link for her speeches from the final Budget Committee meeting and Full Council vote.
10/14/14 Voices of the People's Budget
Labor leaders, community organizers, social service providers, and engaged citizens came together for a People's Budget Town Hall. Here they shared their concerns about the Mayor's business as usual budget and began a conversation about what is necessary to make Seattle affordable for all.
"The number of young children, people of color, funneled into the criminal justice system is a crisis for our society. I will be voting no on this ordinance that would allow the plans for the new youth jail to proceed."
10/06/14 Indigenous Peoples' Day 2014
"Learning about the history of Columbus and transforming this day into a celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day and a celebration of social justice is not merely educational in nature. And it's not only celebrating cultures. It also allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination, and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day."
09/21/14 People's Climate March NYC
"A day before the largest climate action in history, Kshama Sawant joined Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, activists Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and Chris Hedges in New York City for a panel discussion to debate the way forward for the environmental movement."
"To win equal rights, we have to return to our roots, break with the parties of big business, and build an independent mass movement capable of waging sustained protests against these attacks."
"Since NAFTA was signed into law, the number of undocumented migrants in the U.S. has exploded from under 4 million to more than 12 million. Immigration without documents of this kind is a product of this poverty, this inequality, this desperation that working people feel every day in a capitalist world that puts the profits of corporations over the needs of ordinary people."
"It is the responsibility of elected officials everywhere to openly speak out to stop the humanitarian catastrophe, and to condemn it in the strongest possible terms."
06/30/14 In Support of Fossil Fuel Divestment
"Fossil fuel divestment is the first stage policy tool that has played a phenomenal role in starting a debate, and we should support this movement, and use it in order to achieve the final goal which is a complete and systematic change of the economy itself and a shift away from capitalism."
06/23/14 Confirmation of Police Chief O'Toole
"The problems with the Seattle Police are deep and systematic. The department is clearly in a major crisis. And the communities and neighborhoods in Seattle are plagued with escalating crime, ineffective policing, along with racially-biased actions by the SPD and inappropriate use of force with homeless and mentally challenged people."
"Ultimately, this question today is not about a CEO, but about the City Council. As elected public officials, whom do Councilmembers represent? Do they represent the vast majority of working families, who are facing ever increasing rates and ever increasing costs, and are struggling to survive, or does the Council represent the 1%?"
"The times we live in call urgently for young people like yourselves to take up not only the role of social worker, but also that of activist and fighter for social justice."
"Our victory comes less than six months after the launch of 15 Now, after the election of the first socialist to the city council in 100 years. We built on the work of labor in SeaTac, on the growing movement of the fast food workers which began in New York one year before. We worked alongside organized labor in Seattle, which campaigned continuously for 15."
"Despite all the pressure for a strong 15, Councilmembers watered down the proposal even further by introducing language for sub-minimum youth and training wages, and an unnecessary four month delay in implementation. This shows how important it was for us to have kept up the pressure, and the need to continue fighting."
"Tonight, President Obama talked about the deepening inequality. But that is a testament of his own presidency. A presidency that has betrayed the hopes of tens of millions of people who voted for him out of a genuine desire for fundamental change away from corporate politics and war mongering."
"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."