Emergency! Amazon is seeking revenge

Did you see that the corporate cash flooding in against us from Amazon has made national news? Yesterday, The Guardian published an article titled “Is Amazon taking revenge on the Seattle socialist who took on the retail giant?”

It certainly seems so. Fifteen of Amazon’s top executives and closest advisors have donated directly to at least one of our opponents. The Amazon corporation itself put $250,000 for “anybody but Kshama Sawant” into the Chamber of Commerce's corporate PAC (CASE), which is spending more money against us than on any other race in the city. 

Polls close tonight. We have an urgent message. In the final days of this election, CASE has dumped even more money against Councilmember Kshama Sawant, spending over $10,000 on a final round of attack mailers!


CASE’s chosen candidate, Egan Orion, was quoted in The Guardian as saying: “Kshama Sawant is the worst partner for our large businesses. You know, a bologna sandwich would be a better partner.”

As Kshama has made clear time and again, she is running as an unambiguous representative of working people, not the corporate elite, because you can’t serve two bosses. We’ll leave it to the bologna sandwiches to serve big business.

Despite Orion’s campaign being propped up by nearly $200,000 in corporate PAC money, in a shocking display of hypocrisy and outright falsehood, Orion has been plastering District 3 with these posters:

 


This would be laughable if it weren’t so outrageous. When confronted about it on social media, Orion claimed that the corporate PACs just “happen to be supporting him.” This is a lie. 

In reality, Orion had to 
directly apply to the Chamber of Commerce corporate PAC by submitting their questionnaire. Orion even stated that he was “honored” to have received their endorsement. And now this corporate PAC has spent more money on Orion than on any other candidate in the entire city.

We’re proud that we just hit our fundraising goal for the primary election of raising $280,000, which cancels out the big checks written earlier this summer by Amazon and luxury developer Vulcan! But this last minute CASE PAC money-dump is an emergency. 

We’ve printed a final round of posters and leaflets so our volunteers can go all out on the doors these final hours to counter the corporate propaganda and get out the vote. We need to raise $5,000 more by midnight to cover these additional expenses for this crucial election. 


We need your help. Donate $15, $50, $100, or more right now to stand with Councilmember Kshama Sawant against this corporate propaganda and show corporate PACs that this election is not for sale. Today is the final day of this election — there is no time to waste.

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11 Billion Tons of Ice

There's no time to waste in the fight for a Green New Deal. On Thursday, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 11 billion tons of ice to the ocean — a number equivalent to worst-case scenario models for the year 2070. June was the hottest month ever recorded globally. Then July was even hotter. 

To say we are facing a “climate emergency” is an understatement. That’s why it’s not enough for politicians to just give lip service to the problem. We need bold solutions and there is no time to waste.

That’s why Councilmember Kshama Sawant has been calling for Seattle to lead the way on climate action by implementing a Green New Deal for working people. We need to make Seattle 100% renewable by 2030, tax the rich to massively expand public transit, and make it fully electric and free at point-of-use. We can create thousands of well-paying union jobs with a major wind and solar program by Seattle public utilities and retrofitting homes and businesses to the highest efficiency standards.

But winning these measures will require building a fighting movement which is unafraid to stand up to powerful fossil fuel corporations.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has given an initial $30,000 to the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC, the biggest of the corporate PACs against our campaign. More than 60% of PSE’s power in 2017 came from coal and natural gas, and less than 10% of their power comes from wind and solar. PSE and big business will do anything to stop us from winning a Green New Deal for Seattle. At the top of their list is defeating Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the socialist who makes things happen.

Kshama is one of the few candidates citywide calling for a Green New Deal, and the only one in District 3. To build the fighting movement needed to win, it is imperative that we defend Kshama’s seat on the Council against fossil fuel interests. We can’t let big business buy this election. We need your help.

Can you donate $15, 50, $100, or $200 today to help cancel out Puget Sound’s Energy dirty money?

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We agree with Bernie: working people need rent control!

Did you see that Bernie Sanders published an op-ed ahead of this week’s presidential debate explaining how rent control kept a roof over his head growing up? We agree with Bernie: working people need rent control.

With recent census data showing that Seattle is now the most expensive city in the country outside of California, we urgently need to lead on rent control to stop skyrocketing rents! Major cities all over the country are facing severe shortages of affordable housing. A victory in Seattle for universal rent control with no corporate loopholes could spark successful legislation for rent control in cities across the country.

But the real estate lobby fiercely opposes rent control because it limits their ability to maximize profits by gouging tenants. Here in Seattle, notorious developer Vulcan, big developers and real estate interests have poured nearly half a million into the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC. The PAC is spending far more against Councilmember Kshama Sawant than on any other race in the city, because Councilmember Sawant is using her seat to spearhead the struggle for rent control.

We are now just $10,000 away from reaching our fundraising goal of cancelling out Vulcan’s $80,000 check by the August 6 primary! But we have only 5 days left — there is no time to waste. Please donate $15, $50, or $100 today to #CancelOutVulcan.

Across the country, the for-profit housing system has failed working people. It’s enriching Wall Street investors while the working class struggles to access high-quality, affordable housing. We welcome Bernie Sanders supporting the millions of tenants organizing in cities across the country for rent control and stronger tenant protections, a topic that is both wildly popular and broadly ignored by establishment Democrats in the presidential race thus far.

We saw with the $15 minimum wage movement that working people organizing can change public opinion on what’s possible, and bold demands can go from being mocked to becoming mainstream. It took building a grassroots movement for $15/hr in our communities and workplaces, taking strike actions, and protesting at City Hall to force a vote on the $15 minimum wage. 

Bernie Sanders should also use his profile to call on his supporters to get organized to fight for affordable housing for all, which includes taxing big business to build the affordable social housing we need. 

But everything we win to make housing more equitable will still be vulnerable under capitalism — big developers and Wall Street won't give up their profits without a fight! We must build a stronger grassroots movement ready to not only challenge the big developers and corporate landlords, but to go further in harnessing the power of working people to fight for fundamental change. We need to fight for a society based on the needs of working people, not the greed of Wall Street speculators — a socialist society.

Join us in this fight! Donate today to #CancelOutVulcan, and save the date for our election night party: join us this Tuesday, August 6, 6-10pm at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (104 17th Ave S).

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Who's afraid of the socialists? Amazon’s top executives

Amazon’s top executives have something in common with Vulcan, Comcast, Puget Sound Energy, and the Amazon corporation itself: they are afraid of Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

One of our opponents’ donor lists reads like a who’s who of Amazon’s top players, with big donations from over 15 of Amazon’s top executives. Over half of these executives are members of the “S Team,” Jeff Bezos’ closest advisors.

What’s at stake in this election is who runs Seattle — Amazon and big business or working people. Amazon hates that we stood up to their corporate blackmail last year. They were terrified by how close we came to winning last year’s Tax Amazon struggle, and they are afraid of how our movement will continue to grow if we win this re-election campaign. 

While Amazon executives may be picking favorites, their top priority this election year is “anybody but Kshama Sawant” for Seattle’s District 3 seat — that’s why they’re hedging their bets.

For instance, Senior Vice President David Zapolsky, who oversees policy at Amazon, realizes that the best policy for Amazon is to protect Seattle’s regressive tax policy, so that Amazon can continue raking in record-breaking profits as Seattle’s homeless population grows. Top Amazon executive Zapolsky has given maxed out donations to both Zachary DeWolf and Egan Orion, as well as $5,000 to the “People for Seattle PAC.”

Headed up by former corporate City Councilmember Tim Burgess, the People for Seattle PAC is sending out a flood of mailer attacks against us. We're not the least bit surprised. Big business leaders are determined to buy this election because they are frustrated at the gains our movements have won for working people. And now the gloves have come off — as The Stranger reporter Rich Smith writes, “Honestly, I'm glad to see divisive mailers created by a politician who calls for the end of divisiveness in politics. The open hypocrisy is refreshing.”

Our opponents often say that they will “listen to everyone in the district.” Some of these multimillionaire Amazon executives live within the boundaries of Seattle’s District 3, but Councilmember Kshama Sawant doesn’t represent them. 

Councilmember Kshama Sawant unambiguously represents working people like the Amazon workers who are standing up to Jeff Bezos to demand real climate action and the Amazon security officers who fought for, and won, their union (and we’re proud to have the endorsement of SEIU Local 6!). Kshama represents renters who are struggling to afford Seattle’s sky-high rents, and who are joining our movement for rent control. And Kshama represents all the working people who are burdened by Seattle’s regressive taxes and underfunded public services, and who are fighting to tax Amazon and Seattle’s biggest business.

That’s why our campaign is not for sale to Amazon executives, corporate PACs, business lobbyists, or big developers. We’re incredibly proud that our grassroots fundraising has already cancelled out Amazon’s big $200,000 donation from earlier this year. But we know that the corporate cash will only continue to flood in.

Don’t let Amazon buy this election! Please donate today to cancel out a max donation from an Amazon executive before our fundraising deadline tomorrow.

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Don't Let Big Developers Buy This Election!

We’re over halfway towards cancelling out Vulcan’s big $80,000 donation to the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC! Please make a donation today before our crucial July fundraising deadline.

We’re incredibly proud of our grassroots campaign. Thanks to donations from thousands of working people — over 3 times more grassroots donors than any other District 3 campaign — we cancelled out Amazon’s big $200,000 PAC contribution from earlier this year! But we will only win this election with your help. 

Big developers are determined to buy this election. Together, they have poured even more than Amazon has into CASE, the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC. Why? Seattle’s wealthiest for-profit developers are deeply afraid of our growing movement for rent control. 

Kshama Sawant is the only District 3 candidate who has clearly said that yes, Seattle needs rent control. Big business interests know that Kshama Sawant doesn’t just make big promises when she’s running for office. She uses her seat to mobilize working people and renters into struggle, and she’s not afraid to stand up to corporate bullies. That’s why together, we’ve won big victories, from the $15 minimum wage to landmark protections for renters’ rights. 

In total, big developers have already invested nearly half a million dollars for “anybody but Kshama Sawant for Seattle’s District 3 election. Corporate PAC contributions include:

💰💰💰 $155,000 from Vulcan, including a big $80,000 donation last month. Vulcan is the developer behind Amazon’s campus in South Lake Union and was one of Amazon’s biggest partners in repealing the Amazon Tax. 

💰💰$50,000 from the Washington Association of Realtors and $45,000 from the commercial real estate development chapter Washington Chapter (NAIOP).

💰💰$40,000 each from Hedreen Holdings, LLC and R.C. Hedreen Co. which are behind the development of Seattle’s biggest luxury hotels.

💰Over $100,000 more from what reads like a who’s who of the biggest real-estate developers and investors in the Seattle area (as well as many of the biggest spenders in the effort to repeal the Amazon Tax, alongside Vulcan and the R.C. Hedreen Co.)

We won’t be able to match the big PAC money dollar for dollar. The way we will win this campaign will be by continuing to mobilize hundreds of volunteers and making sure that our message reaches tens of thousands of voters in District 3. But that will still require serious fundraising. 

We need to ensure that every voter hears from us about the growing movement for rent control — not from big developer-funded corporate PAC mailers which are determined to spread propaganda and fear, just as big business did during our fight for a $15 minimum wage. You donation will make it possible to print tens of thousands of flyers with our message on rent control:

We have a goal of cancelling out Vulcan’s $80,000 donation by the August 6 primary. We’re over halfway there, but we need to get as close to this goal as possible before our big July fundraising deadline. Your donation to #CancelOutVulcan will send a powerful message that big developers can’t buy this election. Please donate today before our July fundraising deadline.

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A huge step step forward towards taxing the rich!

Two years ago, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant sponsored legislation to Tax the Rich. Through the leadership of the Trump-Proof Seattle coalition, which included the Economic Opportunity Institute, Transit Riders Union, Seattle Education Association, and Kshama’s Council Office, our grassroots movement fought for and won the historic ordinance to Tax Seattle's Rich! 

Our movement had predicted that the ordinance would be challenged in the courts, due to two principal legal obstacles put in place decades ago by big business and the wealthy, who have an interest in preserving an unjust system. These legal obstacles have remained unchallenged, with successive City and State politicians refusing to take on big business and the wealthy. In a big victory for working people earlier this week, the WA Court of Appeals struck down one of those two legal objections to taxing wealthy households, giving the State Supreme Court the first opportunity in almost a century to rule in favor of progressive taxation in Washington State.

Seattle and Washington State have the nation’s most regressive tax systems. As a result, the rich get richer — with the world’s only two members of the $100 billion club residing in the Seattle region — as public education, affordable housing, social services, and infrastructure are abysmally underfunded. Unlike the regressive taxes in Seattle, which fall overwhelmingly on the shoulders of working people and the poor, our Tax the Rich ordinance would only tax incomes over $250,000. Because so much wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few millionaires and billionaires, a tiny 2.25% tax on Seattle’s richest residents would raise an estimated $140 million annually, enough to build almost 1,000 high-quality, affordable homes each year!

This ruling is a huge step forward towards taxing the rich, but our movement cannot afford to become complacent. This battle is not over. If we finally prevail in the courts, big business and the super rich will continue to use their power and wealth to undermine our victories. Working people will need to continue to organize and unite in powerful movements.

We saw how far Jeff Bezos and his billionaire buddies went last year to bully our city, following which a majority of City Councilmembers shamefully capitulated and repealed the Amazon tax on Seattle’s biggest businesses. The top priority for Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce this year is to try and drive Kshama Sawant out of City Hall, because they are determined to maintain their cushy handouts and huge tax breaks. That’s why corporate PACs are spending more in District 3 against Kshama Sawant than in any other race in the city. Don’t let the big business and the super rich get their way — please chip in $25 today to re-elect Kshama Sawant and continue our movement to tax the rich!

Like Seattle’s victories on the $15 minimum wage and landmark renters’ rights ordinances, our struggle to #TaxTheRich affirms that when our local movements act with courage, we can make change happen. At a time of record-breaking inequality, working people can’t afford to wait for the politicians in Olympia to act, which they have failed to do over many decades. In the fight to win rent control in Seattle, we must also not passively wait for permission from State Legislators, but instead actively fight to win a comprehensive rent control ordinance here in Seattle. Join us at the Rent Control Rally this Saturday, July 20 at 6:00PM at the All Pilgrims Christian Church in Capitol Hill!

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The Stranger Newspaper is on #KshamaSquad!

We’re extremely proud to receive The Stranger’s endorsement for our socialist re-election campaign! This is the third time "Seattle's only newspaper" has supported Kshama Sawant for City Council, as an unapologetic fighter for working people. 

As we’ve said since day one of this campaign, what’s at stake in this year’s election is who runs Seattle -- Amazon and big business, or working people. It’s no secret that Kshama is the only candidate in District 3 prepared to stand up to Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce, or who’s campaigning for bold solutions like rent control and a Green New Deal. 

In The Stranger’s endorsement, they acknowledge the central role Kshama has played on the Council since her first  election in 2013: “Sawant's pressure continues to make legislation and budgets more progressive. If she's not in there calling out the bullshit and being ‘100 percent that bitch,’ then Seattle will just regress to patting itself on the back for hating Donald Trump while people continue to die in the streets. Fuck that. Vote Sawant.”

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Ballots were sent out from King County elections today and will begin arriving in mailboxes starting tomorrow. Vote early to make sure your vote counts! As The Stranger said, “Amazon and friends are now out for revenge, opening their political cash spigots in an attempt to manipulate public opinion ahead of the August 6 primary election so that a bunch of business-boot-licking candidates will be installed in the seven council seats currently up for grabs.” We can’t let Corporate PACs, Amazon and Vulcan buy this election! 

Can you donate $15 dollars today to help us cancel out Vulcan’s $80K Corporate PAC spending?

And don’t forget to join us this Saturday, July 20, to Rally for Rent Control at 6pm at All Pilgrims Christian Church, 500 Broadway E, and RSVP here! If big business thinks they’re going to buy this election, let’s show them that we’re ready to fight for what working people in Seattle really need! #RentControl #TaxTheRich #GreenNewDeal

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Yes, not maybe: Seattle needs rent control

Seattle urgently needs rent control to stop Seattle’s out-of-control rent hikes! Rents now average over two thousand dollars a month, and one of our neighbors in District 3 is evicted every other day. But we don’t need statistics to explain what most working people can see plain and clear: the rent is too damn high!

That’s why renters — and everyone who believes Seattle should be affordable for all — are fighting back! And that’s why Kshama’s council office has launched Seattle’s campaign for rent control!

Organizing alongside the Tenants Union of WA State and Be:Seattle, they are about to smash their goal of collecting 10,000 signatures on their petition for rent control. We’re also using our re-election campaign to build momentum for rent control, and we’re proud that we’ve collected an additional 6,000 petition signatures in support of rent control. 

Please join us at next Saturday’s important rally to get active in the movement for rent control and learn more about the legislation Kshama will soon be bringing forward for universal rent control, free of corporate loopholes. Please RSVP and invite your friends!

RENT CONTROL RALLY! 

July 20th, 6pm 

All Pilgrims Christian Church (500 Broadway E)

Notably, when asked yes or no by the Seattle Times, Kshama was the only District 3 candidate to clearly answer that yes, Seattle needs rent control! 

All other candidates answered “no” or “maybe.” Working people can’t say “maybe I’ll pay” when their landlord suddenly demands higher rent. But too many candidates say “maybe” when faced with the most crucial issues that working people face daily in Seattle. All too often, “maybe” signals a willingness to side with big business, rather than a commitment to stand up for working people.

Big business and Seattle’s wealthiest real-estate developers are deeply afraid of our movement for rent control. They are prepared to go to all lengths to keep Seattle’s rents sky high. That’s why billion-dollar luxury real-estate developer Vulcan (responsible for the development of Amazon’s headquarters in South Lake Union) has already dropped $80,000 into the Chamber of Commerce’s mammoth PAC. 

We can’t let Amazon, big business, and big developers buy this election. We’re proud that our grassroots campaign cancelled out Amazon’s big $200,000 donation from earlier this year. This month, as we build for a big rally for rent control and build our movement for rent control, we need to raise $80,000 to #CancelOutVulcan! Please donate today.

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We cancelled out Amazon’s $200K PAC donation: Now Let’s #CancelOutVulcan!

We’re incredibly proud to announce that we’ve cancelled out Amazon’s huge $200,000 donation to the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC! And most importantly, we’re proud that we did it with a grassroots campaign that is not for sale to corporate interests. As always, Kshama Sawant does not accept a penny from corporations, CEOs, business lobbyists, or big developers.

$200,000 is just pocket change to Amazon, which raked in $11.2 billion in profits last year (helped by the fact that they paid no taxes, and even got a tax rebate) and is headed up by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of a staggering $158.2 billion dollars. Our donations, by contrast, come from working-class people digging deep and sacrificing from their hard-earned wages. 

Our fundraising reflects the broad base of support for Kshama Sawant and the deep hunger for the policies like rent control, a Green New Deal for working people, and taxing Amazon to build affordable housing. The $200,000 we’ve raised comes from 1,500 working people in Seattle, with a median donation of just $20, and more District 3 donors than any other campaign!

Campaign finance disclosures confirm that the top priority for big business this year is “Anybody but Kshama Sawant” for District 3 — the Chamber of Commerce’s Amazon-funded corporate PAC has already spent over $100,000 against Kshama Sawant, spending more on District 3’s race than on any other in the city. PACs are on track to shatter records for campaign spending in Seattle, and the corporate cash will likely continue to flood in as our campaign gains momentum. 

Just last week, the billion-dollar luxury real-estate developer Vulcan dropped $80,000 into the Chamber of Commerce PAC. Vulcan has a well-established history of using bullying tactics to protect its profits at all costs. Last year, Vulcan teamed up with Amazon to pressure the repeal of the Amazon Tax, which could’ve funded thousands of affordable homes. 

Vulcan is deeply afraid of our movement for rent control.

Momentum for rent control is growing across the country, with major victories for renters in Oregon and New York City earlier this year. As evidenced by the victory in New York, people with rent control want more of it, not less. With rents averaging over $2,000, it’s easy to see why so many Seattleites are joining us in our fight to win comprehensive rent control for Seattle, which could set a historic precedent nationwide in the same way as our victory for $15/hr.

This month, as we build for a big rally for rent control on July 20, let’s cancel out Vulcan’s $80,000 corporate PAC donation. Let’s show big developers they can’t buy this election or stop our fight for the rent control Seattle tenants urgently need. Please donate today to #CancelOutVulcan and invite your friends to the Rent Control Rally on July 20.

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Amazon Workers Stand with Kshama: Let's Cancel Amazon's PAC Money

What’s at stake in this year’s election is who runs Seattle — Amazon and big business, or working people. Over the past six years, our city council seat has consistently organized alongside working people to win real victories. 

That’s one reason why we’re incredibly proud to have the endorsement of SEIU Local 6, which now includes Amazon workers, as we fight for rent control and for taxing Amazon and big business to fund a massive expansion of social housing for working people.

Representing over 7,000 janitors, security officers, airport passenger service workers, and allied industries workers, SEIU Local 6 workers have stood up against discrimination and Islamophobia, the flouting of labor laws, and even illegitimate firings by Amazon executives. Kshama fought in solidarity with security workers at Amazon and celebrated alongside the union when they forced Amazon to dump its private contractor and recognize the union. 

Amazon clearly understands what’s at stake in this election. As Geekwire recently reported, “[t]hough Amazon isn’t endorsing candidates directly, the company has put money in the game. Amazon donated $200,000 to the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, which just released its endorsements.” The hundreds of thousands of dollars Amazon is throwing into the Seattle elections is about backing “anybody but Kshama,” funding candidates they anticipate will carry forward *their* agenda — and not what working people in Seattle need. 

While we don’t have billionaires like Jeff Bezos funding our campaign, we are demonstrating once again that it’s possible to run a powerful campaign that’s not for sale to big business. We’re incredibly proud that our grassroots campaign is about to cancel Amazon's $200,000 PAC contribution! We only have $1000 to go — donate today to push us over the top!


Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos makes enough money every day to pay all the back rent owed by every Seattle resident who faced eviction in 2017. Amazon nearly doubled its profits to an eye-popping $11.2 billion last year, up from $5.6 billion in 2017. For two years in a row, the corporation completely dodged the 21% tax rate corporations are supposed to pay (which is outrageously now even lower than before thanks to Trump’s corporate tax cuts). Nowhere is the failure and rottenness of neoliberal, “trickle down” economics more apparent than right here in Amazon’s home city, Seattle. The world’s two richest billionaires live in King County — and yet, working people face the threat of economic eviction from rising rents and a city becoming dramatically unaffordable for them.

In society, it’s broadly understood that the top 1% hoarding wealth contributes to extreme social issues. It’s no coincidence that Amazon donated over $350,000 to get Mayor Durkan elected, and then she organized the city establishment to repeal the Amazon tax last year, in a move that stole millions of dollars from Seattle that would have gone toward affordable housing. However, the movement we built to tax big business and stand up to Amazon’s bullying had a broader impact, including the passing of big business taxes to fund affordable housing and homeless services, such the "Google Tax," in three California cities.

Our Tax Amazon movement also helped to raise the confidence of working people in Queens. They organized against the proposed HQ2 and a $3 billion dollar corporate hand-out from taxpayers to Amazon while working people in New York struggle to get by — and they won! More recently, New York renters refused to back down in the face of powerful big business interests, winning historic tenant protections against evictions, security deposits, application fees and stronger rent controls. New Yorkers with access to rent control want more of it, not less! 

This is why Councilmember Sawant’s council seat is dedicated to building coalitions of working people, labor, socialists and young people to fight for the interests of the 99%. To begin addressing Seattle’s affordable housing crisis and build the social housing we need, we must tax Amazon and big business, not further burden working people. We must tax the rich to massively expand public transit, making it free and fully electric. We must tax the rich to fully fund public education and to create free, high-speed municipal broadband. In this struggle, we support the fight to unionize Amazon and all workplaces in Seattle, a crucial part of the fight to shift the balance of power away from the corporate elite and into the hands of working people.

Please donate today to stand with Amazon workers and cancel out Amazon’s $200,000 PAC contribution.

 
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