We interviewed socialist city council member Kshama Sawant today at her city hall office where the Socialist Alternative newspaper and $15 minimum wage lit are laid out on a table in the front, and a $15 minimum wage sign—with 15 subbing for the 12 in the 12th Man logo—is tacked up on the otherwise blank wall.
We covered a range of topics including housing, transportation, rent control, the $15 minimum wage, and Seattle City Light surcharges (more to come soon).
But our most pressing question, obviously: Is Seattle's socialist going to watch the Seahawks Super Bowl—an orgy of capitalist media excess that promotes a league built on brutal head trauma injuries and public stadium subsidies, while playing out the bread-and-circus politics of the ruling class to preoccupy working men and women?
Here's what Sawant said about Super Bowl Sunday:
Sawant: "I’m having a fascinating experience learning about American football. I knew next to nothing before all this conversation about the Seahawks. And everywhere I go I ride the bus, and I run my card, and people say 'thank you for being in City Hall' and—'what about the Seahawks?' And everywhere I go I say 'I’ve been reading about this and it’s very interesting.'"
PubliCola: Are you going to go to a Super Bowl party?
Sawant: "I am, yeah, actually."
Take that haters. Socialists have fun too!
Sawant: "And in fact all the excitement around the Seahawks is an excellent opportunity for us not only to have this collective euphoria which is actually quite fun to see, but also to remember that none of this would be possible were it not for the thousands and thousands of nameless and faceless workers, the bus drivers, the AV technicians, the security guards, the concession stand workers, all of those invisible people who make everything possible to have one good game."
PubliCola: So corporate sports and this fat corporate celebration has created all these jobs?
Sawant: "No. It's not like that. It's not like that at all. Have you seen the TED talk by [local wealthy venture capitalist] Nick Hanauer? That is not how capitalism works. The source of all the profit is the back-breaking work that the workers do. People go to work every day [and] make the city run. That’s where all the profits come from. They get a very small share of the profits in the form of their wages. They spend that profit in the form of consumption, and that consumption is what drives the profit, and in fact that is what puts the capitalist economy in crisis because when there is very little being created in the form of wages and compensation, there is not enough ability to consume and that is the built-in contradiction of capitalism. So, when you say that corporate America creates jobs, you’re wrong. It’s people who go out and consume that create jobs."
On a related note: Earlier in the interview, we asked Sawant whether she supported the Sonics' stadium deal—which would include a $280 million public down payment.
"We don’t support putting the burden on working families to build infrastructure that primarily big developers and big corporations and billionaires are going to gain from. Our only other position on that is that we also want ordinary people to be included in this conversation. Enjoying sports is a right [for] people for whom sports may be the only avenue of enjoyment. They’re not going to be able to go to the opera or anything like that."
Ha. Has she seen NBA or NFL ticket prices? Pretty much the same as the opera.
In fact, there oughta be a "13th Man" for those of us who have to watch the Seahwaks on TV.