Councilmember Kshama Sawant is adding fuel to the annual May Day demonstrations in Seattle by promoting workplace disruptions and shutting down highways and airports.
In a Feb. 21 column that Sawant wrote for the Socialist publication Jacobin Magazine, titled “Why We Should Strike on May Day,” the councilmember calls for a “wave of protests and strikes” to counter “bigoted” actions of President Donald Trump.
“The ‘chaos’ we created at the nation’s airports gives a hint of what’s possible,” Sawant wrote in reference to the protests that immediately followed Trump’s travel ban executive order.
“…we need to think deeply about where our strength lies and how to create disruption on an even greater scale,” she wrote.
The column is the latest in a recent trend of Sawant calling for protests, strikes and other demonstrations in the wake of Trump’s election. In November, she requested a “wall of mass resistance.” She also called for a nation-wide shutdown. More recently, she put out a call for a rally following the detainment of a DACA-protected immigrant.
But the councilmember gets more specific in her most recent effort to “create disruption on an even greater scale.” May Day is the next mass demonstration she promotes.
May Day 2017
May Day is already a day of mass demonstrations in cities across the United States. In Seattle, however, it has become a day known for violent and destructive marches through downtown. An annual, peaceful immigrant and worker march takes place during the day on May 1. But that message is generally lost as anarchists usually descend upon downtown during the evening. The result is often broken windows, damaged property, and police responding with pepper spray and blast balls. In fact, additional officers from neighboring police departments are called into Seattle to manage the demonstrations.
Sawant’s call to action does not promote violence or damage, rather highlights disrupting the economy, stating, “working people have enormous potential power to shut down the profits of big business by taking action in their workplaces like slowdowns, sickouts, and strikes.”
For the 2017 May Day demonstration, Sawant is also asking for greater actions targeted at shutting down infrastructure. She writes:
Let’s use the coming weeks to begin planning for workplace actions as well a mass peaceful civil disobedience that shuts down highways, airports, and other key infrastructure. Students can organize walkouts in their schools to send a powerful message that youth reject Trump’s racism and misogyny.