As violent and destructive protests gripped cities in the northwestern part of the United States last year, it appeared to many that those responsible for the mayhem largely eluded accountability, but a recent court ruling offers a glimmer of hope that at least one high-profile protest organizer will face consequences for her actions.
According to the Seattle Times, the Washington state Supreme court ruled last week that a recall initiative targeting socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant may indeed move forward to the signature-collection stage and then, perhaps, an election later in the year that could see the controversial figure booted from office.
Talk of recalling Sawant kicked off last summer when Seattle resident Ernest Lou started raising funds to help facilitate the removal of the far-left activist. The recall petition produced by Lou claims that Sawant committed four specific offenses while in office, two of which related to involvement in the unrest that gripped the city over the summer.
According to Lou, Sawant allowed hundreds of protestors to enter Seattle City Hall and also “led a protest march to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s private residence,” the address of which is protected by confidentiality laws, which made the conduct a violation of city code, as the Washington Examiner noted. These charges, were, according to the state’s high court, “factually and legally sufficient for recall,” and thus the initiative will be allowed to proceed.
In light of the court’s ruling, supporters of the recall will need to gather 10,000 signatures over the course of the next 180 days. The Examiner reported that as of now, the campaign to oust Sawant has raised roughly $300,000 and spent about $100,000.
Not surprisingly, Sawant immediately expressed frustration with the court’s decision, labeling it “completely unjust,” but also explaining that she was not surprised, adding that “working people and oppressed communities cannot rely on the capitalist courts for justice any more than they can on the police,” according to the Seattle Times.
A group of Sawant’s supporters issued a separate statement on Twitter opining, “Big biz and the right wing are furious about the impact of socialist politics and social movements in Seattle & how we have inspired working people around the country. They are now trying to use the courts & their deep pockets to overturn Councilmember Sawant’s 2019 re-election,” the Examiner noted.
Countering those assertions was Henry Bridger II, Recall Sawant committee chairman, who is a self-described liberal Democrat who pushed back on the notion that right-wing dollars were funding the movement, saying: “I’m unemployed, I live in a studio apartment here in Capitol Hill. It’s not run by any right-wing anything.”
Though it remains to be seen whether the effort to recall Sawant will indeed bear fruit, it is at least heartening to see dedicated Seattle residents fight back against those who not only turned a blind eye to the physical and economic devastation wrought by lawless rioters last year, but actively facilitated it.