Skip to main content

Buy the Print Edition of Radical Second Things!

Kshama Sawant, Jess Spear, and the Uncompromising “Free” Market


 Seen above: Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant
As I am sure most Hampton readers know by now, socialist Kshama Sawant has been unusually successful in her progress as Seattle City Councilwoman. While it will take a good while to apply, she did succeed in pushing $15 minimum wage for the city of Seattle.
The Socialist Alternative movement continued with Jess Spear, who ran a pretty stellar campaign against Frank Chopp for the position of speaker. Nevertheless, Spear was “overwhelmed,” as the Seattle P.I. put it, with Chopp raking it 80 percent of ballots, and the explanations why are pretty storied.
Sawant’s honeymoon is over, especially among her more centrist-liberal backers. Liberal publications like ‘The Stranger’ and the ‘Seattle P.I.’ perhaps realized that when Sawant talked about “poorly paid workers and unpaid internships,” she may have been referring to organizations like their own, and not just corporations like Boeing and Microsoft, or the more conservative businesses from Eastern Washington. A lot of Seattle liberalism is a shallow cultural bigotry prepared more for looking down on the “knuckle-dragging conservatives” in the eastern side of the State rather than actually solving the real problems of social inequity.  For this reason, the liberal establishment has always been at odds with socialists like Sawant.
Despite her loss, Spear’s campaign was just as impressive as Sawant’s and was run on a platform of “rent control now.” The call for rent control in Seattle was met by the same nonsensical, right-wing arguments that attacked Sawant’s $15 minimum wage platform, and were led by people who should know better. The aforementioned Seattle P.I. article regurgitated the argument that rent control has been “a colossal failure in San Francisco and New York City.”  A failure for who?  Certainly not poor and working-class renters.
The argument typically deployed by the Right is that, since competition drives down prices, mandating prices artificially inflates the rates. However, cities like SF and NYC are extremely dense, and the demand for housing is extreme.  Profit is sought by landlords in any form of capitalist system, so the prices in an area of such demand are going to remain high even with controls set.  It’s “rent control” and not “universal housing,” after all.  The fundamental argument that is often missing is the one brought to the forefront by Spear, Sawant, and their Party – should things like housing and healthcare be sources of immense profit for private business, or are they human rights that should be, at the very least, affordable?
Not to mention, the Rights go-to argument is opposed by reality – more specifically, the reality that the so-called “free market” is filled with artificial controls by the state that benefit the landowning class and “private” business.  For example, American fast food juggernauts like McDonald’s and Burger King got where they are with State subsidies on beef, which gave them a distinct advantage over “competitors” or chains that served healthier food, allowing them to spend much more money on expanding their reach (advertising and growth). I don’t need to tell you how much that formula worked for McDonald’s – you already know.  And big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target have relied heavily on government welfare programs like food stamps and Section 8 housing to supplement their workforces, which are paid poverty wages.
Rent controls wouldn’t work for property owners, a group of people who contribute nothing to society except manipulating property built by others in order to extort the people who only need a roof over their heads. It’s unfortunate that the Seattle P.I. wasn’t more receptive of Spear’s message – after all, their own operation is now “Internet only” as a result of no longer being able to afford a print newspaper. Their staff should know very well how oppressive and uncompromising the “free” market really is.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

No More Rev

So I was working as a transcribor for Rev for the last four months. I stayed on despite a few very bad ratings. Over the last few weeks, my ratings were on point, regularly getting 5/5 and bringing home 3 figures each week.

I got great ratings this week and then abruptly, tonight, I got this message sent to me: 

Unfortunately, we can no longer keep your transcription specific account open. This is due to your accuracy and quality being below our acceptable average. Your transcription account is being deactivated today. If you have any other account type with us, that will remain open. This decision is final.
You will be compensated for all completed work. Here are your performance metrics for August 6 to October 5.
So, given that message, I would assume that it's time to school my self-esteem, right? I'm obviously not fit for this line of work. Well not quite. Look at the metrics they sent me:
MetricYouRevver TargetRevver+ TargetAccuracy4.34.24.6Formatting4.74.24.6% On-time submiss…

The Nix and the Science of a Great Novel

I recently finished The Nix, a novel by up and coming novelist Nathan Hill, which fits all the standards for a really great novel. Great novels, despite the fluidity of good literature, do tend to follow a formula - a formula that a great artist (and writing is an art) is able to adept to and mold in to his own creation.

A great novel is sweeping. Sweeping or sprawling. These are descriptions you often hear of great books. Benjamin Percy described The Nix as "culturally relevant, politically charged, historically sweeping, sad, full of yearning, sometimes dark, but mostly hilarious." This is something that could also be described with another great American novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, which one critic refered to as a novel with "epic sweep."

Chabon's book swept through roughly three decades - the three protagonists met in the 1930s and only resolved their problems and tensions in the 1950s. Nathan Hill's characters …

Evoke Part Nine: An Art Project By Jordan Denato and Orion Deschamps

RST on Facebook

About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things