Freedom Socialist Party recommendations for the August 2, 2016 Washington State Primary Election

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This election features a sea of candidates vying for a spot on the general election ballot, but only one who names capitalism as the problem: Mary Martin, who is running for governor on the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) ticket. There are also two ballot measures that deserve your attention. Below are our recommendations.

Governor – Vote for Mary Martin, Socialist Workers Party

The Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) urges a vote for Mary Martin, the only socialist candidate on this ballot. Numerous Republican and Democratic business-as-usual candidates also appear, but voting for Martin is an opportunity to add your voice to the growing chorus of residents who want a change in the system.

The FSP believes that lodging a protest vote is important, but at the same time we can only give highly critical support to this candidate and her party. Martin includes some very good planks in her voters pamphlet statement: speaking out against imperialist war, supporting unions, calling for government-funded public works programs to create jobs and build infrastructure, ending deportations, calling for prosecution of killer cops, and defending abortion rights.

However, the Socialist Workers Party seems to be growing ever more out of touch with the working class they hope to represent and hasn’t put in the effort to lay out a program for the concrete issues facing Washington state. They talk about the deepening economic crisis without mentioning this state’s regressive tax structure or the free-loading mega-industries that are headquartered here. Of even more concern is the SWP’s bizarre support for the right-wing ranchers who launched an armed military-style occupation of a public wildlife refuge in Oregon and battled federal agents in a bid to expand private grazing rights on public lands. In contrast, Martin’s voter pamphlet statement fails to mention the many Black, Latino and Native families in Washington who have seen their loved ones mowed down by police and sheriffs.

We hope that in the future local socialists can unite to offer a stronger candidate for the voters. But in this primary, the SWP candidate is the only one to offer Washingtonians the chance to cast a real protest vote – and never was that needed more than now. Seize the opportunity!

Note: Beware of another gubernatorial candidate on the ballot, David W. Blomstrom, who states his party preference as “Fifth Republic Party.” This is someone who tries to pass himself off as an anti-war populist, but his platform centers on dangerous anti-Semitic rants.

City of Seattle Proposition No. 1 – Property Tax Levy Renewal for Affordable Housing – Vote NO

Affordable housing in Seattle has reached a crisis point, as daily headlines in the media attest. But this levy is not the solution, and in many ways compounds the problem.

Prop 1 replaces an expiring levy with a new one that would raise $290 million for low income housing projects. It would cost the median homeowner $122 per year for seven years – double the amount of the expiring levy.

Skyrocketing property taxes on Seattle homes are already driving working-class homeowners, many of them seniors, out of the city at an alarming rate. And yet, this is the second time this year we’ve been asked to raise property taxes to pay for basic social services and schools, with another whopping transit levy coming our way in November.

Meanwhile, developers get a property tax break for up to 12 years in exchange for setting aside a small percentage of units as “affordable.” These are the same developers and investment companies that are making money hand over fist and jacking up rents to obscene levels.

It’s time voters said enough is enough. Instead of another levy to fund assistance, we need large taxes on large corporations and the billionaires. We also need rent control and low cost public housing for the homeless – instead of criminalizing them. Otherwise, Seattle will continue on the path to being an exclusive city for the rich and the white. Vote NO on Seattle Proposition 1!

Note: We are disappointed that Socialist Alternative and Councilmember Kshama Sawant continue to support such regressive tax measures. Socialists should confront the status quo, not become enablers of Seattle’s Democratic Party machine.

City of Seattle Initiative No. 123 – Vote NO

If passed, this measure will hand over unlimited public funds and public property to wealthy developers and architectural firms. It sets up a self-appointed Downtown Waterfront Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) to build a mile-long elevated park and “other amenities” along the waterfront after the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down. This project has no budget, and yet requires the city to fund it. Private investors will also be asked to chip in, but will reap millions from the “real estate developments planned for each end of the park” which the initiative calls for.

According to the measure, “The Seattle City Council shall make funds available to the PDA from any source, including the general fund …” and “Surplus City property shall be made available to the PDA at no cost.” Whoa! Vote NO on Initiative 123!

If you have any questions about these recommendations or want to talk it over, please give me a call at 206-722-2453 or stop by New Freeway Hall.

In solidarity,
Su Docekal
Seattle FSP Organizer

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