Of course ‘socialism’ was most-searched word of 2015: its ideas fit our times | Kshama Sawant


Since the Occupy movement, the dirty word as far as many millennials are concerned is not socialism, but capitalism

There is a decisive mood of resistance in America a backlash to the status quo. The Bernie Sanders campaign for chairman is capturing that mood, and it is no surprise that socialism was the most looked-up term in 2015.

The American youth of today did not grow up in the shadow of the Cold War. The vilification of socialist ideas by Republican anyway only serves, if anything, to pique their interest. Coupled with that is the future most young Americans face: a low-wage job market, proliferation of student debt and an escalating housing affordability crisis. Since the Occupy movement, the dirty word as far as many millennials are concerned is not socialism, but capitalism.

There is deep indignation against gaping income inequality and systemic racism. People are hungry for political alternatives that will serve their interests for a change instead of the insatiable avarice of Wall Street.

Sorry, your browser is unable to play this video. Bernie Sanders talks Isis, handgun and the billionaire class

Our city council re-election victory in Seattle, Washington, this fall is a powerful indicator of the predominate mood. The first time our Socialist Alternative Party won, in 2013, the political and business establishment did not take us severely. But we have shown that not only can a socialist win in the US, a socialist can drive the political agenda of a major city. This time around, big business and their political representatives mobilized a massive campaign against us, fueled with large amounts of corporate cash, disingenuous assault mailers, red baiting and red herrings.

Despite the fact that most Democratic party leaders backed my foe, the majority of ordinary people who consider themselves Democrats supported my openly socialist campaign. We won decisively with 56% of the vote. We defined a new record by raising almost half a million dollars – none of it corporate cash – with a median contribution of $50.

In 2013, many people voted for me in spite of the fact I was a socialist. In this years election, many more people voted consciously for socialist politics.

The same shift has happened on a personal level. Only a few years ago at social gatherings, telling I was a socialist used to be a conversation stopper. Now, those same people are curious about what I mean by socialism and aroused about the prospect of a fighting political challenge to the billionaire class.

With Bernie Sanderss campaign, the number of people enticed by socialist ideas has increased far beyond Seattle. The avalanche of Wall street and billionaire cash for Hillary Clinton has not been able to lower the crest of support for a socialist presidential nominee. Sanderss campaign just made a historic milestone of having created money from two million donors, with no corporate money and with an average donation of $30.

There are major differences in the history of socialist parties and ideas in Europe compared to the United States it doesnt have the sour tinge the word retains here across the pond.

But there is great anger in Europe at the vicious austerity and unemployment. Running people in Europe are searching for alternatives to fail and treacherous political leaders and parties. The supporting last year for Scottish freedom among the youth during the course of its referendum, and more recently, the rise of Jeremy Corbyn as a socialist to the leadership of the Labour Party, indicate that working-class people and the youth are looking for a way out of the dead-end of capitalism.

Millions are beginning to reject the rule of the billionaire class and increasingly looking to genuine ideas of socialism. Mass movements of working people will be the critical factor in resulting humanity away from a world ridden with war, poverty, refugee crisis and climate tragedy and toward a society that can use the resources of this planet to deliver a sustainable and high standard of living for all.

This article was corrected on 19 December 2015 to clarify that Sanders has raised money from two million donors, and that millions of people are interested in socialism.


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