Labor Pains
Labor Pains
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In a surprise even for a liberal city as Seattle, last November the first socialist in over a century was elected to office after Kshama Sawant, a former college economics professor, won a truly unexpected victory in a citywide election. Bolstered by an Occupy-inspired grassroots campaign that focused on economic inequality and corporate politics at city hall, she toppled the incumbent of 16 years, who had the full backing of the political establishment.


True to form, Sawant, 41, of the Socialist Alternative party, after taking her oath of office earlier this month, said “I will do my utmost to represent the disenfranchised and the excluded, the poor and the oppressed, by fighting for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, affordable housing, and taxing the super-rich for a massive expansion of public transit and education.” The new city councilmember was also in a fiery mood when I joined the hundreds packed into the nearby Seattle Labor Temple in Belltown recently, to listen to her again let rip. And she put many politicians to shame by announcing that she’s donating $15,000 a year from her new salary to help fund the campaign (15Now – for the $15 minimum wage.


The city landmark building, with its main entrance “LABOR TEMPLE” in both deco-style lettering and wonderful neon signage, is a fitting venue for such a passionate speech on economic inequalities. Labor Temples sprang up across the USA in the wake of the pains caused by The Great Depression; this particular temple being one of the last to be built in Seattle, in 1942. Seattle has been known since the early 20th century for the strength of its labor movement, and this building has been the centre for organising and office activities for the labor movement for more than seventy years now.


Leica M3 & 50mm Summilux V2

Sekonic L308-S

Ilford Delta 100

Adox Adonal (1+50 – 14min)

Plustek 7600i & Vuescan