Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was overwhelmingly supportive of the protesters and rioters taking over her city — until they came to her door. She called yesterday for an investigation into socialist Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who led the protest outside Durkan’s home.
After Durkan walked back her support for CHOP (or CHAZ), the violent autonomous zone that plagued Seattle until recently, members of Seattle’s far-left, with whom Durkan was already wildly unpopular, were furious. This prompted the “defund the police” protest outside Durkan’s house, where Sawant in a speech called for Durkan’s resignation.
Durkan, who spent the past month praising the protests and refusing to take action until multiple shootings and murders forced her hand, has suddenly decided the protests must be suppressed. She wrote to the leader of the Seattle City Council, Lorena Gonzalez, calling for Sawant to be investigated, to either be punished or expelled for “recklessly undermin[ing] the safety of others, all for political theatre.”
It is incredibly ironic that Durkan is accusing Sawant of “recklessly undermin[ing] the safety of others.” The rioting and lawless CHOP, which Durkan enabled, caused far more risk and harm than anything the mayor and her family experienced.
In her letter, Durkan cited Article IV, Section 4 of the Municipal Code of the City of Seattle, which states, “The City Council shall … Have authority to punish its members and others for disorderly or otherwise contemptuous behavior in its presence, and to expel for such behavior in its presence any member.”
This newfound prioritization of law and order reads both hollow and remarkably hypocritical. Until last week, Durkan vocally endorsed the protests, even calling CHOP a “block party” and comparing it to the “summer of love.”
This investigation into Sawant would hardly be the first. The socialist councilwoman faced two now-dismissed ethics complaints alleging that her office’s decisions were beholden to activist group Socialist Alternative, a Trotskyist political party with which Sawant is involved. She is also under investigation by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission for using her office to promote a ballot measure proposing a tax on Amazon and other large corporations.
Sawant is proud of her actions and published a response to Durkan’s letter. “Socialist Alternative and my Council office are proud to have marched, rallied, and organized with thousands of community members and activists in recent weeks to demand #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, #BlackLivesMatter,” Sawant wrote. “Our movement is demanding racial and economic justice, long withheld by a pro-corporate political establishment, whose leader currently is Mayor Durkan.”