A self-described father, veteran, and anarchist stood up before the Seattle City Council at a Wednesday meeting to excoriate the spineless corporate stooges who had just voted to repeal a tax on big businesses that would have gone to help the homeless. He emphasized just how cruel and craven the legislators were for passing legislation that kills people and leaves them to die in the streets.
He begins his statement by greeting the council members: “What’s up, bootlickers?”
All right, I don’t got long. I’m a dad, so I have kids to take care of.
What’s up, bootlickers? I haven’t seen ya’ll since the campout.
I’ve got something to say. I’m tired of this fucking shit.
I’m a father, I’m a veteran and I’m an anarchist. Those are three people you don’t want to piss off.
I’m tired of children getting attacked in the streets, I’m tired of them sleeping in the streets. I’m tired of the very people I swore to defend get attacked by the state.
So like I said out there, ya’ll need to close your fucking beaks, take resources and put them in the hands of people who need them.
Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with ya’ll?
Who the fuck are ya’ll to justify letting people die in the streets with your policies, your laws and your legislation? How do you justify that, killing people? I swore to give my life to defend the people from all forms of oppression.
Eventually, all this shit is going to stop. Because when it’s our time, we won’t make excuses for the terror. Marx.
The original Marx quote, from ‘Suppression of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung,’ is actually: “We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.”
The Seattle City Council had voted the day before to repeal a tax hike on large employers that it instituted less than a month ago, backing down from a plan fiercely opposed by Amazon.com and much of the city’s business community.
With Amazon and Starbucks funding a ballot challenge to repeal the tax, the city’s Democratic council struck down the tax levy they approved in mid-May, about four weeks before it was repealed.
The new tax would have raised $48 million annually to combat Seattle’s homelessness and affordable housing crises. The Seattle area has the third-largest homeless population in the country, according to federal statistics.
The abrupt reversal enraged some supporters of the “head” tax, who argued that wealthy corporations in the city can afford to pay more to address homelessness. The measure, passed unanimously by the city council in May, levied a $275-per-employee tax on companies with at least $20 million in gross annual revenue.
Seattle’s council voted 7 to 2 to repeal the tax. The vote capped more contentious debate at Seattle City Hall, in which several speakers accused the local government of bending to the whims of Amazon.
Tax experts say the reversal underscores the limited leverage that cities across the country have over corporations such as Amazon, which helped wage an intense public relations campaign to turn the public against the tax.
The tax was scheduled to go into effect in 2019 and hit almost 600 businesses, said Louise Chernin of the Greater Seattle Business Association, a business group that helped fight the tax along with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
About two-thirds of the new revenue from the tax would be directed toward housing in the city. Most of the rest would help fund homeless services, including emergency shelters.
The city council approved the tax despite months of public feuding between local officials and businesses. Seattle officials initially pitched a $500-per-employee tax on large businesses. In a show of opposition, Amazon stopped construction on a new tower in the city.
The online retail giant also criticized the final tax package when it was passed, saying in a statement that the company was “very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric.”
Seattle’s business community launched a campaign to repeal the tax by putting it to the voters through a ballot referendum. Starbucks and Amazon each kicked in $25,000 for the effort, and supermarket groups put in $80,000, according to the Seattle Times.
“I have a news flash for council members who capitulated to this in lightning speed: This was never going to be easy in the face of mass corporate misinformation,” Kshama Sawant, a council member and a member of Socialist Alternative, a socialist political party, said in an interview. “It’s a complete betrayal of working people.”
Seattle tried raising money last year by passing an income tax on its wealthiest residents. But that measure was struck down by the courts as illegal under state law.
The number of homeless people in the county surrounding Seattle has spiked by 4 percent, to 12,112, according to a Seattle Times report from May, while housing prices in the city have continued to soar. The city declared a state of emergency over its homeless population in 2015.