400 March And Rally To Tax Amazon As Momentum Grows Against Any State Ban On Taxing Big Business

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Above Photo: From Taxamazon.net

STATE SENATORS REBECCA SALDAÑA AND BOB HASEGAWA JOIN GROWING LIST OF POLITICIANS PUBLICLY OPPOSING PREEMPTION

On Sunday March 1, 400 community members marched from the Cal Anderson Park fountain to the Amazon corporate campus as part of Seattle’s Tax Amazon movement. Against the backdrop of the Amazon Spheres, speakers talked about why there is such powerful momentum to tax Amazon and Seattle’s biggest corporations to fund social housing and Green New Deal programs.

“Working people are getting organized, fighting back, and going on strike in a way they haven’t in decades,” explained Socialist Alternative Councilmember Kshama Sawant. “Young people are moving into struggle against the looming climate catastrophe as capitalism continues to completely fail to address this existential threat. There is strong and growing public support for taxing the wealthy and for taxing big business. Over a thousand working people have joined the Tax Amazon movement for our launch rally and our grassroots action conferences, which have been an incredible example of democratic organization of social movements.”

As socialist candidate for Washington’s 10th Congressional District Joshua Collins, who is running to be the youngest member of Congress, explained, “Billionaires are going to keep grabbing more and more power while our health care and housing costs keep going up. We need to tax the rich.”

“As residents and postdocs, often we need to live close to the university and our labs,” explained Natalia Mesa, a member of UAW 4121, which represents over 6,000 academic employees. “That means that we sometimes pay 50%-70% of our incomes in order to live and work in Seattle. While Jeff Bezos keeps getting richer and richer and getting more and more tax breaks, we are unable to live and work in Seattle. A victory for taxing Amazon means winning hundreds of millions for working people in affordable housing. I can promise you that union workers are in this fight.”

Harris, a member of Democratic Socialists America and an Amazon warehouse worker, explained how their warehouse has increased its rate from 180 to 400 units per hour in recent years. “Surely the productivity of our warehouse went up, and surely Jeff Bezos’ profits went up, but did our wages go up? Absolutely not.”

Matt Smith, a cargo delivery driver at Amazon, added, “I can promise you that Amazon and tech industry workers are going to be in this fight every step of the way.”

The hundreds of Tax Amazon protestors chanted, “Which side are you on, working folks or Amazon” and, “From Seattle to Spokane, no preemption, no state ban!”

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“We hope our message from this march today, and our message these last weeks has been crystal clear,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant. “If a state ban, if preemption, is added to these bills in the legislature, we will be on our way to Olympia. This time there will be a lot more of us. This time with mass peaceful civil disobedience. If politicians in Olympia pass preemption, we will make sure there is a political price to pay for selling out the working class.”

This weekend, in response to our movement, two key state senators joined the growing number of legislators in declaring their outright opposition to any state ban on taxing big business. Seattle-area State Senators Rebecca Saldaña and Bob Hasegawa joined Representative Frank Chopp and State Senator Joe Nguyen in publicly opposing preemption. This Saturday, at the 37th Legislative District Town Hall, Senator Rebecca Saldaña said, “I am willing to say that I will not support any preemption.”

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State Senator Rebecca Saldaña and Amazon worker Matt Smith

Senator Bob Hasegawa issued a statement against preemption, saying: “The fundamental problem is that the state continues to not address the need for comprehensive progressive tax reform. Wealthy corporations and individuals, especially the extremely wealthy, continue to not pay their fair share to address the many social problems that are the direct result of the growing income inequality they benefit from. Cities are left holding the bag trying to find creative ways to address these problems within the constraints imposed on them due to state law. I don’t think the state should further constrain cities by preempting their ability to look for creative solutions while at the same time refusing to look for creative solutions itself to bring tax fairness.”

In addition, Jessi Murray, who recently declared her candidacy for the 43rd District House seat currently occupied by Rep. Chopp, joined the rally and announced her opposition to any ban on taxing big business and her support for the Tax Amazon campaign.

Three weeks ago, Councilmember Sawant, and Sen. Nguyen, joined by Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, and SeaTac City Councilmember Takele Gobena, declared their steadfast opposition to a state ban on big business taxation in an op-ed in The Stranger titled, “A New Proposal Will Turn King County into a Tax Haven for Big Business. We Must Stop That From Happening.