The Socialist Equality Party condemns the threats of physical violence against Socialist Alternative leader and Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant. The SEP demands the City Council conduct a full and open investigation to expose who is behind these credible threats of immediate violence and to take all necessary measures to protect Sawant, her family and her aides.
On January 19, 2021, Sawant’s office published a press release revealing that her office received detailed threats to kill her. The threats were communicated in a series of emails that came from a city government email address linked to the Seattle Fire Department. Sawant explained that while she regularly receives threats from right-wing people, they are usually “not specific enough to be taken as immediate threats to safety.”
However, Sawant explained, “Recently, I have become extremely concerned about a series of threatening emails I have received from a City of Seattle employee email account, beginning on December 17, 2020. The most ominous of these emails arrived yesterday, January 18, titled ‘Time to announce your expiration.’ It concluded, ‘The time is here, and you will not have a place after tomorrow council woman. Announce your resignation now, or else.”
Prior emails also included death threats and encouraged Sawant to commit suicide. Sawant wrote: “There should be a thorough investigation into this matter immediately—particularly in light of the possible link between these emails and the far right protests planned for Biden’s inauguration tomorrow, January 20 (note the specific language saying I will ‘not have a place after tomorrow’ in the January 18 email).”
When Sawant asked the Seattle Fire Department to explain who sent the emails, the department refused. The department’s executive director of administration apparently refused to provide the identity of the employee and instead informed Sawant that “The SFD employee is claiming that he did not send the emails.”
Sawant added, “Given that the Fire Department appears not to have taken this matter seriously, I request that Mayor Jenny Durkan and interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz follow up with real urgency on this immediate threat.”
The SEP demands an immediate investigation to protect Sawant and those around her. Despite our political differences with Sawant and Socialist Alternative, we defend her democratic right to conduct political work without threat of assassination from the far right. This is all the more urgent considering the January 6 fascist coup attempt, directed from within the Trump administration with high-level connections to police and military officials.