Philly Socialist Alternative to Kenney and Council: #MakeAmazonPay

As soon as Amazon announced its intention to build a second corporate headquarters outside Seattle, elected officials from across the nation predictably responded to its ‘request for proposals’ by tripping over each other in a race to offer massive public subsidies and tax incentives to woo Amazon. Philadelphia’s elected officials from both the Democratic and Republican Parties have behaved no differently.

Last week, Mayor Jim Kenney slavishly tweeted, “We think Philadelphia would be a PRIME location for Amazon that would make people SMILE! Look forward to submitting a proposal!”

This week, the Kenney administration had taxpayers buy a plane ticket for a city envoy to visit Seattle and “help understand Amazon culture” and demonstrate our city is “serious about competing for the headquarters.”

 At-Large Republican Councilman David Oh introduced a bill to City Council on Thursday that “reduces the business net income tax to zero” of relocating “mega-businesses” like Amazon that employ over 50,000 workers.

Amazon is worth $460 billion, and its CEO Jeff Bezos will soon be the wealthiest man in the world. Bezos’ personal net worth is $84.4 billion dollars. He is one of 8 men who control half of the world’s wealth. Bezos and Amazon have accrued this massive wealth by ruthlessly exploiting workers in the US and abroad, crushing attempts to unionize, using its monopoly power to gobble up real estate and push up land value and housing costs in Seattle, and pushing small business owners out of markets.

In any city it expands to, Bezos and Amazon can afford to pay business taxes, income taxes, and property taxes. They can also afford to pay decent wages, and provide healthcare benefits and pensions for all of their workers. Instead of ‘wooing’ Amazon here with the promise of low wages, subsidies and tax breaks, Philadelphia’s political establishment should be taking the fight for a $15hour minimum wage, statewide single payer healthcare, and full funding for our schools to Harrisburg and DC. As badly as we need to address structural unemployment and poverty in Philly, spending millions of public dollars in exchange for a ‘promise’ to bring thousands of low wage, part time, dead end jobs will only result in increased corporate profits at our expense.

We need to stop to the nationwide corporate tax rate race-to-the-bottom. When cities compete against each other to offer corporations like Comcast and Amazon tax incentives, the big losers are our own residents. One third of Philadelphians live in poverty and our schools face enormous budget deficits. SEPTA is unreliable and one of the most expensive public transit system in the country. Public housing is being cut while gentrification and a shortage of affordable housing is pushing us out of our neighborhoods and threatening low-income residents all over the city. Should we really be competing with Chicago, Denver and Baltimore over who can give Amazon the most public money?

When establishment politicians like Mayor Kenney and Councilman David Oh offer public money that should be going to schools, housing, and city services to wealthy corporations for private profit, it is clear they stand with corporations and not with working class people.

Building power and organization outside the Democratic Party. 

In Seattle, Socialist Alternative City Council member Kshama Sawant,  led the fights that passed a $15 minimum wage and a tax on the wealthy. Sawant and SA are now building a coalition to campaign for affordable housing and supporting the independent Seattle City Council campaign of DSA member John Grant.

In Minneapolis coming off of the recent win for $15 minimum wage, Socialist Alternative member Ginger Jentzen is running for city council as an independent on a platform of tenants rights, affordable housing, taxing the rich to fund city services, and resisting the Trump agenda.

In Philly, we are working to build real alternatives to the establishment political machines. We need independent organizations of our own to fight back against corporate hegemony and poverty in our city. We need a political party of the 99% that can run independent candidates for local offices, and not just any candidates but fighting, accountable, independent candidates that take no corporate cash.

Yo Kenney! Say NO to Amazon’s economic coercion and demand better for our workers for the right to do business in our city:

  • A moratorium on state and local public tax subsides to corporate profits
  • A $15 minimum wage
  • For permanent full-time jobs with a future
  • Free higher education and job training
  • Free on site childcare options for employees
  • Full union rights for all employees  
  • for a tax on the wealthy to fund public schools, public transit and affordable housing.


“The solution is in no way to turn away from technological innovation, the logic of economies of scale, or ease of access to goods and services. Instead, we need to unionize, and to take these behemoths into democratic public ownership, so that they are run not for profit for a few, but in the interests of the majority of working people and of society. However, this can be achieved only by building powerful movements that are independent of the politicians and parties that have aided and abetted corporations like Amazon. In Seattle, our movements need to continue to build the fight to end homelessness, make housing affordable for all, and fully fund social services.” – Kshama Sawant Seattle City Council



SA at the Refuse Fascism Rally


Socialist Alternative stands shoulder to shoulder with all individuals, groups, and organizations who are protesting, organizing and building working class power to drive out Trump and defeat his administration’s right wing agenda. Let’s make Philly a real Sanctuary City for all working people.



The Trump administration is the most racist, reactionary, vicious, climate denying, pro business, homophobic, transphobic, misogynist, anti working-class administration in decades. Along with the chaos and instability coming from the White House, the Republicans have been emboldened at the state and city level to carry out attacks on immigrants, women, lgbtq people, unions, worker health and safety, wages, public education, unions, and environmental regulations.

Trump’s election has invigorated a number of genuinely fascist and semi-fascist forces, the KKK, various Neo-Nazi and white nationalist organizations, and a semi-fascist layer growing out of the forces of the so-called “alt right.” The raised profile and activity of these reactionary organizations is a sharp warning to all progressive forces, unions, targeted minorities, and working people of the need to build mass action to defend our communities and push forward positive progressive demands that will unite the broadest possible movement to defeat Trumpism

Protesting can be an important expression of power that shows our will to fight back. It can help us build our networks and organizational capacity, but to win we need to engage with the millions of working people going through their everyday lives. We need to advocate unity of our daily struggles, stand by each other, and speak in language that is honest but relevant to our lived experience. Through community, neighborhood, and workplace organizing we can build the capacity to organize mass protests, direct actions, civil disobedience and strikes to take down this vicious right-wing administration. But we can’t stop there, we need to build an independent party of the 99% – that takes no corporate money- that can take on, not only the fascists, but Trump and the whole billionaire class. We need to fight, not only the far right, but the conditions that allow the far right to grow. The fight against fascism and the far right is 90% a political struggle:

  • We need an end to ICE raids and police persecution of our immigrant Sisters and Brothers. We need to go beyond simple ‘non cooperation’ with ICE and use our city’s resources to actively defend our immigrant communities. We need a real sanctuary city.
  • We need an end to ‘Stop and Frisk’ now #MayorKenny. We need an end to racial profiling by the police and all government agencies. We demand no tolerance for police and other law enforcement officers who openly espouse racist or white supremacist ideas.
  • We need an end to racist police murders. We demand fully independent investigations, with subpoena powers, in all cases of police killings. We need a real democratically elected community oversight board with full powers to subpoena, hire and fire police officers.
  • We stand with our LGBTQ comrades, fighting discrimination and violence, and all forms of homophobia and transphobia.
  • We must fight discrimination based on race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, and all other forms of prejudice. We need equal pay for equal work.
  • We stand with workers organizing and striking for union rights.
  • We need decent jobs and a $15/hour minimum wage.
  • We need full funding for our neighborhood schools. We call for the immediate abolition of the School Reform Commission and the institution of a democratically elected school board that represents students, parents and staff.
  • We need to invest in rehabilitation, job-training, and living-wage jobs, not prisons! Abolish the death penalty.
  • We need clean air, water and access to decent food. We need our polluted neighborhoods cleaned up, the lead out of our water, and the elimination of ‘food deserts’ in our city.
  • We need to tax the rich, the unimaginably wealthy corporations, and the big property developers who are making huge profits gentrifying our neighborhoods and turning our city into a playground for the wealthy. We need decent housing, community control of development and strong tenant rights protections. We need city services, social workers, youth, and community centers to strengthen the solidarity and social bonds in our neighborhoods.
  • We need to organize to stop Trumpcare and the gutting of Medicaid. We need access to affordable quality healthcare, we need improved Medicare for all, regardless of legal status, employment, or income.

Whether or not we face the immediate threat of a fascist government is debatable, but we take the vicious attacks on working people, immigrants, women, people of color, and LGBTQ people by Trump’s administration very seriously. Socialist Alternative stands shoulder to shoulder with all individuals, groups, and organizations who are protesting, organizing and building working class power to drive out Trump and defeat his administration’s right wing agenda. Let’s make Philly a real Sanctuary City for all working people.

Build a Movement in the Streets To Win Philly DA Candidate Krasner’s Platform!

It’s Time To Build a Party of the 99%!

This Tuesday, May 16th, registered Democratic voters will decide the next District Attorney (DA) of Philadelphia amid a national progressive media spotlight. The former DA Seth Williams resigned in March after federal indictments revealed a frenzy of insider pay-to-play schemes leaving an open field. The seven way race now involves over $1.45 million from the coffers of billionaire George Soros and almost $250,000 from local Building Trade unions.

The November election is usually a simple coronation for the primary winner. A symptom of our one-party politics in Philly where low-turnout  elections mean political machines make decisions on winners long before votes are cast. But this primary election is different. It is taking place as millions of working people across the US continue to search for ways to resist the Trump administrations racist right wing agenda and the normally routine DA’s race has been transformed by the campaign of local civil rights lawyer Larry Krasner who has built a national reputation with his spirited defense of protesters from the 2000 Republican National Convention through Occupy Philly, Black Lives Matter, and the recent anti-corporate DNC demonstrations last summer.

Krasner’s platform calling for an end to mass incarceration, the death penalty, defense of civil liberties, and resistance to Trump’s right populism echoes the bold progressive messaging of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential primary run. He has linked his campaign to ongoing struggles in Philadelphia around education funding, stop and frisk, and the school to prison pipeline. His campaign has inspired Philly’s progressive community, caught the imagination of thousands of new activists, and re-ignited hopes of transforming the Democratic Party from within and building a new progressive majority in city hall.

But we know the machinery of mass incarceration cannot be dismantled from within the DA’s office so what kind of movements will it take to end mass incarceration?  The reforms won by the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s through the 1970’s resulted from mass mobilizations of working class people seeking radical change. From the lunch counter sit-ins across North Carolina to the March on Selma, to the mass demonstrations and strikes against the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands wrested basic civil rights from a racist system through determined fighting tactics. We need to base ourselves on that fighting history. We need sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, and strike action to build a broad movement that both stands against Trump’s right wing policies, and fights for positive change for working people and all those under attack.

But we also need to do more than protest. We need to do the hard work of building independent political power, and link ‘movement building’ to electoral politics to win real reforms to improve the quality of life for working people. Like Bernie Sanders, the energy around  Krasner’s campaign shows what we could do if we had our own political party. A party that takes no corporate money and whose candidates pledge to take only an average working class wage.

Many people fighting to transform the Democratic Party into a real progressive force agree with this, but think that it makes more sense to take over the Democratic machine. We understand that this seems easier than building a new party. The Democrats have structure, power and money. But history has shown us that time and time again as local movements try to change the Democrats they come into conflict with the local and national corporate leadership of the party that has no intention of letting progressive movements find their full expression, or they are simply bought off and co-opted, and drowned in the the sea of corporate dollars. Historically, the Democratic Party has proven a graveyard of the mass movements needed to carry through bold progressive demands of working class people. The $1.45 million in super pac money that was dumped into the race to support Krasner is a warning to the movement of the resources that can be brought to bear against progressive politics if we do not build an independent base of support in our communities.

Philadelphia has proud progressive traditions, and it has been the birthplace of many social movements that have transformed US politics. Socialist Alternative argues that now is the time to start building a new independent party of the 99% free from the corporate ties strangling progressive reforms. Philadelphia’s progressive left, unions, and community organizations can come together to strategically run independent candidates for local and state offices that would unapologetically fight for the working people of this city. This is not an abstract problem, and we understand that there are serious procedural barriers for independent candidates in Pennsylvania. But with serious preparation and strategy, by combining the strength of progressive forces in this city, and mobilizing the active logistical and financial support of working people around a united program that addresses our needs, these barriers can be overcome without relying on George Soros’ Super PAC for financial support.

Socialist Alternative wholeheartedly supports the demands for ending mass incarceration and defending the civil liberties of all people. While we cannot ‘endorse’ his campaign, we wish Larry Krasner luck, and we will be fighting alongside him and all those working in his campaign to win the reforms he is fighting for. Win or lose we should maintain the local structures and activist networks built during the campaign to continue to broadly mobilize around the demands and to be a part of building a new independent party.

#StrikeVZ !

Defend Union Rights:

Fight for Public Control of Utilities

Build A Party Of The 99%!

Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have called a strike against Verizon in the middle of the most hotly contested Democratic Party primary in decades. 40,000 Verizon workers from Virginia to Massachusetts walked off the job last Wednesday morning. The same day Bernie Sanders was on the picket line with Verizon workers in New York. His denunciation of Verizon’s “corporate greed” led to CEO Lowell McAdam calling his comments “contemptible.” Sanders shot back: “I welcome their contempt.”

IMG_7953The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has spent 10 months bargaining fruitlessly with a company determined to force its union workers into “parity” with the labor market. The outrageous concessions that Verizon is demanding are par for the course in today’s environment: destruction of job security and pensions, increased medical costs, increased use of term and temp workers, offshoring more and more work, and a whole shopping list of changes to work rules to “improve efficiency” – including the right to “loan” workers out of their home state for four months a year. Verizon is a highly profitable company – that pays next to no taxes – that is leveraging new technology and changes in public policy to take back the hard fought gains in basic living standards that telecom workers won from “Ma Bell” over the past 75 years.
Verizon’s economic demands are based on its agenda to separate itself from its legacy as a regulated public utility that provides universal access to an integrated telecommunications network. Verizon wants to transform itself into a home entertainment, wireless communications, and internet data services provider. In the build-out of its new FIOS network, Verizon is redlining entire communities it deems “unprofitable.” Let’s not forget that Verizon Wireless and FIOS were built on the profits generated over the years from the landline network – and without that network backbone none of the new technologies and services would work.

Telecom workers have a proud history of militant struggle, but, more and more, all effective tactics to wage an effective strike are restricted and illegal. Here is the scene played out at countless work locations across the Mid-Atlantic: mass pickets of Verizon workers surround the office, standing shoulder to shoulder with linked arms, the watching scabs unable to force their way through the peaceful but determined picket line. Sheriffs walk around the line reading out the court injunction limiting pickets to six per entrance. Slowly, resentfully, the arms drop and the police begin to escort the scabs into the building. Until the labor movement rebuilds the capacity to build effective picket lines and prevent scabbing we will be fighting with one hand tied behind our back.

The barrier to victory is not the willingness to fight, or any lack of courage and tenacity on the part of Verizon workers. It is the legal and political forces aligned against us. During the 2011 strike, Verizon fired many employees for ‘strike misconduct’, most of them on flimsy trumped up charges. While the union was able to return the majority of these workers to their jobs, it came at the price of a signed agreement with the company on future conduct on picket lines.

The Verizon strike needs to be turned into a broader fight against the bosses ongoing offensive against what is left of the labor movement. We need to broaden our fight beyond the traditional limitations of economic industrial struggle and challenge the corrupt corporate power structures that are destroying the lives of millions of working class families. We can seize this opportunity to strike back at the billionaires and go on the offensive by mounting a political challenge to the Democratic party establishment and uniting with the grass roots working class movement mobilizing around the Sanders campaign to begin building an independent party of the 99%.

Let’s not forget that telecom deregulation began with a Clinton in the White House. Instead of “Medicare for All,” the Democrats brought us the Affordable Care Act. Our so-called “Cadillac Health Plans” are a key target of Verizon bosses in the negotiations. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA and Hillary gives us the TPP. The Employee Free Choice Act was left to die in Congress and no one is even whispering about repealing the tangled web of restrictive anti-union legislation that strangles all efforts to organize. Congress, the FCC, the courts, State Houses, and utility boards are flooded with corporate money and lobbyists that write and enforce the rules in favor of the huge communications corporations.



More than ever we need a national plan for implementation of new technologies into the telecommunications network so that they benefit all of us!

Socialist Alternative calls for an immediate halt to any further deregulation of telecom services. We need a national plan to upgrade the wireless, landline and broadband networks and bring these services to all our communities by bringing them back under public control. We Built it! We paid for it! For reliable and affordable universal service!



Faux News vs Socialist Alternative

Chicago SA member Darletta throws down… Answer the question Neil!

Continue the Political Revolution!

Petition Bernie To Run As An Independent!

Bernie has rallied millions of people for far-reaching change. Every vote won for Bernie is a vote for a national $15/hour minimum wage, free college tuition, Medicare For All and more. He polls higher than Clinton against Trump, yet the corporate media says he’s unelectable and the Democratic Party establishment has closed ranks around Clinton. Bernie won 75% of the caucus vote in Washington State, but all the state’s super delegates have said they will support Clinton. In Philly Mayor Kenny, Congressman Bob Brady, former Mayor and PA Gov. Ed Rendell, and the rest of the Democratic machine have endorsed Clinton, the candidate of war, Walmart and Wall St.

Pennsylvania is a battleground state and Bernie needs a big win to win a majority of pledged delegates. This is not impossible, but the big delegate deficit, the power of the corporate media, and Clinton’s ties to the democratic Party establishment makes it increasingly likely that Bernie’s campaign will be defeated in this rigged game.

We need Bernie on the ballot in November when even more people will pay attention. We need to keep fighting, but how can we make sure our movement for a political revolution does not end up imprisoned by the constraints of the Wall Street dominated democratic Party?

If the DNC and the Clinton machine steal this election, Bernie should break free from the narrow confines of the pro-corporate democratic Party and run as an independent as a step toward building a new party of the 99% which could organize the millions of people fed up with corporate politics as an independent political force.

But if Bernie accepts the results of the primaries and endorses Hillary Clinton, then the movement built by his campaign will be channeled into electing the same old corporate politics of the Democratic Party. Bernie should not allow the political revolution to die in the primaries. He should take the fight all the way to the General election in November, as an independent if necessary, or to develop a “Plan B” of supporting the strongest remaining left, anti-corporate challenger, Jill Stein of the Green Party. While Bernie’s campaign has vividly demonstrated how the DNC and the Democratic Party establishment have stacked the deck against us, the massive enthusiasm for Bernie has shown a new party is possible.

Lets use the structures we’ve built and leverage all our hard work to build independent working class politics. Bernie should call for a national conference of his grass roots supporters, unions and community organizations, and other Left and Progressive forces to discuss an independent challenge to Clinton and Trump, and begin making plans to run independent candidates on a pro-worker, anti-corporate platform.

Lets build a party of the 99%!