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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 26, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Kshama Sawant’s Indian heritage makes her activism urgent

Sawant looks to redistribute wealth

Looking at India shouldn’t just make us grateful for our current system, it should also be a warning of where our system could be headed should certain trends continue [“Kshama Sawant will have trouble changing ingrained inequities,” Northwest Voices, Nov. 20].

India is a prime example of what happens when corporations have all the power and workers have none. Safety regulations are inadequate, minimum wage is equivalent to 28 cents per hour and the poverty rate is twice as high as in the U.S.

Here, workers have lost a lot of power due to anti-union laws while corporations and the rich have benefited from deregulation and favorable government policies. The result? Many non-unionized workers still face criminally poor conditions. Adjusting for inflation, minimum wage is lower now than when first established in 1938. Income inequality is at record levels. And these trends are only getting worse.

Rather than taking away her right to complain about conditions in the U.S., I believe Sawant’s Indian heritage is actually what makes her activism so urgent. She doesn’t want us to turn into India. Wealth is already being redistributed up the income ladder. Sawant just wants some to trickle back down.

— Anthony Bencivengo, Seattle

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