(UPDATED 7:55 PM – archived ceremony video now substituted in the embedded player)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 3:39 PM: Not at City Hall for the ceremony inaugurating Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Kshama Sawant, as well as re-elected Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Sally Bagshaw, and Nick Licata, and City Attorney Pete Holmes? Watch live via Seattle Channel by clicking the “play” button above, which takes you to the live SC feed (which will move on to other programming afterward – we’ll replace it with the archived event video when that’s available later *update, archived video now live as of 7:55 pm*).
You’re also invited to a City Hall reception starting around 4:30 in the Bertha Knight Landes Room (street level from the 5th Avenue entrance) and the inauguration celebration at 7 pm at Benaroya Hall; Councilmember Sawant is also having a party (6 pm, SEIU HQ at 215 Columbia), with a suggested donation for retiring campaign debt but, she says, “no one will be turned away.”
5:15 PM: The inauguration ceremony is over, wrapping up just after the top of the hour. The oath of office was administered by former Gov. Gary Locke:
I do solemnly swear… pic.twitter.com/tnekokYDZp
— Ed Murray (@Mayor_Ed_Murray) January 7, 2014
Earlier in the day, new Councilmember Sawant tweeted photos from her first council meetings, starting with the morning briefing:
My first council briefing! pic.twitter.com/Ox1xkVniKy
— Councilmember Kshama (@cmkshama) January 6, 2014
Again, we’ll substitute the archived video from this afternoon’s ceremony when it’s available.
5:36 PM: Seattle Channel says that might not be until tomorrow. CM Sawant’s speech text was just sent. Read on (update: other speeches’ texts/links added, too):
My brothers and sisters,
Thank you for your presence here today.
This city has made glittering fortunes for the super wealthy and for the major corporations that dominate Seattle’s landscape. At the same time, the lives of working people, the unemployed and the poor grow more difficult by the day. The cost of housing skyrockets, and education and healthcare become inaccessible.
This is not unique to Seattle. Shamefully, in this, the richest country in human history, fifty million of our people – one in six – live in poverty. Around the world, billions do not have access to clean water and basic sanitation and children die every day from malnutrition.
This is the reality of international capitalism. This is the product of the gigantic casino of speculation created by the highway robbers on Wall Street. In this system the market is God, and everything is sacrificed on the altar of profit. Capitalism has failed the 99%.
Despite recent talk of economic growth, it has only been a recovery for the richest 1%, while the rest of us are falling ever farther behind.
In our country, Democratic and Republican politicians alike primarily serve the interests of big business. A completely dysfunctional Congress DOES manage to agree on one thing – regular increases in their already bloated salaries – yet at the same time allows the federal minimum wage to stagnate and fall farther and farther behind inflation. We have the obscene spectacle of the average corporate CEO getting seven thousand dollars an hour, while the lowest-paid workers are called presumptuous in their demand for just fifteen.
To begin to change all of this, we need organized mass movements of workers and young people, relying on their own independent strength. That is how we won unions, civil rights and LGBTQ rights.
Again, throughout the length and breadth of this land, working people are mobilizing for a decent and dignified life for themselves and their children. Look at the fast food workers movement, the campaigns of Walmart workers, and the heroic activism to stop the Keystone XL pipeline!
Right here in SeaTac, we have just witnessed the tremendous and victorious campaign for fifteen dollars an hour. At the same time, in Lorain County, Ohio, twenty-four candidates ran, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as ‘Independent Labor’ and were elected to their City Councils.
I will do my utmost to represent the disenfranchised and the excluded, the poor and the oppressed – by fighting for a $15/hour minimum wage, affordable housing, and taxing the super-rich for a massive expansion of public transit and education. But my voice will be heard by those in power only if workers themselves shout their demands from the rooftops and organize en masse.
My colleagues and I in Socialist Alternative will stand shoulder to shoulder with all those who want to fight for a better world. But working people need a new political party, a mass organization of the working class, run by – and accountable to – themselves. A party that will struggle and campaign in their interest, and that will boldly advocate for alternatives to this crisis-ridden system.
Here in Seattle, political pundits are asking about me: will she compromise? Can she work with others? Of course, I will meet and discuss with representatives of the establishment. But when I do, I will bring the needs and aspirations of working-class people to every table I sit at, no matter who is seated across from me. And let me make one thing absolutely clear: There will be no backroom deals with corporations or their political servants. There will be no rotten sell-out of the people I represent.
I wear the badge of socialist with honor. To the nearly hundred thousand who voted for me, and to the hundreds of you who worked tirelessly on our campaign, I thank you. Let us continue.
The election of a socialist to the Council of a major city in the heartland of global capitalism has made waves around the world. We know because we have received messages of support from Europe, Latin America, Africa and from Asia. Those struggling for change have told us they have been inspired by our victory.
To all those prepared to resist the agenda of big business – in Seattle and nationwide – I appeal to you: get organized. Join with us in building a mass movement for economic and social justice, for democratic socialist change, whereby the resources of society can be harnessed, not for the greed of a small minority, but for the benefit of all people. Solidarity.
We’ll add the mayor’s speech text if and when that is sent.
6:15 PM: Councilmember O’Brien has posted his speech text on his website.
7:05 PM: It’s not on his website yet, but Councilmember Licata’s speech text has just arrived in the inbox:
First, I want to thank the organizers of the inauguration for including our St. Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken. What better way to start the political year, than with some poetry to inspire us. Perhaps this year, Seattle could even establish our own City Poet.
But, right now, I want thank all of you for allowing me to serve as your councilmember, which I believe is the best job in Seattle – sorry Mayor Murray, you may not have known that. Truly, the City Council is where the action will be. And there will be a lot this year.
For instance, I see some t-shirts out there supporting a $15 minimum wage. A number of council members are with you. And I thank the Mayor for getting this effort underway so quickly, even before being sworn in.
I’m impressed and I think we all should be. We also have other critically important legislation before us.
The Council will work with the Mayor to create an Office of Labor Standards to assure that all businesses are following the law, providing paid sick leave, not holding back employee’s earned wages, and allowing an opportunity for all to be fairly considered for a job. The Council will continue pursuing principle reduction strategies so that the thousands of Seattle homeowners facing foreclosure can retain their homes. Some Seattle residents have seen up to half of their life savings lost. The Council will continue to work to have no family on the streets at night, in our otherwise rich city, without decent shelter for them and their children. I can see thousands of apartments going up around the city. Personally, I ask, why can’t we see just one safe, secure and well-managed shelter to serve as a transition to permanent housing for families and children sleeping outside?
I believe must extend our Race and Social Justice goals to businesses receiving city assistance in order for them to grow and create jobs. We need to not only create more jobs, we need to create jobs for Seattle residents – particularly from the high number of unemployed youth in our minority communities. And we are creating good jobs. The average high tech job in Seattle pays over $80,000 a year.
People are coming here looking for jobs. In the last 20 years, we have added over 100,000 residents. The previous 20 years we were flat.
We can agree that growth and prosperity are good but the market alone will not provide prosperity for everyone. That is why there is a role for the public sector to play if we want Seattle to grow and be affordable for our employees.
Let me end on this note, our Chamber of Commerce pointed out that Seattle was named by Kiplinger’s as one of the “10 Best Cities for this Decade.” Let’s make Seattle the best — for all of us. I look forward to a very exciting year. Thank you.
7:55 PM: The archived ceremony video is now available; you can watch it in the window above.
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