March 2023 \ Diaspora News \ DIASPORA NEWS

Kshama Sawant made history in the month of February 2023 when Seattle adopted a resolution moved by her to ban caste-based discrimination, becoming the first US city to do so. She took and stared down critics like the Hindu American Foundation, a powerful advocacy group, and many Hindu Indian Americans who argued the ban discredits and singles out Hindus.

By Yashwant Raj

Did you get support from the four Indian Americans in Congress - Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna?

I wrote a letter personally to Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna. I don’t believe we heard back from Ro Khanna at all. And the momentum was so strong that we did get, I think, some sort of social media tweet from Pramila Jayapal.

Can you speak a little bit about the international response to the ban? From India?

We received an overwhelming response from people in India. It is clear that it has really captured their imagination. We’ve received letters of excitement and congratulations from ordinary people, including young young people and we got a letter of support from the spokesperson of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

What about the Indian diaspora? In Canada, England? Any of these countries?

Yes, definitely. We have received letters of support from direct and other activists in the UK, Australia and also, as I said, people from Canada literally came and joined us for the vote here. And since then, we’ve also received a couple of letters of support from other people and other organisations in Canada as well.

So what next? Is there a new agenda that you are working on now?

Yeah, I don’t know if you have heard yet. But this is an election year for the City Council, I’m not going to run again. The Socialist Alternative and I and other activists are going to launch a new nationwide movement called Workers Strike Back . We are demanding $25 an hour minimum wage (it is $15 currently), Medicare for All and continuing the fight against oppression and discrimination, and also a call for building a new party. You know we believe that the working class in the United States needs a new party of its own because our interests are not being served by the Democrats or Republicans.

Tags: USA, Interviews