“If Boeing executives want to leave the state, they are welcome to do that,” she told a cheering crowd at Town Hall Seattle in 2012. “The fact is, the workers are here. The factories are here. ... We are therefore calling for the democratic, public ownership by workers and by the community of the workplaces of the big corporations.”
The Seattle Times does a nice profile of Sawant in todays' paper.
But why does her worker ownership idea seem so far fetched?
It comes down to what I was saying a few weeks ago in relation to the ACA about how we frame things. We are so inured to companies' being run for the benefit of stockholders and their executives that the idea of a worker-owned company just seems outlandish and subversive, no matter how much sense it makes.
But if ours was a truly sane and decent society, it should make no sense to us--indeed, we should recoil in collective horror--that Boeing can just lay off thousands of well-paid, skilled workers and leave a city because it can improve its margins elsewhere. We're not talking about Boeing's survival--just its profitability.
In other words, what's insane is the frame. The most insane, indecent things seem sane within an insane frame. And that insane frame is economic Liberalism, whether in its classic 19th century form or in its current Neoliberal form. It doesn't work, if by working we mean provisioning a sane, decent society. If you don't believe me, ask the Pope.
I'm ambivalent about socialism providing an adequeately sane counterframe, but we need somebody to push back, and if the socialists are the only ones willing to do it, I'm with them.