Councilmember Sally Bagshaw just doesn’t get it:
Bagshaw said: “More than frustrated, I am sad about how Sawant is acting. I perceive her as intentionally creating class differences for her own gain, whereas we could be shaking everyone’s hands and working together to solve this problem… “
Sigh. So, the thing is, to accuse Kshama Sawant of “creating class differences” is to fail to acknowledge that class differences already exist. And I think that helps explain Bagshaw’s failure to connect with working-class voters.
Also, while Sawant is certainly attempting to create class consciousness (and she may even be attempting to exploit it), none of this is for Sawant’s personal gain. She’s a true believer in the midst of a class struggle. Simple as that. Read your Marx and you’ll gain a lot of insight into what motivates Sawant.
But to attribute it to ego or self-interest is to misread Sawant entirely.
As for Bagshaw, I don’t question her intentions. Every conversation we’ve had has been pleasant and polite. I think we mostly get each other. But then, that is because Bagshaw and I largely hail from the same class. The overflow crowd at the affordable housing forum last week, not so much.
Personally, I struggle to overcome my own class prejudices and preconceptions, not always successfully. Empathy can be a poor substitute for experience. But one thing I know for sure is that these class differences—and the anger and frustration they are generating—are very, very real.