Indians are doing well in the US and the diaspora is known as the ‘model minority’. One person who objects to this term is Kshama Sawant, a member of the City Council of Seattle. “It is a damaging term for the working class,” she tells Sidharth Bhatia in a podcast.
Sawant, who is a socialist and Marxist introduced an ordinance in the Council to ban any kind of discrimination on the basis of caste in Seattle, the home of tech giants. A member of the Socialist Alternative, she was first elected in 2013 and had a notable success in 2015 when she managed to get the basic wage increased to $ 15 an hour.
Various Hindu organisations including the Hindu American Foundation and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have objected to the caste ordinance saying it demonises Hindus. “We expected that. They are right wing and align with the Modi regime,” she says.
She says the Caste Ordinance emerged when she and others were working to bring people against the Citizenship Amendment Act in India. “We asked the Council to protest against the CAA. The Indian Consulate sent a letter to the Council that we were not being truthful about it.”
As a socialist, she says she finds young Americans getting disillusioned with the capitalist system. “This is a downwardly mobile generation, they cannot maintain their parents’ lifestyle.” America, she finds, “is moving to the left” but acknowledges that there is a lack of leadership on the left.