Remember back in the day when being a communist was illegal?
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A former community college professor who won a surprising citywide election was sworn in Monday as the first socialist City Council member in Seattle’s modern history.

Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative party took her oath and served in her first hearing, then gave a speech to throngs of supporters in a ceremonial swearing-in at a packed City Hall.

“I will do my utmost to represent the disenfranchised and the excluded, the poor and the oppressed, by fighting for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, affordable housing, and taxing the super-rich for a massive expansion of public transit and education,” said Sawant, 41.

Even in this liberal city, Sawant’s win surprised many. The incumbent, Richard Conlin, was backed by the political establishment. But bolstered by a grass-roots campaign that harped on economic inequality, Sawant toppled the 16-year incumbent.

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