There are two people who could not be more different challenging 17-year incumbent Maria Cantwell in her bid to keep her U.S. Senate seat this year. Steve Hoffman, candidate of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), is a union militant and feminist in the front ranks of opposition to the far right. His record stretches back to participation in the United Front Against Fascism, which organized successfully to stop ultra-right attempts to create an “Aryan nation” in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1980s and 1990s. Joey Gibson, running as a pro-Trump Republican, is the leader of the right-wing Patriot Prayer, which calls for a return to the spirit of “Western chauvinism” and whose rallies regularly attract neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Responding to the recent announcement of Gibson’s campaign, Hoffman said, “I am proud of hitting the streets against Joey Gibson and Patriot Prayer, because they instigate violence against working people by scapegoating immigrants and Muslims for social problems that are actually a result of the profit system. Voters should not be fooled by Gibson’s populist rhetoric.”
In June 2017 at Seattle City Hall, Hoffman was among a large, loud, determined throng protesting an anti-Muslim rally headed by Gibson. Members of ultra-right groups, including the misogynist, white nationalist Proud Boys, attacked counter-demonstrators as they left the area.
Hoffman also led efforts in his union, Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Local 304, to endorse a unified counter-protest organized to respond to a Gibson rally on August 13 at Westlake Park. Hoffman was the keynote speaker at a rally at Denny Park held before the crowd of thousands marched toward Westlake to confront Patriot Prayer and the fascist groups who accompany them. Seattle police blocked the mass of protesters from reaching Westlake.
In September, Hoffman was key to passage of a resolution by statewide WFSE that called for joining with others to “stop attacks on immigrants, Muslims and Jews, refugees, people of color, women, activists, LGBTQIA+, the poor, and labor.” And at the January 2018 Seattle Women’s March, newly announced candidate Hoffman was part of a group that successfully challenged Patriot Prayer members attempting to disrupt the rally with anti-abortion signs and sexist shouts at participants.
“Joey Gibson hides behind the guise of Christian patriotism and claims he stands for love. But then why is he a magnet for far-right militia groups like the Proud Boys, who advocate violence against organizations and individuals who promote racial, sexual, religious and gender equality?” questioned Hoffman.
“My message at Denny Park was simple — an injury to one is an injury to all,” he added. “When the far right attacks one of us, we know that they will be coming after all of us — unionists, socialists, anyone who opposes their bigoted and anti-working class agenda.”
“So my campaign is about achieving strength through solidarity,” the FSP candidate concluded. “I’m using my experience as a union activist and socialist to help build a movement that unites working people rather than dividing us, so that we can fight for the things we need and deserve — like universal healthcare, a great public education, living wages, jobs and housing for all, and an end to U.S. wars and occupations.”
Hoffman is a union shop steward, a representative for his union to the Martin Luther King County Labor Council, and a member of FSP’s elected national leadership. His endorsers include WFSE Local 304, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity, and Radical Women. To learn more about his campaign, visit facebook.com/Advocates4Hoffman/ or call 206-722-2453 to schedule an interview.