Fight For NYCHA’s protest march accuses LGBTQ electeds of pinkwashing racism and austerity

LGBTQ politicians came to power based on their experience of discrimination, but they have done nothing to end discrimination for all oppressed people.

Austerity leads to racism

There is a convergence in the betrayal of public housing with the Coronavirus pandemic. Hospital closings led to disparities in healthcare outcomes, as we have seen during the Coronavirus outbreak. The refrigerator trucks are a sign that austerity leads to racism. Now, NYCHA residents are being used as guinea pigs for testing and contact tracing in order for politicians to dangerously fast-track the reopening of the economy.

Fight For NYCHA targeting some politicians, who claim to experience oppression, but who have done nothing to end racism or austerity. We visited the apartment houses of : Christine Quinn, Corey Johnson, Deborah Glick, and Brad Hoylman — each of whom had a role in the closing and luxury condo conversion of the old St. Vincent’s Hospital. They thought nothing of taking away a safety net hospital from us, and they have done nothing to fight austerity or racism, as evidenced by how public housing has been neglected on their watch — and in their own district.

Contact Tracing poses risks to NYCHA tenants. Fight For NYCHA demands HRA Rent Vouchers for All.

The political and media fallout : “Willful ignorance,” silence, and distraction

Quinn, Johnson, and Glick chose to ignore our protest, with Quinn’s doorman videotaping our protest outside her million-dollar luxury condo. Quinn gets paid $500,000 a year as the ringleader of a poverty nonprofit that skims money off of homeless shelters. A kind of a new age, “transformational” Madame Thénardier.

For his part, Hoylman addressed Albany red tape on hospital closes but refused to address the pinkwashing by the LGBTQ White CIS power establishment of racism. But we made him nervous, and he took to Twitter that very same night and, for the first time in his career, tweeted the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

Pinkwashing means that the LGBTQ politicians in Chelsea and the West Village have exploited their experience of discrimination for political power without uplifting POC.

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Join us on May 30 for a March Against Racism and Austerity from Chelsea to Greenwich Village

Poverty is barbarity !

Our march route has been finalised !

We are visiting the apartment houses of politicians, who had a role in the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital, a situation that has wrecked the healthcare outcomes of low-income communities and POC. We are demanding that politicians stop #PinkWashing racism and austerity ! Join us as we protest :

  • Christine Quinn, former City Council Speaker ;
  • Corey Johnson, current City Council Speaker ;
  • Deborah Glick, Assemblymember ; and
  • Brad Hoylman, State Senator.

They enabled gentrification of New York City and never championed the full-funding of NYCHA. These politicians claim to know oppression. But what have they done to end racism and austerity ?

None of these politicians said one word to stand up against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s dangerous scheme to sell-out NYCHA to RAD landlords. It’s time that politicians, who claim that they are allies of POC, start acting as allies.

Please join us :

When : Sat., May 30, at 1 pm
Where : Meet at 9th Ave. and West 27th Street
RSVP : March Against Racism and Austerity [Facebook]

Stop ”pinkwashing” racism and austerity !

An LGBTQ activist is taking the lead in the planning of this protest march, so this is not an attack on identity, but, rather, criticism on how politicians have used the experience of oppression for personal political gain — only to countenance the oppression of others.

Watch our Facebook Live

Please start watching at about 5 minutes in, due to technical issues.

NYU student newspaper publishes editorial critical of RAD, finding that the privatisation of public housing has been “proven to be a disaster for tenants in other states”

“NYCHA residents continue to be put in dangerous conditions.”

“As the city tries to put public housing in the hands of private landlords, the actual tenants amount to no more than an afterthought, even as they are being forced into unsafe conditions.”

NYU student newspaper published a courageous editorial by Asha Ramachandran in which she expressed criticism of RAD, finding that the privatisation of public housing has been “proven to be a disaster for tenants in other states.” Even though New York City faces a housing crisis, “only 3.7% of New York City’s $95 billion budget is allotted for housing.”

Excerpt :

What NYCHA desperately needs is billions of dollars in funding in the state budget specifically devoted to fixing public housing units and giving residents the protections that are long overdue. Organizations like Fight For NYCHA and The Legal Aid Society have organized and represented NYCHA tenants in court and enlisted city council members, and have held demonstrations and town halls trying to achieve this.

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Daily News publishes editorial by Fight For NYCHA member

The caption to this photograph in the New York Daily News called Mayor Bill de Blasio a “Sellout” on NYCHA.

Bill de Blasio : Sellout on NYCHA ?
Bill de Blasio was called a "Sellout" on NYCHA by the Editorial Page of the New York Daily News.

RAD is a raw deal for NYCHA that we must refuse

The New York Daily News published a guest editorial by a Fight For NYCHA member, making a strong case why New Yorkers must reject plans by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) to expand on his use of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration programme that will put public housing into a nightmarish “public-private partnership.”

The editorial was notable for exposing the dangers of RAD, for revealing that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman put NYCHA residents at risk for losing Federal monitorship once their public housing apartment complexes undergo RAD conversion, and the need to stop RAD so that other leaders, such as U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07), can fight for the full-funding of NYCHA.

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Brad Hoylman, enemy of the people, was improbably the “front face” of the NYCHA protest up in Albany

Brad Hoylman was up in Albany, with public housing residents as a backdrop, so he could say he was not in New York City for the public housing bloodbath.

Yesterday, the seemingly “front face” of the NYCHA protesters, who were bused up to Albany by a syndicate of nonprofit groups, was none other than State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea), the former General Counsel to the Partnership for New York City, itself a syndicate of corporate interests, which rivals the Real Estate Board of New York in subverting Government for big money donors in New York.

State Sen. Hoylman has been deceiving tenants into believing he’s on their side, when in reality he has never stopped working for the corrupt interests of Big Business. Last year, he folded all support for the pied-à-terre tax on non-primary residences with a market value of $5 million or more as soon as, you guessed it, REBNY’s lobbyists began to mount serious pressure against the tax. State Sen. Hoylman will never stand up to Big Business.

This year, Big Business interests are pressuring Mayor Bill de Blasio to end public housing as we know it, including in State Sen. Hoylman’s own district. And State Sen. Hoylman has not once denounced the mayor or the mayor’s plans. Like last year, Fight For NYCHA reasonably expect State Sen. Hoylman to put on a big show about how much he supports public causes, and then he will fold at the very last minute, like he always does.

This is a repeat of 2010, when State Sen. Hoylman, at that time then as chair of Manhattan Community Board 2, claimed that he supported saving St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, but then turned his back on the community when Partnership for New York City director (at that time then) Willaim Rudin began to call in mortgage notes from the public charity hospital, setting off a chain of events that led to the hospital’s bankruptcy and liquidation at pennies on the dollar.

Is it no coïncidence that, finally, on the same day when Mayor Bill de Blasio moves word of his rapid expansion of RAD conversions in Brooklyn and Manhattan, it would take place as State Sen. Hoylman was leading this charade up in Albany ?

It’s like that famous scene in the Godfather (1972) movie, when the main character Michael Corleone attended the baptism of Connie’s baby. As Michael was being made the godfather of the baby in a church service, his henchmen carried out assassinations so Corleone could seize power. Up in Albany, there was State Sen. Hoylman at the metaphorical alter. Meanwhilst, down in New York City, Mayor de Blasio, who, as REBNY’s henchman, was earnestly carrying out the hits on public housing.

Updated People’s Budget passes at Fight For NYCHA town hall ; speakers included Michael Sussman, Lindsey Boylan, and Howie Hawkins

Lindsey Boylan, Howie Hawkins, and Michael Sussman

The People’s Budget was updated without any objection ; over $440 billion in readily-available funding, three ideas of which are legislation-ready ; monies can fully-fund public housing and new Government policy on justice and dignity.

Approx. 50 people attended the Fight For NYCHA town hall meeting at P.S. 33 on Wed., Feb. 5. At the meeting, participants heard a legal analysis of the plans by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) to continue to spread gentrification across the City. Civil rights attorney Michael Sussman addressed the audience by describing, in essence, what helped him win a lawsuit to overturn the unlawful rezoning of the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan.

The town hall meeting was called so that New York City Housing Authority residents could weigh in on a proposal to update the People’s Budget with two line-items. The People’s Budget is a package of ideas to increase taxes on the wealthy and on corporations in order to fund new Government policy on housing, justice, and dignity for all New Yorkers. The two line items that were added were the estimated $19 billion cost for constructing Sunnyside Yards and H.R. 4546 – Public Housing Emergency Response Act, draft legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) that would provide $70 billion to fund capital repairs for public housing nationwide, of which $32 billion would be directed to NYCHA.

Speakers at the town hall meeting included Lindsey Boylan, a Congressional candidate for New York’s 10th Congressional District, and Howie Hawkins, the Green Party presidential primary candidate.

Attorney Michael Sussman said that the de Blasio administration cannot do whatever it wants to public housing. The impact of those decisions must be studied before they can be carried-out.

Michael Sussman
Famed civil rights attorney Michael Sussman addressed the Fight For NYCHA town hall meeting.

Lindsey Boylan is running for office to challenge the incumbent Congressional Representative, who has failed to show leadership to save public housing in New York’s 10th Congressional District.

Lindsey Boylan
Congressional candidate Lindsey Boylan addressed the Fight For NYCHA town hall meeting.

Green Party presidential primary candidate Howie Hawkins said that taxes must be increased on the wealthy to fully-fund public housing across the United States.

Howie Hawkins
Green Party presidential primary candidate Howie Hawkins addressed the Fight For NYCHA town hall meeting.

The Fight For NYCHA complaint filed in Federal Court was thrown out.

The town hall began with a brief update, explaining that the Complaint filed in U.S. District Court for New York’s southern district, was dismissed by the establishment chief judge, the Hon. Justice Colleen McMahon.

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Source Documents

Next Fight For NYCHA Town Hall : Wednesday, Feb. 5 at P.S. 33

Important meeting of public housing residents in Chelsea.

The NYCHA preservation group, Fight For NYCHA, is holding its next town hall gathering to provide important updates.

The preliminary agenda has been released :

1/. Update about our lawsuit ;

2/. Update about the People’s Budget ; and

3/.  Legislation to provide funding to NYCHA.

A very special guest will address the town hall.

Date : Wed., Feb. 5, 2020

Time : 6:30 pm

Place : P.S. 33, Chelsea

R.S.V.P. : Fight For NYCHA Town Hall [Facebook]

Bill de Blasio agrees to meeting with Fight For NYCHA, Fulton tenants, and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez

de Blasio agrees to meet with Fight For NYCHA

Bill de Blasio was confronted with two options to fully-fund NYCHA : (i). The People’s Budget, and (ii). the Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R.4546)

At Mayor Bill de Blasio’s disastrous NYCHA town hall in Chelsea on Thursday, 19 déc 2019, the Mayor was confronted with two options to fully-fund NYCHA : (i) the People’s Budget that proposes new taxes on the rich to fund new Government policy on housing, justice, and dignity for all New Yorkers, and (ii). U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s bill, the Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R.4546).

Fight For NYCHA have reached out to the office of U.S. Rep. Velázquez to schedule a meeting with Mayor de Blasio.

Read the People’s Budget

Protest outside AOC Woodside town hall

Demand AOC support NYCHA funding this year !

Join us to demand that AOC issue a statement calling for the full-funding of the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, in the next budget cycle. Her green “New Deal” bill for public housing may take years to pass, if it ever comes up for a vote, leaving NYCHA residents vulnerable to heat outages and privatisation now under way.

Date : Saturday, 14 Dec. 2019
Time : 3:30 pm
Place : I.S. 125Q, 46-02 47th Ave, Woodside, Queens
RSVP : Demand AOC support NYCHA funding this year ! [Facebook]

AOC threw NYCHA tenants under the bus. The Movement School is implicated. Now comes the Movement School, claiming they can organise NYCHA.

The failure to introduce a Federal budget resolution requesting $32 billion for NYCHA represents both a lack of moral clarity, and a policy failure.

During her campaign for Congress, and after her election, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14) portrayed herself as the antidote to corporate Democrats, who had gone tone-deaf to the suffering of average people. For decades, New Yorkers had been enduring horrifying Government policies set by neoliberalism and austerity. By running for office with help from the Democratic Socialists of America, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez invoked her subscription to socialist ideology as a primary qualification for public office. Her campaign win was credited to Justice Democrats, a new political committee. Veterans of her campaign reportedly formed an outreach and get-out-the-vote arm of Justice Democrats, known as Movement School. That outreach arm is now engaged in dishonestly organising public housing tenants after U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turned down a request in March to sponsor a budget resolution to fully-fund the local public housing authority.

Early in 2019, members of Fight For NYCHA approached U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office with an opportunity for her to show leadership on the need to fully-fund the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, as the local public housing authority is known. Members of Fight For NYCHA had e-mail exchanges and several calls with staff, as well as in-office meeting with staff and with U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez herself. At first, Fight For NYCHA was requesting that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sponsor a budget resolution for the 2019-2020 Federal Budget in the full amount of NYCHA’s capital budget deficit, estimated to be $32 billion. Members of Fight For NYCHA described the Government’s divestment and neglect of public housing, and members of Fight For NYCHA noted that, as a result, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) was proposing to privatise public housing. Despite the dangerous conditions facing public housing tenants, the office of U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turned down the funding request. After that request was turned down, members of Fight For NYCHA requested that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sponsor a budget resolution for only half the amount, and Fight For NYCHA members said that they would organise NYCHA tenants and request the remainder of the funding from City and State Governments. But that second request was also turned down.

On top of feeling betrayed by AOC, as the U.S. Representative is known, members of Fight For NYCHA sensed that AOC’s own political apparatus was going to take advantage of public housing tenants, who had been left unfunded by the socialist political superstar. The telephone discussions about the funding requests took place with Randy Abreu, an AOC Congressional staffer, who was a co-founder of Movement School. What members of Fight For NYCHA found troubling was that, on two occasions, Abreu said that, in the wake of U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turning down the funding requests, Movement School would organise NYCHA public housing tenants. After AOC consulted with her staff on the budget resolution request, and after they made a decision to turn down the budget resolution request, Movement School was going to use the decision of their own making (the refusal to sponsor a budget resolution to fully-fund NYCHA) as a pretext to do outreach and recruiting for Justice Democrats.

Does Movement School have to lie to NYCHA tenants before Movement School can gain their trust ?

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14) has turned her back on NYCHA.

Before negotiations began with the co-founder of Movement School, AOC’s senior counsel, Dan Riffle, announced that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was co-sponsoring emergency funding for NYCHA that never materialised. Riffle next promised that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office would never support any plan that would “privatize NYCHA.” Since AOC would later refuse to denounce the mayor’s privatisation plan for NYCHA, she would betray her promise to oppose any privatisation of NYCHA.

These discussions took place in March. One month later, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan that would include the first-of-its-kind demolition of public housing and the scaling up of the use of a controversial programme known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD. Under RAD, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development approves the transfer of management of public housing developments to private landlords. As Fight For NYCHA has argued, RAD leads to rent hikes, increased allegations of tenant harassment and discrimination, and higher eviction rates. With 90 per cent. of NYCHA tenants being people of colour, these changes to public housing policies would disproportionately affect people based on race. Under the disparate-impact rule of the Fair Housing Act, any housing policy that leads to a disparate-impact based on race is discriminatory and, as a consequence, unlawful. Despite this unlawfulness, nobody with Movement School, not even Abreu, who was a co-founder, saw anything wrong with the decision by U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office to refuse to sponsor a budget resolution for NYCHA funding, because their decision to keep NYCHA defunded left a fiscal vacuum seized by Mayor de Blasio as the reason to demolish and privatise public housing.

Months after declining to sponsor a NYCHA budget resolution in Congress, AOC refuses to denounce RAD.

Five months after public housing funding discussions broke down between Fight For NYCHA and U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office, AOC spearheaded a Bronx townhall dedicated to NYCHA. AOC’s staff went through the motions of inviting Fight For NYCHA members, but members would only be tolerated as guests, and would not be given any dedicated speaking time. Under such conditions, members of Fight For NYCHA refused to attend, fearing that attendance would only be used to validate unknown policy positions.

True to those concerns, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez refused to address at her NYCHA townhall whether she supported Mayor de Blasio’s embrace of RAD to privatize NYCHA public housing, according to a tweet posted by a reporter for the New York Times.

U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to denounce RAD was seen by many as an abdication of leadership, at best, or complicity with the privatisation of NYCHA public housing, at worst.

AOC’s refusal to provide crucial, early support to the idea that NYCHA needed to be fully-funded represented a betrayal of her socialist ideology. Because NYCHA public housing is social housing, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to support the full-funding of social housing meant that the private sector would begin to transform both the rent paid by public housing tenants and the value of strategic public assets into sources of profit for certain participants of the real estate industry. It is not known if that was the transformation AOC sought to bring about whilst in office.

AOC and Movement School turn blind eyes to repeated press reports, alleging corruption of Mayor de Blasio’s housing policies, including the disposition of public housing assets.

Relentless press reports make showings that Mayor de Blasio’s housing policies have been allegedly encumbered by conflicts of interest, appearances of pay-to-play corruption, and favours to campaign donors. In response, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Movement School have remained mum. Their silence in the face of questionable changes in City housing policy and the possible disposition of public housing assets casts doubt on their judgment and intentions, particularly in respect of NYCHA’s future.

NYCHA tenants are living in uninhabitable conditions — with lead paint that is poisoning, and impeding the development of, children ; toxic mold and mildew ; broken elevators ; heat and hot water outages ; and other building or code violations — and the only solution is the provision of full-funding to make the capital repairs to public housing to restore humane living conditions to NYCHA tenants.

What is true that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign overlapped with Movement School, and that one of her policy advisors in New York was a co-founder of Movement School, and that policy advisor relayed the decision not to support a budget resolution seeking to fully-fund NYCHA this Fiscal Year before announcing that Movement School would, in that vacuum, organise public housing tenants. It is clear that, in dealing with AOC, one is facing an intertwined campaign-Congressional office-outreach arm of Justice Democrats apparatus. How can NYCHA tenants trust this apparatus to organise public housing tenants in New York when, in their judgement, there was nothing wrong in throwing NYCHA tenants under the bus ?

When Movement School recruits NYCHA tenants as outreach for Justice Democratis, it is not known if Movement School admits to the truth about how it was involved in AOC’s decision to turn down the funding request for NYCHA, or if Movement School has to lie about its role.