Because protests have not worked, the last few members of Fight For NYCHA have sued Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City), the City of New York, NYCHA CEO Greg Russ, and NYCHA to stop the RAD/PACT privatisation of public housing !
It’s been almost three years since Fight For NYCHA was formed. In that time, the activism to save public housing in New York City has been beset by division, sectarian politics, ego, obfuscation, and subversion. We had AOC refuse to stand-up to Mayor de Blasio’s use of RAD/PACT and the Blueprint to sell-out NYCHA. We had other Electeds approve of the sell-out of public housing, and they never faced any consequence for having participated in the sell-out of public housing. We had socialists and other sectarian groups promote the use of Section 8 vouchers to the disadvantage of public housing residents, which was shameful and a form of betrayal, because that was certainly no way to show class solidarity. Rather than confront Mayor de Blasio, some activists formed YouTube talk shows to promote themselves. Other groups, like Movement School, sought to use NYCHA activism as a cover for membership drives that was entirely divorced from a commitment to an outcome to saving Section 9 public housing. We also endured selfish political candidates, seeking to use NYCHA issues for their political campaigns, only to turn their backs once their campaigns floundered. Other political candidates, like Marni Halasa, used NYCHA activism for press clips ; it didn’t matter that she was leading/misleading residents in the wrong direction. All that mattered were her media mentions.
The lawsuit we filed was largely based on the lawsuit filed by Beep Gale Bewer (D-Manhattan) to stop the infill development at Holmes Tower, which she won after Mayor de Blasio backtracked from the unlawful plans for the real estate development in the Upper East Side.
We had no choice but to file this lawsuit after activism to mobilise public housing residents failed in New York City due to many “community groups” and nonprofit orgs running interference for Mayor de Blasio and other corrupt Electeds. Remember how one nonprofit hosted Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) at a Black church in Brooklyn after it came to be known he supported the sell-out of public housing in Chelsea. Even after we exposed the truth of how some Socialist Democrats were collaborating with Mayor de Blasio in his scheme to end all Section 9 public housing, it came to a shock to many that it took direct action in the face of the DSA to put a halt to the Blueprint.
The lawsuit, filed as an Article 78 Petition, revealed that Mayor de Blasio’s implementation of RAD/PACT was illegal, since the way that Mayor de Blasio is rolling-out RAD/PACT conversions violate the City Charter and the New York State Public Housing Law. The City Charter and the Public Housing Law require large-scale projects, like RAD/PACT conversions, to be put through the ULURP Process. But Mayor de Blasio, NYCHA, CEO Russ, and the City of New York did not follow the laws. In respect of the RAD/PACT conversion of Fulton Houses and Elliott-Chelsea, the lawsuit made a showing that the de Blasio administration admitted that they decided to act outside of the ULURP Process.
As time passed, we knew that litigation, like this, would be our last resort, if social movement building failed in the face of sectarian opposition. We ask for support, as we make it clear that all other groups must set aside self-interest and self-promotion for the common good of all. And that means seeing to it that Section 9 public housing is saved from privatisation. This must be made a priority, at long last.