Launch Announcement

Anybody But CoJo – Launch Announcement

Anybody But CoJo

Popular will keeps getting subverted by a political lockstep that passes controversial City Council legislation that is underpinned by racism and austerity

[NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 17] ---- New York City is in a crisis. Tenants of the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, have been living in inhumane conditions. A Federal investigation and numerous Court cases have revealed that NYCHA tenants live in apartments with mold, mildew, water leaks, lead paint, and insect and rodent infestations. News reports have exposed problems with lead in drinking water. It is estimated that NYCHA faces an unfunded capital improvement deficit of $32 billion. Over and over again, Elected Officials claim that the City has no money for NYCHA. That is a lie.

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At the same time when New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea) is claiming that there is no money to fully-fund NYCHA, he has very easily found up to $11 billion to build four new jails. Reports have suggested that Council Speaker Johnson is so hell -bent on continuing the racist era of mass incarceration that he is offering lucrative taxpayer funding to Councilmembers in exchange for their votes. "In January, the state will outlaw cash bail for most people charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies and will require prosecutors to provide evidence to the defense far earlier," according to a report published by the New York Times, arguably precluding the need for any, much less such an expansive, new jail system to replace Rikers Island, once it is scheduled to close.

A convergence of racism and austerity

Some critics of the four new jails plan have demanded that the $11 billion be earmarked, instead, as part of a joint Local and State Government plan to fully-fund NYCHA. But Council Speaker Johnson and others refuse to support any new Government funding proposals, even though new tax ideas are reasonable and not punitive. Some of these tax ideas are even legislation-ready. See, e.g., the People's Budget, as proposed by the group Fight For NYCHA.

When public housing, as we know it today, was being established, it largely excluded people of color until passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Eventually, public housing not only became integrated, but the majority of tenants became people of color, a reflect ion of the historic and systemic divide in economic opportuniy, income, and wealth based on race. After the majority of public housing tenants became people of color, the Govenrment began a ssytemic divestiment of public housing, melding racism and austerity.

Now comes Council Speaker Johson, expressing a desire to continue the racist era of mass incarceration, while at the same time continuing the racist era of divestment from public housing.

The only outcome that Council Speaker Johnson appears to support is for the private sector to begin to take control of public housing, conditions that have already been exposed to lead to civil rights violations, rent increases, and higher eviction rates. The juxtaposition of Council Speaker Johnson's policiess on incarceration and housing reveals a "CoJo doctrine" of racism and austerity that we must reject. Since becoming leader of the Municipal legislature, Council Speaker Johnson has sought to continue the corporate Democratic Party agenda of neoliberalism in New York City, even in the face of rising calls for a true progressive future based on restorative economic and racial justice. For these and other reasons, to be explored in the near future, Anybody But CoJo announces its intention to oppose Council Speaker Johnson's declared 2021 candidacy in the New York City mayor's race.

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