Place: New York City

Stonewall and the Early Days

The “Stonewall riots,” which began on June 28, 1969 in New York, marked the start of the modern lesbian and gay rights movement.

New York City nurses threatened to strike against the Hospital Alliance—and won

But the Fight's Not Over

In late fall of 2018, nurses from five private New York City hospitals in three competing hospital systems delivered their contract proposals to management. Born from a protracted gestation of surveying democratic priorities and tracking experiences with the previous contract, . . .

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A response to an Open Letter from Professional Staff Congress leaders on “$7K or Strike!”

As members of the $7K or Strike Campaign (which includes City University of New York [CUNY] adjuncts, tenure-track/tenured faculty, HEOs, CLTs, students, and other NYC union members) we are deeply disappointed by the March 21, 2019 letter signed by PSC . . .

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New York Progressives Must Demand More

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I campaigned for governor with the slogan of “Demand More!” because Gov. Cuomo has governed as a social liberal but as an economic conservative. Although he touts the agenda he outlined in his January 15 State of the State and Budget presentation as “progressive,” New York progressives should not be satisfied. It is still a conservative economic program. Progressives must demand more.

Why New York City’s teachers should vote “no” on the proposed contract – By Dan Lupkin

ImageNote: While teachers in Los Angeles Unified School District have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, members of the largest teachers union local in the US, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in New York City, are debating a proposed contract settlement. In this guest blog, UFT activist Dan Lupkin explains why he wants the proposed contract to be voted down. We invite other opinions on this debate underway in the UFT. – Lois Weiner

The Movement-Building Potential of Socialist Electoral Victories

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On June 26th, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated, against all odds, the incumbent Congressman from New York’s 14th district, a safe Democratic seat, in the party’s primary. Spectacular as it was to see a Democratic political boss (the “King of Queens”) humbled by a left-wing challenger, the real spoils of this victory do not lie in the House seat itself.

Why I Voted Against Endorsing Cynthia Nixon

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The leadership of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) voted this past weekend by a two-thirds majority to endorse Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic Primary race for New York State governor. The decision reflected similar majorities for Nixon among the total membership of the New York City branches. An accompanying motion also passed that linked DSA’s work on the Nixon campaign to the Julia Salazar campaign in the Democratic Primary for State Senate and tied it to our organization’s support for the New York State Health Act and the a city campaign create for expanded rent stabilization.

Since the majority of my fellow New York City socialists voted to endorse Nixon, I feel obligated as a member of the City Leadership Committee  (CLC) to explain to our members why I cast my vote against, as did eleven other members of the 34-member body, while one person abstained.

The 1968 Columbia Rebellion

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— Reprinted from New Politics, vol. VI, no. 3, #23, Summer 1967 (printed June 1968)

At 4 am on April 30 [1968], my wife and I stood with tears streaming down our faces on the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 117th Street, watching the last of the Fayerweather Hall sit-ins being tossed into waiting police vans. We were not the only ones crying, nor were the tears merely those of pity or self-pity. There was also anger, frustration, and actual joy. The incredible—and inevitable—had happened; the “Big Bust” had come. Seven hundred and twenty student and faculty protesters were under arrest; more than 130 had been beaten up, some quite badly. The last illusions about what was happening were shed.

New York Taxi Drivers: Pushed To Suicide

NYC taxi drivers launch campaign to save their industry following suicides

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Over the past four months, four New York City taxi drivers have been pushed to suicide in an industry that is becoming increasingly dangerous. In response to the recent deaths, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance has launched a campaign for regulation and released its own proposal to re-establish driving as a viable occupation.

UFT shows how Not to protect unions and the public sector

ImageIn its January meeting, after a pro-forma discussion, the Delegate Assembly of the UFT (United Federation of Teachers), which still has the legal right to bargain collectively on behalf of New York City's teachers, voted down a resolution to work with community groups to support Black Lives Matter in the schools in February. LeRoy Barr, UFT's assistant secretary, co-staff director, and Chairperson of the Unity Caucus, gave the UFT leadership's rationale for rejecting the motion. Support for BLM was, he contended, a splinter issue, divisive, at a time when the union had to stay focused on what was key, the Janus decision and the threat to collective bargaining rights.

Leftist Candidate Jabari Brisport of DSA Makes Strong Showing in Brooklyn

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Jabari Brisport, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), made an extraordinarily strong showing in his first bid for the New York City Council. Running on both the Green Party and Socialist lines in Crown Heights, District 35 of Brooklyn where he grew up, Jabari won almost 30 percent of the vote, receiving 8,619 votes. He was defeated by Democrat Laurie Cumbo, who took 68 percent of the vote while the Republican Christine Parker got just 4 percent.

Jabari ran as a socialist in a diverse district with a mixed population of African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, orthodox and Hassidic Jews, upper middle class white newcomers, and young hipsters. The district has a population of 124,170, larger than many cities. The 2017 election saw one of the lowest turnouts in years. Only about 22 percent of the 5,053,842 registered voters in New York City as a whole cast ballots in the election.

Book Review

A Tale Of Many Cities: Potholes in the Road To Municipal Reform

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Juan Gonzalez. Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and The Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities.  New York: New Press, 2017.

There is no better role model for aspiring radical scribes than Juan Gonzalez. The country’s leading Latino journalist is cohost of Democracy Now!, a former columnist for the New York Daily News, and twice winner of the Polk Award for his investigative reporting. Not many veterans of campus and community struggles in the Sixties and workplace organizing in the 1970s later moved into mainstream journalism with such distinction, Gonzalez has managed to combine daily newspapering with continued dedication to the cause of labor and minority communities.

Building Resistance on Trump Island

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In Staten Island, one union local is propelling a growing labor-community alliance deep in New York’s Republican recesses.

James Baldwin, Stan Weir, and Socialism

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Raoul Peck’s powerful documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” which was nominated for an Academy Award, has brought the great writer James Baldwin (1924-1987) to a new generation of Americans who may have been unfamiliar with Baldwin’s life and writings. “I Am Not Your Negro” presented Baldwin as a powerful voice of the black liberation movement, but hardly mentioned his longtime commitment not only to full equality for black Americans, but also to socialism.

Baldwin wrote in No Name in the Street that he had been a "convinced fellow traveler" at 13 who had marched in the May Day parade and then became a "Trotskyite" by age nineteen. Too young to have been involved in Harlem’s Communist Party in the 1930s, he claimed to have been a member of the Young People’s Socialist League, but that has never been confirmed.

Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance

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The first few weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency has seen an amazing explosion of mobilizing to oppose him and his administration on oh-so-many levels.  And that has been heartening.

But it is not enough.

Fighting Trumpism: where do we go from here?

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It’s been two weeks since Donald Trump’s inauguration sparked some of the largest rallies in American history. Each week since has also seen demonstrations, culminating in those that broke out at airports across the country at the end of January to protest the president’s new Muslim ban barring travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Mass protests are in large measure a bellwether of popular sentiment. They carry an implicit threat that politicians who defy the will of the people will be voted out, but that threat must be channeled strategically, or it will dissipate.

2016 UFT election results: Some Good News, But A Great Deal Of Work Still To Do

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The good news is that the MORE/New Action slate won the seven seats on the UFT Executive Board elected by high school teachers. Furthermore, voter turnout increased across the board from roughly 18% in 2013 to roughly 24% in 2016. Finally, the absolute number of votes for the opposition increased in every division. However, still less than one-quarter of UFT members participated in this election. And the slight increase in voter turnout benefited the ruling Unity caucus at least as much as it benefited MORE/New Action.

Little Insurrections: A fond farewell to New York’s Peace Pentagon

 

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Nearly 20 years ago, as I left the War Resisters League, or WRL, offices in lower Manhattan for the first time, I noticed that my fingertips were covered in black soot and ink. My hands were full of tracts and leaflets, and I had been looking through nonviolence training materials for the last hour. I tried to rub the dirt off onto my jeans, but it wouldn’t budge and later even soap and water had to work really hard.

New York City Has the Power to Do Better than de Blasio’s Housing Plan

On Tuesday, March 22, the New York City Council is expected to pass Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing and zoning plan, which permanently ties the creation of a relatively small amount of not-that-affordable housing to the massive co-production of luxury housing.[i] It is being sold as the best we can do with the tools that we have. It is not. Instead, it puts to work the most lucrative and least effective tools available, and locks the city into repeated cycles of gentrification and displacement.

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Puerto Rico and the Fiscal Crisis

A view from the Puerto Rican diaspora

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Puerto Rico is undergoing a profound fiscal crisis.  Our country is besieged by the big interests of Wall Street’s credit agencies and vulture funds, which as they’ve done in other parts of the world, such as Spain, Greece and Argentina, only seek an uncontrolled increase in their profits.  These profits come at the cost of great sacrifices to working people, which include drastic cuts to social services that will have a special impact on education and health care.

In order to impose their inhumane demands, they use their powerful influence within government structures, in the courts and in the mass media to guarantee payment of the immoral and odious debt, with no concern for the deterioration of our quality of life and the elimination of hard-won labor rights.  They establish, de facto, a dictatorship of oligarchic and monopoly capital over the whole of society, the working class majority stripped of the financial resources needed to insure a dignified subsistence.

NYC Day of Climate Protests a Step Forward

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The last protest of the day of the New York City Climate Protests was at a Broadway theatre where Gov. Cuomo was scheduled to attend.  It was a spirited demonstration complete with a little orchestra and playful costumes focused on persuading Cuomo to veto the Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas  (LNG) plant off the coast of Long Island right near JFK airport. Opponents argue that it is very dangerous security risk, terrible for the environment, and would kill the chance for a 700-megawatt wind farm that would create 17,000 local jobs.

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