I’m sure it’s no secret to you that our city is struggling with poverty, a housing crisis, and growing violence and bigotry. And every election season, Democrats and Republicans claim to have the solutions to these problems. But our two-party-run capitalist system got us into this mess, and the sobering truth is we can’t vote our way out of it.
As a revolutionary organization, the Freedom Socialist Party is inspired by the fight of Amazon and Starbucks workers as examples of struggles that can move things in the right direction. Workers need power — and their own organizations to help them win it. Nothing less will defeat the growing far right and save our city, country and in fact, the world, from capitalist destruction.
However, we don’t advocate abstaining from voting or elections. Every democratic lever we have as a working class was fought for and won for us to use. It is in that spirit that we encourage you to vote as one of the many ways we can organize against capitalism. Please see below for our recommendations on the ballot items this year.
When it comes to candidates, we can’t in good conscience recommend you vote for any Democrat. We wish that there were independent socialists on the ballot this year. But every candidate calling themselves a socialist is running on the Democratic ticket.
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) seek to infiltrate and push the Democrats to the left. But the Democratic Party is the oldest capitalist party in the U.S., and is adept at neutralizing threats from within. Already the DSA candidates who won seats last year on the NY City Council have seen their reform agenda dismantled. What poet Audre Lorde said is true: the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
NY Democrats run our state like every other state they control, for the benefit of the ultra-rich corporations, billionaires and developers. When socialists enter the Democratic Party, they provide left cover for the party and pull our movements down this dead end. It’s from this perspective that we urge you to leave your ballot blank next to all candidates as a protest, because neither capitalist party deserves your vote.
There is one candidate for Senate running as an Independent that we also need to warn against. Diane Sare is a candidate of the LaRouche organization, started by Lyndon LaRouche, a formerly imprisoned and now deceased far-right figure. Voters may see first her anti-war and anti-NATO platform and think she’s progressive. But a bit of digging reveals Sare’s proposals are from the LaRouche eclectic playbook that includes anti-internationalism and paranoid, anti-Semitic fear of British Intelligence Services. Not to mention praise for Trump! Keep your vote from this candidate and her fascist organization.
Proposal 1: Environmental Bond Act of 2022 – Vote NO
This proposal would allow New York State to borrow $4.2 billion through bonds for environmental projects. Of course our state desperately needs to protect the environment and mitigate climate change. But FSP’s opposition to this measure isn’t based on what it is supposed to do — but how it pays for it.
The Democrats are asking working New Yorkers to foot the bill and go into debt to shore up our cities and towns while leaving the corporations that fund their campaigns untaxed. NY State gives away 10 billion a year in business tax breaks — not including the huge tax giveaway Hochul is strong-arming to build the Buffalo Bills stadium, a deal that if it goes through would be the largest ever public subsidy for a new NFL arena.
Not to mention there already is a “rainy day” fund with billions in it that state Democrats have refused to spend, choosing instead to cut budgets. This proposal is nothing but a cynical campaign move to win votes from people who are understandably worried about climate change.
Since the 1960s the corporate tax rate has plummeted. It’s time to tax the corporations who pollute the environment to pay for the environmental protections and conservation we need.
Proposal 2: Add a Statement of Values to Guide Government – Vote YES
The 3 NYC proposals on our ballot come from a Racial Justice Commission initiated by Mayor de Blasio in response to the massive Black Lives Matter upsurge of 2020.
It’s not surprising that the same mayor who signed off on the NYPD’s brutal attacks on those demonstrators would create a commission that offered word edits to our city’s charter and not much else.
This commission heard testimony from New Yorkers giving them plenty of ideas about how to fix structural racism, including from the Campaign for an Elected Civilian Review Board that is fighting for elected and empowered oversight over the NYPD.
However, they chose to ignore hundreds of tangible proposals and instead want to add a mission statement to our city charter committing to a “just and equitable city for all.”
However insultingly limited this proposal is, it is in response to the pressure of the people, and does put something worthy in writing. We should see it as a very small victory for protestors, vote yes, and keep fighting for the actual change we need.
Proposal 3: Racial Equity Plans and Office – Vote YES
The second of the Racial Justice Commission proposals mandates that all city agencies create “racial equity plans” every two years, establishes a new Office of Racial Equity, and creates a Commission on Racial Equity.
While we are wary of more bureaucratic city agencies that uphold the status quo, these offices would arm us with information about systemic racism in our city and give people avenues to fight. We should also demand that the city appoint grassroots advocates with real experience fighting racism to sit on the commission to help them have an impact. We recommend you vote yes.
Proposal 4: True Cost of Living – Vote YES
This measure would mandate that the city use a new method to calculate the “true cost of living” in NYC, without taking into account public, private or informal assistance a person or household may receive, and based on the myriad of expenses facing residents.
It’s important to note that this measure doesn’t mandate that those who are classified as impoverished receive assistance. We need to clear the way for people to get necessary aid immediately. However, this measure may help New York State to receive a larger share of federal funds, and would help give advocates more accurate data as to the varied nature of poverty in the city. Vote yes.
No matter the results this election day, we have enough worker-created wealth to feed, house, employ and take care of everyone, and the technology to do it sustainably. What we don’t have is control over these resources.
That’s why as revolutionary socialists, we are committed to building independent, working-class power to win that control. That’s our mission on election day, and every other day of the year. We hope you will reach out and work with us.
NYC Freedom Socialist Party