This election, all City Council positions are open and there are two state-wide proposals on the ballot. Yet once again, it’s more notable what we aren’t given the option of voting on than what we are.
- Rising rents, homelessness, crumbling infrastructure, and lack of effective social services all could easily be remedied by taxing the billionaires who use our city as their playground, but calls for tax reform have been blocked.
- The death trap at Rikers Island remains open despite broad support for its closure.
- The NYPD continues to attack protest movements and oppress Black and Brown communities with unceasing violence. But Democrats led by Mayor Eric Adams and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams block real police reform measures like the Community POWER Act.
Rather than providing a means for city residents to have a direct say in tackling such critical problems, the ballot instead presents only two items about small town debt and sewage facility funding. Despite their limited scope, we take all ballot issues seriously and have researched these measures. Read our take on them below.
Regarding City Council positions, there are no unapologetically socialist, independent candidates on the ballot, and therefore no one we can recommend voting for. The rightwing is getting bolder, with immigrant-bashing, gun-wielding Republicans attempting to intimidate protesters. Many of the Republican candidates are also claiming endorsements by Medical Freedom or the Parent Party. These reactionary groups have usurped slogans for bodily autonomy and protecting children to mask their real agendas as anti-vaxxers and opponents of public school curricula.
Democrats, meanwhile, are providing little pushback against the injustices of the system. Liberals, including Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members who run as Democrats, are doing little to rock the boat. They are, for example, refusing to get behind defying the City Council Speaker to bring the Community POWER Act to a vote.
No matter their campaign promises, politicians of both parties of capitalism are in power to keep the status quo going. And that means preserving the power of corporations, the rich, and the cops that protect them. Left-leaning democrats campaign on progressive reforms, but end up providing cover for their party and obscuring this essential truth.
Though we have no candidate endorsements this year, we in the FSP will continue to organize and push our movements to break with the Democrats and run independent, socialist candidates that tell the truth about the system and help build strong movements from below to change it. One such effort is the campaign to pass the Community POWER Act. Earlier this month, we joined organizations, family members and community activists to stage a powerful People’s Hearing and protest inside City Hall and continue the fight.
In this time of war and crisis, we are buoyed by mass upsurges taking place across the globe and by the successful recent strikes fought and won by the working class. We also look to all the inspiring leadership within the working class, of women, people of color, LGTBQ fighters, immigrants and others who have the least to lose and the most to gain in fighting for a better world.
We hope that you will continue to join us in fighting the good fight, and will reach out to work together. If you have feedback on any of the issues raised in this letter–or would like to discuss other political concerns–please contact us by calling 212-222-0633 or by email at NYCFSP@gmail.com.
You are also welcome to drop by Freedom Hall (113 W. 128 St. in Harlem) during our public hours Monday and Wednesday, 12 noon to 6pm. Check out our website–socialism.com–for upcoming events, articles about workingclass battles around the world, political analysis, our 10-point program, and educational resources.
Freedom Socialist Party
NEW YORK STATE BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS:
Proposal 1: Changing the debt limit for small-city schools – No position
Proposal 1 allows small-city school districts to borrow more money to update school buildings and make other repairs. Right now, small school districts can borrow amounts equal to 5% of the total value of taxable property in their city. That’s half the debt limit of most school districts in New York state, which can borrow up to 10%. This ballot question would raise small districts’ borrowing restriction to match other school districts.
The real issue is that in a state as rich as ours, there is no excuse for cities being forced into debt merely to fund decent public schools. It’s criminal that the super rich and corporations are left untaxed while our school systems are perpetually underfunded, driving children into privatized charter schools.
Because this measure merely makes a system of unjust debt equitable, we can’t endorse it as a positive change. However, as it could possibly help smaller school districts get by, we’re not opposing it. Vote as you think best, or leave it blank.
Proposal 2: Extending an exception for sewage facility projects – No position
Proposal 2 is similar to proposal 1 in that it allows small towns to take on more debt, in this case to fund sewage facilities.
We aren’t opposing this one either, as it’s obviously important to fund sewage facilities and ensure a safe and clean environment. As the recent flooding in NYC has proven, our sewer infrastructure is sorely outdated and neglected. All this while skyscrapers and uber rich vanity projects like Hudson Yards get tax breaks. But once again, we’re not offered a vote for meaningful solutions, such as taxing the wealthy and corporations to fund infrastructure and vital public services. The working class needs to have true decision-making power for just, equitable allocation of public resources–and this year’s ballot propositions don’t do it.