JOINT ACTION: Tech Action, Immigrant Justice, Queens Housing Working Groups, Debt and Finance
On July 25, The Tech Action, Immigrant Justice, and Queens Housing Working Groups held a mass demonstration against Amazon. Joined by Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, Jews for Economic and Racial Justice, Tech Workers Coalition, Mijente, CAAAV, DRUM, and other organizations, the demonstration was attended by over 500 people, making it one of the largest demonstrations against Amazon in US history.
The demonstration occurred during the annual Amazon Web services summit, with the goal to raise awareness of and generate outrage over Amazon’s deep connections to the immigration crisis, and reassert that Amazon is not welcome in New York City.
Demonstrators blocked traffic, handed out informational flyers to conference attendees, and intermittently interrupted the keynote speaker by playing recordings of detained immigrant children.
Within 24 hours, the demonstration was covered in over 20 press articles. Less than 10 hours after the action, more than 500 Amazon employees republished an open letter to Amazon about it’s partnership with ICE.
The coalition is now drafting an open letter or op-ed to Amazon Web Services CTO Werner Vogels outlining demands and continuing media momentum. They are also assessing ways to move forward and which areas of New York City’s relationship with Amazon to focus on.
Brooklyn Housing Working Group
The Brooklyn Housing Working Group is collaborating with comrades from other local housing working groups to identify a future campaign, as the Universal Rent Control campaign has entered a different stage.
As part of the Steering Committee of the Housing Justice for All campaign, a project of the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance, the Brooklyn Housing attended a coalition retreat with the Nassau County and Mid Hudson DSA chapters following the Universal Rent Control campaign. At the retreat, the committee affirmed the need to fight for revenue for public housing, an end to homelessness, and for good cause eviction in 2020. The working group is now helping determine what DSA's role will be within the coalition moving forward.
The housing group is also collaborating with the Debt & Finance Debt & Finance and Ecosocialist working groups to examine intersections between housing and the campaign for a Public Bank and the Green New Deal.
If you'd like to participate in this campaign identification process, email email@example.com or go to your local Housing Working Group meeting. The next Brooklyn Housing Group meeting will be held on August 5th, Location TBD.
In late July, the Ecosocialist Working Group held a town hall in Astoria, Queens where DSA members, alongside community members and partner organizations, spoke out to demand an end to Con Edison’s proposed rate hike and for public, democratic ownership of our energy system, powered by renewables. The event opened with an overview of the rate hike, private utilities, and their role in the climate crisis, ending with testimony from activists and community members in attendance.
The working group spent weeks preparing for the town hall by canvassing across Queens, flyering in Manhattan at the site of the blackout, lobbying electeds to adopt more aggressive climate legislation which includes public ownership, and publishing editorials to help build the campaign (available here and here.)
The town hall coincided with a wave of blackouts this month that left hundreds of thousands without power across all five boroughs. In response to outrage among residents, several elected have joined the call for public ownership of our energy system, with Mayor Bill De Blasio even hinting support. State lawmakers announced hearings on Con Ed that will likely be held next month.
The Ecosocialist Working Group is escalating this campaign and coordinating next steps. On Monday, August 5, from 6–8pm there will be Emergency Research Meeting at the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, Central Branch (10 Grand Army Plaza) to continue researching paths toward a public takeover of our energy system.
In early September, the working group will be coordinating an Ecosocialist organizing training to focus on bringing more members into the climate struggle by teaching members how to speak about and organize around climate and the energy system.
Finally, the working group will be going to Brooklyn to speak to residents where Con Ed purposefully cut power in low-income neighborhoods, leaving them stranded during the heatwave. Dates to be determined.
The next Ecosocialist meeting will be Tuesday, August 6 at the LGBT Center in Manhattan (208 West 13th Street, Manhattan) from 7–9pm.
If you’re interested in helping with any of the above or being added to the Ecosocialist Working Group mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Red Letter.”
Immigrant Justice Working Group
Congrats to Robert Espinosa, Cody Carlson, Dan La Botz, Britt Stern, and Dinah Foley, the newly elected members of the Immigrant Justice Working Group Organizing Committee!
At the end of July, the working group voted to endorse an action with the Close the Camps Coalition on August 10th in Manhattan. While the details are still being developed, the action will target ICE and the detention/deportation system. People interested can sign up for a non-violent direct action training with the coalition here.
The Ice Out-of-the-Courts campaign is gearing up for the next legislative session to pass the Protect Our Courts Act by re-energizing and building a base of activists. In the meantime, a 4,000-signature petition was delivered to Janet DiFiore urging the Chief Judge to set policy protecting undocumented immigrants at courthouses.
Immigrant Justice is hosting a 2-hour long Know Your Rights training by the Immigrant Defense Project, which will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 on Tuesday, August 6th at the Sixth Street Community Center. The event will be geared towards English and Spanish speakers with translation services provided. More information can be found here.
The next working group meeting will be held on August 12th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Verso books at 20 Jay Street in Brooklyn. Contact email@example.com for more information.