Fighting for Survival

"And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed." -John Steinbeck

Increasingly throughout this city is a growing army of middle and lower-income communities, building unity to fight the oppressors of capitalism. Last night I attended a meeting in Sunset Park, where residents are opposing Councilman Carlos Menchaca's decision to accept a rezoning plan, with conditions. Jamestown Properties, the owner of Industry City, has filed a rezoning plan. And under that plan, IC is requesting an additional holding of land, increasing its share of property to1.3 million square feet of new commercial and industrial space. Although, Menchaca has rebuked earlier plans indicating he would not approve the two hotels IC wanted to build. Nor would he accept the expanded high retail stores on the property. Instead, he is negotiating to get goodies from the developer, thinking it will serve the community. 

The councilman wants a technical high school built on the property; he also wants IC to kick in money to allow residents to organize. These and other items would be part of a Community Benefits Agreement. The residents of Sunset Park are aware that these agreements can not be enforced and reject the plan. The community knows that IC is a profit-making business, and their only goal is to make money for its stockholders. In the past, Jamestown Properties has gotten rezoning approvals from other deals and then shortly after sold the properties at much higher rates. The Google purchase last year in Soho is one example.

Sunset Park is primarily an immigrant community made up of Hispanic and Asian residents, and these are the people most affected by a rezoning. So last night, the people began their plan to stop this rezoning. Groups from all over the city joined to help Sunset Park to build its case against the rezoning. One participant from the audience, a former community board member that has a reputation for disrupting meetings, stood up in resistance to outside groups telling their stories of rezoning in their community. He claimed it to be propaganda. Those hosting the event suggested that that the person could leave if he did not approve of the agenda, and he did with some theatrics. 

Communities need to seek the help of other groups and grow this fight that is changing the makeup of New York City. Pastor Sam Cruz, the pastor of the Lutheran church on 4th avenue, where the meeting was held, spoke passionately about the morality of the rezoning plan. How is it that the Chairman of the City Council's Immigration Committee is caught in this struggle when 72% of the community are immigrants? We must all stand up to these capitalists that are destroying our city. 

This plan must be shot down, and the only solution is for Councilman Menchaca to vote no for this rezoning. No rezoning, no compromise!  

Listen to a trailer of our new show, Survival in a Capitalist City:







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