Donate to Our Neighborhood Defense Fund to Defeat Amazon

Help fund the fight against AmazonHQ2.

Click here to contribute.

As many of you know, residents of Queens and across the city have been mobilizing to fight back against AmazonHQ2. Community meetings, protests, and direct actions are taking place. We’ve also seen the formation of multiple coalitions. The politicians want us to think the its a done deal, but many are saying there’s still a long fight ahead.

Protestors with Fuck Off Amazon outside BIll de Blasio's town-hall at CUNY Hunter
Protestors with Fuck Off Amazon outside BIll de Blasio’s town-hall at CUNY Hunter College calling to “shut it down”, in opposition to the CUNY Board of Trustee’s endorsement of AmazonHQ2, de Blasio’s positions, and in solidarity with CUNY Struggle’s demand for 7k for adjunct courses or strike #7korstrike

Together we can do this, but a lot stands in the way. Connect with us to help organize and please donate what you can.

Stay tuned for upcoming event announcements.

Fuck Off Amazon – No AmazonHQ2 Principles of Engagement & Statement

No AmazonHQ2 Principles and Statement  – 12/12/2018

No AmazonHQ2 Principles of Engagement & Statement:

The fight against Amazon has just begun, but already we are seeing official and informal alliances forming – some look promising, but others are weighed down by electoral and large non-profit interests. We understand that the many groups fighting Amazon will not always be in close coordination, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, we do feel that there is a need to clearly delineate between a concessionary, non-oppositional stance and a principled opposition against Amazon.  Moreover, we want to establish a set of agreed upon principles for all of us to help ensure that this moment is not co-opted or weakened, and to strengthen each other. Therefore, we propose the following Principles and Positions Statement:

Principles of Engagement:

  1. We will not meet or communicate with Amazon or any of its representatives.
  2. We will not meet or communicate with any politicians who have previously endorsed AmazonHQ2 or have connections to the Real Estate industry. This includes every politician who signed the statement, dated October 16, 2017, endorsing AmazonHQ2.
  3. We will oppose AmazonHQ2 in its entirety–with or without public subsidies–and reject any discussion about concessions or negotiation.
  4. We respect the diversity of tactics used in the fight against AmazonHQ2.

Positions Statement:

Amazon is not welcome in New York City, and our language must reflect this.  We are opposed to AmazonHQ2 in all its forms, whether or not they receive a subsidy or promise us jobs & infrastructure.  Known worldwide for its labor violations, Amazon is a hyper-exploitative corporation, actively contributing to the gap between the rich and working class.  The corporate behemoth is facing anti-trust complaints in multiple countries. Amazon has a history of collaboration with law enforcement agencies and federal agencies such as ICE as it pushes its facial recognition technology, contributing to an expanding authoritarian police and surveillance state.

New York City is in the middle of a housing and homelessness crisis that worsens every year.  Rents are skyrocketing, neighborhoods are gentrifying, housing court lines are getting longer, and NYCHA (public housing) is in complete disrepair.  Instead of addressing this crisis through public investment in underserved, working class, and immigrant communities, the City has maintained a policy of hastening displacement through its devastating zoning policies, specifically the deceptively named Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program (MIH), and through public-private partnerships.  Lastly, we are witnessing the defunding of CUNY and public services in general, in favor of privatization.

It is in this context that AmazonHQ2 is coming to Long Island City, threatening to significantly speed up the process described above. Thousands of high paid workers from around the world will be moving to Queens, and this tech-gentrification will lead to tenant harassment, rent hikes, and massive displacement.  The human toll of these pressures is often not discussed – the financial, social, and emotional pressure produced by the reality of affordable housing and displacement destroys lives. Hence, displacement is not just about eviction, but an unmeasured toll on our livelihoods.

NO WITH NO CONDITIONS TO AMAZONHQ2!!

Endorsed By (alphabetical order):
Brooklyn College Student Union
Craash Hunter
CUNY Struggle
Decolonize This Place
Politics Reborn
Queens Anti-Gentrification Project
Sunset Park for a Liberated Future
Take Back The Bronx

Phone Blast Against Amazon HQ2 in Queens

ON THURSDAY (NOV 8TH) WE WILL BE STARTING CALLS TO JIMMY VAN BRAMER, ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, AND CAROLYN MALONEY’S OFFICE TO DEMAND THEY TAKE A PUBLIC POSITION AGAINST THE AMAZON HQ2 PROPOSAL IN LIC, QUEENS. PHONE CALLS WILL CONTINUE THROUGH NEXT WEEK.

Call in info:

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer: 718-383-9566 [press “0” for person]
Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 929-388-6141 [leave a message if no one picks up]
Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney: 718-932-1804
State Senate Michael Ginaris: (718) 728-0960

Phone Blast Script:

It was recently announced that Amazon is considering Long Island City, Queens as a location for its new Headquarters, a move that would lead to skyrocketing rents and record levels of displacement throughout the entire borough. We are outraged that there were no public hearings on this proposal and that none of us have had the opportunity to voice our opinions, despite the fact that every single Queens resident will be impacted by this decision. The situtation is so bad that in July, Assemblymember Catherine Nolan called for a ‘Moratorium’ on new LIC developments¹, but her proposal was ignored by most politicians and newspapers. Today, I am calling [politicans name]’s office to demand that [politicians name] stand with Queens residents and reject the Amazon Headquarters proposal, as well as any other move to transform Western Queens into a so-called “tech hub”. The Queens that so many of us know and love is under threat and we’re going to fight back.

Footnote 1: https://licpost.com/nolan-demands-moratorium-on-new-lic-developments-after-news-of-queens-tallest-building

See the event here.

Liars Don’t Represent Us – Van Bramer: Say NO to Amazon or Resign

On November 9th, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer made a series of Tweets regarding Amazon setting up a headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.  On the surface he is trying to position himself as a progressive who is coming out in opposition to Amazon. However, we understand these comments to be political doublespeak – Van Bramer is a mainstream, establishment Democrat who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from real estate.  He claims that he isn’t taking money from real estate anymore, but some of the money raised in previous cycles has transferred over to his Borough President campaign.

We would like to begin by sharing a quote from Van Bramer in full support of Amazon from a Queens Chronicle article published in October of 2017:

“I am excited to see the New York City Economic Development Corporation recognize in their proposal what thousands of New Yorkers have been recognizing for years now: that Long Island City and Western Queens as a whole are among New York City’s most dynamic and innovative neighborhoods,” Van Bramer said in an emailed statement. “I am an enthusiastic supporter of the proposal, and of any plan to bring good paying jobs to my district. I think it is clear that Amazon HQ2 would be an ideal fit for Long Island City and for the entire borough of Queens. I look forward to working with the Economic Development Corporation in the months to come to support Long Island City’s proposal.

Here we will address his recent comments, tweet by tweet:

“Bypassing ULURP isn’t just about trying to get around me, it’s a direct assault on community engagement and consultation on a project that would change the face of Queens. #AmazonHQ2

Right off the bat, Jimmy Van Bramer is calling for a community engagement process.  It is very important for people to understand that this is NOT a statement opposing Amazon.  It is a statement opposing Amazon happening without going through ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Process).  For those who don’t know what ULURP is, it is the mandatory public review process that takes place for most land use proposals, such as rezonings or major developments such as this one.

The unpleasant fact about ULURP is that once a plan enters ULURP, its chances of passing become overwhelmingly likely.  A vast majority of proposals that enter ULURP are approved regardless of community opposition. Van Bramer is aware of this fact. If Amazon enters into ULURP, regardless of what the community board says, it has no veto power, which means if the politicians want Amazon, and they are all on record saying they do, then we will get an Amazon.

Public review is being used as a facade by Van Bramer.  It allows him to tacitly support Amazon while pretending to oppose it.

“It’s outrageous, secretive and the height of corporate Democrats tripping over themselves to provide corporate welfare to the richest man in the world without any community review or votes.”

Jimmy Van Bramer is a corporate Democrat.  He has been proclaimed the “Champion of the Long Island City Partnership,” a Business Improvement District organization that touts board members from Bank of America, CitiBank, Jet Blue, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and several other corporate behemoths.  Throughout his career, he has routinely made keynote addresses at real estate conferences, and is on the record praising the development that has taken place thus far in Long Island City.  He mentions community review, but does not oppose Amazon.

“Amazon Cuomo has every right to sell his individual naming rights but we will challenge his ability to sell Queens without review.”

Again, Van Bramer positions himself opposite Governer Cuomo in order to appear the progressive good guy.  However, he admits in plain English here that Cuomo’s attempt to sell Queens is all well and good, as long as it goes through a rigged review process.

“I call on @NYCMayor to reject the @NYGovCuomo’s desire to bypass ULURP, the local Community Board, the Borough President, City Planning and yes, the local Councilmember & @NYCCouncil. The Mayor must not be a party to this undemocratic process.”

Here Van Bramer makes his final call for public review.  As previously explained, ULURP itself is an undemocratic process, and the pro-real estate Mayor, City Council, and Department of City Planning are not going to save us by being included in this proposal.

What we are demanding from Jimmy Van Bramer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and all other Queens politicians, is an unconditional opposition to Amazon.  We cannot fall for the political doublespeak and pseudo-progressivism of the Democratic Party.  If Van Bramer cannot take a genuine stand against Amazon, we call for his resignation.  Liars don’t represent us.

To get involved in the campaign against Amazon, email us at queensantigentrification@gmail.com

 

Queens Popular Assembly – Follow-Up and Next Steps

FOLLOW-UP FROM QUEENS POPULAR ASSEMBLY:

Hello!

This is a follow-up email from the Queens Popular Assembly that took place on October 16th. You’re been added to our announcement list because you either signed our contact sheet or have a personal connection that added you. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you!

We are excited to announce that folks are getting together again to put some of the ideas discussed at the last assembly into action, as well as to start planning for a winter assembly.

A few of the ideas that were proposed and voted on include:

1. Starting a neighborhood news publication;
2. Creating an official Queens Popular Assembly Coordinating Committee;
3. Working on a voucher program for folks experiencing homelessness;
4. Creating outreach material in more languages than Spanish and English;
6. Cleaning up Woodside Plaza;
6. Fighting for affordable housing that is tied to income;
7. Reaching out to existing block associations;
8. Have our next assembly in a more quite and accessible location;
9. And several other items related to outreach and language usage.

We currently do not have much dedicated infrastructure setup for public discussion but you can get in touch in the following ways:

1. Email queensassembly@riseup.net
2. Join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/400834433733079/
3. Download the Signal app and request to join the assembly text loop.

Moving forward the Assembly Coordinating Committee will be looking at other ways of helping us coordinate with each other. If you have ideas or suggestions please let folks know!

We will be writing later this month with a date and location for our next assembly.

In solidarity!

– Queens Popular Assembly Announcement List

Popular Assembly / Asamblea Popular – Planned in Queens for 10/16

Queens Popular Assembly / Asamblea Popular

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1495870273891413/

[Español abajo]

Defend Your Neighborhood! The Queens Popular Assembly is a place for neighbors, friends and family members to come together and figure out how to address the issues facing our communities through a participatory and democratic process. Politicians and non-profits have failed to address unemployment, police harassment, and out of control rent. The community boards try sometimes, but, the truth is, they don’t have real decision making power and many of them are often vetted by local council members.

The Queens Popular Assembly, on the other hand, is independent of all that. It is a participatory structure built by the community with the power to affect change in our neighborhood. No big non-profits or politicians – only community members fighting for each other and a better city.

The Queens Popular Assembly aims to be an ongoing project, happening once every season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer). It will be a place where individual community members and groups come together, form alliances, develop projects, and strengthen ties. The Queens Popular Assembly does not seek to control or direct the activity of those participating. Instead it offers a space for new connections, to hear feedback on projects, and advance our collective goals.

By establishing an ongoing assembly we aim to give ourselves and our neighbors a consistent opportunity to collectively develop project for our neighborhood, show transparency, learn what’s needed to get done, and ultimately build power that is independent of politicians.

We are anti-capitalist, oppose police & ICE, and reject working with politicians within the Assembly. Please reach out if you’d like to get involved.


¡Defiende tu barrio! La Asamblea Popular de Queens es un lugar para que las personas que viven en el barrio, amistades y familiares se reúnan y descubran cómo abordar los problemas que enfrentan nuestras comunidades a través de la participación y la democracia. Los políticos y las organizaciones sin fines de lucro no han resuelto el desempleo, el acoso policial y la renta alta. Las juntas comunitarias lo intentan a veces, pero la verdad es que no tienen el poder real de tomar decisiones y muchas de ellas a menudo son aprobadas por miembros del consejo local.

La Asamblea Popular de Queens, por otro lado, es independiente de los políticos y las instituciones. Es una estructura de participación organizada por la comunidad con el poder suficiente para afectar el cambio en nuestro barrio. No hay grandes organizaciones sin fines de lucro ni políticos, solo personas de la comunidad que luchan para su barrio y por una ciudad más justa.

La Asamblea Popular de Queens pretende ser un proyecto en marcha, que ocurre una vez por temporada (otoño, invierno, primavera, verano). Será un lugar donde las personas de la comunidad y los grupos se reunirán, formarán alianzas, desarrollán proyectos y fortalecerán lazos. La Asamblea Popular de Queens no busca controlar ni dirigir la actividad de las personas que participantes, sino que ofrece un espacio para nuevas conexiones, para escuchar comentarios sobre proyectos y avanzar en nuestros objetivos colectivos.

Al crear una Asamblea nuestro objetivo es ofrecernos a nosotrxs y a nuestra vecindad una oportunidad constante para desarrollar colectivamente un proyecto para nuestro barrio, mostrar transparencia, aprender lo que se necesita para lograr y, finalmente, construir un poder independiente de los políticos.

Somos anti-capitalistas, nos oponemos a la policía y a la migra (ICE), y rechazamos trabajar con políticos dentro de la Asamblea Popular de Queens. Únete y participa necesitamos todas nuestras manos y todas nuestras voces.

Queens Popular Assembly / Asamblea Popular de Queens

David Eisenbach is no different from any other sellout politician.

Earlier today Queens Anti-Gentrification Project posted on Facebook questioning why David Eisenbach thinks he deserves the title of “public advocate”. In it we speak to his narrow and inadequate vision for NYC residents, and question his alleged independence from the current political establishment. You can check out the post and video here. We’ve seen this individual appearing at events over the past year and promoting himself, and want to let people know – this caricature of a politician has been seen before, and we know how the story goes.


To quote our post: “Every election season a fresh round of politicians appear, saying they’ll “take on city hall”, showing up at activist rallies, and making promises they don’t plan on keeping. Every election season a portion of grassroots groups, non profits, and well intentioned individuals give their support to these candidates hoping that they’ll follow through and fight for them once in office. Then, after the votes are cast, and the politicians settle into their new role, the patronage requests start coming in, and the higher-ups who helped get them there in the first place start calling in their debts, a new reality sets in. This is unfortunately how it usually works. In the case of David Eisenbach, however, all signs point to him having already completely sold out, without even being on a ballot. Queens Anti-Gentrification Project wants SBJSA to pass, but Eisenbach will not be its champion – not when he is aligned with Corey Johnson and other special interests. More importantly, however, what the people really need goes far beyond the narrow vision Eisenbach has opportunistically presented: we want reparations for NYCHA residents who have been dealing with health issues due to lead, mold and other environmental issues, an end to Bill de Blasio’s “affordable housing” rezoning program (MIH/ZQA), and an end to NYPD and ICE’s harassment and violence against Black and Brown residents in NYC. On these questions, Eisenbach is either completely silent or woefully inadequate and, therefore, does not deserve the title of “public advocate”.

Listen to Eisenbach in his own words, saying that campaign slogans are just meant for the campaign trail and not really what happens once they get in office. Is this really a guy we can trust?”

David Eisenbach
David Eisenbach on Fox News saying what politicians say on the campaign trail is not what they do when they get in office.

Queens Under Attack

Sunday, August 26th, Queens Anti-Gentrification Project will be hosting an event titled Defend Queens – Now or Never.

The event will include a discussion and update on the multiple mega-developments threatening Western Queens and the rest of the borough. These developments include the LIC Core Rezoning (currently on hold), the LIC Tech Hub, LIC BID, Sunnyside Yard Development, and the BQX.

In a predictable development, a recent article quoted Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz, stating her support for the LIC Tech Hub.

Last month, we saw a sign of how bad things are getting when a top politician called for a freeze on new building permits in LIC and, in the same article, confirmed that the LIC Core Rezoning was on hold. These half-measures by politicians, though, are not enough – we need to build power through independent neighborhood-based organizations.

In the wake of the Inwood Rezoning, its clear that the city is never going to listen to the concerns of community members. That’s why we hope to see you this Sunday so we can continue to develop strategy for defeating  these developers and their sell-out politicians.

Defend Queens – Now or Never!

Join Us for Our Summer Party – Sunday August 12th

 

To all of our neighbors – We would like to invite you to join us for a summer Anti-Gentrification party! Let’s grab some drinks and/or food (non-drinkers are welcome!) and talk with neighbors about defending Queens and NYC from luxury real estate and corporate development!

QAGP is not a representative type of organization, or a funded nonprofit. Rather, we are a group of neighbors, fighting for ourselves and for each other, on our own time. We strongly encourage you to attend, chill, and consider joining us. If not, your general support is welcome!

We look forward to seeing y’all.

FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/2087522601488224/
WHEN: 4pm-8pm | Sunday, August 12th
WHERE: Copper Kettle | 50-24 Skillman Ave (BACKYARD)

Announcing the First 7 Train Coalition CB2 Neighborhood Committee Public Meeting

On Thursday, May 31st, Queens Anti-Gentrification Project will help host the first  CB2 Neighborhood Committee Public Meeting. You can RSVP to the Facebook event here.

We will be talking about different ongoing campaigns including the fight against a mega church development right in the middle of Little Manila in Woodside (you can read some info about it here), which the BSA, the city agency in charge of this application, recently bought back onto their agenda. We’ll also be talking about the so-called Triple Threat, i.e. the BQX, Sunnyside Yards, and LIC core rezoning. Queens Anti-Gentrification Project has written multiple posts on this, including this letter open letter to Jimmy Van Bramer written last year. One thing we are particularly concerned about is the statements suggesting that Sunnyside Yards development is moving forward. We will also give an update on a series of FOIL requests  on the  BQX, which was filed in collaboration with Progress New York.

During the meeting there will also be time for those who come through to talk about things they’re working on and for us all to figure out how we can support each other.

One of our main goals is to push for neighborhood planning that benefits poor and working class folks, immigrants, and Black people, instead of developers and politicians.

We invite you to come join us, get involved, and fight back against the onslaught of gentrification and displacement that is being directed towards Queens.

See you there!