Over the last several years the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project, in conjunction with many other groups across the city, has participated in an ongoing struggle to swing the pendulum of power back in the direction of working class New Yorkers – specifically in the arena of land-use and housing. This grassroots and militant anti-displacement movement has helped to push back major real estate developments, expose faux-progressive politicians and nonprofits, and contribute to the recent left surge in political discourse and activity in our city.
Queens in particular has shown serious revolutionary potential and creativity. However, private capital and the state have demonstrated an ability to adapt. We have always voiced our concerns that the local Democratic Party and nonprofit industrial complex were poised to subsume and neutralize this potential by legitimizing and pulling people into the electoral system and legal processes such as ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure).
With this in mind, we recognize that we need to reconsider our role and orientation as a political organization that opposes capitalism and the state. Thus, we are undergoing a reconstitution into an explicitly revolutionary formation that seeks to build popular power in Queens from the ground up. We had already shifted in this direction as we began building the Queens Popular Assembly and attempted to launch a series of autonomous projects like the People’s Land Use Committee and the 7 Train Plan.
As we shifted towards these types of projects, a movement described by many as municipalism had begun gaining momentum internationally. Those involved in this movement refer to popular power as dual power. The premise of dual power is the need to build independent community institutions that counter and replace state bureaucracies and capitalist institutions. Dual power is an existing concept with a long history.
This fall, we will be conducting a public virtual study on the political tendency of Municipalism and the concept of Dual Power, with the intention of launching an entirely new project in alignment with the new municipalist movement. We have compiled all of the readings into a single document, which is linked below along with study guide and event registration. We understand this reader to be imperfect, but we believe it speaks to the ideas and goals we have in establishing a new organization.
Kindly join us for an in-depth and stimulating discussion on how to put power back in the hands of the people!