We Didn’t Beat Amazon For This: Fighting Back And Building Power In NYC

Note: Developers and the Department of City Planning are outright lying about what they intend to build at the former Amazon HQ2 site. This 3D rendering was sent to QAGP by an anonymous source depicting the scale and scope of what developers plan to build. This article is a call to community members to get involved and help organize to stop this.


In 2018, New Yorkers successfully came together to stop Amazon HQ2 from coming to Queens, denying multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos in his attempt to steal a piece of our publicly owned land and turn it into his personal profit. However, more than a year later, the threat of development has returned to the same site, this time in its traditional form: luxury real estate. Developers TF Cornerstone, LL Mag, Plaxall, and Simon Baron, along with their consulting agencies, have presented us with “Your LIC,” a full-blown propaganda campaign operating in lock-step with the Department of City Planning. Like all other city-backed development plans, residents have been invited to participate in workshops and “visioning sessions” where community input is recorded in order to manufacture a false image of democracy and community consent for development on the site. Meanwhile, developers, bureaucrats, and politicians have been working feverishly behind the scenes to ram more than a dozen luxury buildings down our throats. Their plan is simple: to skip the legally-mandated parts of the city’s land use review process and rubber-stamp the project.

When Amazon was defeated, we knew the fight was not over. We knew that our real estate funded city council representative, Jimmy Van Bramer, who invited Amazon here in the first place, had postured against the proposal only in response to public outcry, and that once the noise died down he’d be back to business as usual. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Van Bramer has already green-lighted the “Your LIC” project. This type of behavior is precisely why we should refuse to trust or give a platform to any politician, regardless of their rhetoric. We cannot risk putting our faith in unaccountable individuals or government institutions. We must depend only on each other and the institutions that we ourselves build.  While we should be proud of the Amazon win, we should not give a single inch to those in power.

What the fight against Amazon showed us is that when we work together we can defeat corporate real estate development. We have power and strength in numbers, and we will defeat “Your LIC.” But with this in mind, we must position ourselves beyond the defensive and set our sights on something more.  We must work to create a city that prioritizes human development over the profits of the rich, that views housing as a fundamental right rather than a safety deposit box, that provides free transit, and guarantees a dignified life to all without harassment by landlords, pigs, and la migra.  It is time for us to take direct control over the city and our lives.

 

Developers and the Department of City Planning are outright lying about what they intend to build at the former Amazon HQ2 site. This 3D rendering was sent to QAGP by an anonymous source depicting the scale and scope of what developers plan to build.
On March 9th, we will gather to shut down the Your LIC planning meeting. Hit us up to get involved.

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.