Our Platform – What We Believe
What is Gentrification?
Gentrification is a process that causes rent and price increases, leading to the displacement of people from their homes in favor of more affluent tenants, and the closure of small businesses in favor of big box chains.
Gentrification is the result of an increase in property value, which is intentionally orchestrated by real estate developers, politicians, and city planners through rezonings, Business Improvement Districts, and policies which favor speculative real estate development. City planning has a white supremacist character that almost always targets working-class neighborhoods of color.
We recognize capitalism as the driving force behind gentrification and displacement, and we ultimately want to confront the capitalist system. By confronting development, we understand that we are directly attacking capitalism, which seeks infinite growth and profit at the expense of the working class.
We need social development, ie: dignified housing, health and wellness, education, etc. However, when people refer to development, they are almost always talking about private real estate or economic development. We oppose a system where the only means of achieving social development is through private, economic growth.
We also understand that when politicians and developers talk about building infrastructure like schools and new transit systems, they are talking about infrastructure needed to promote capitalist growth and support private development. Put differently, we oppose the development of infrastructure that is real estate driven.
We reject the government’s definition of affordable housing based on AMI. Moreover, the city’s current “affordable housing” programs that incentivize private real estate development do not address the housing crisis— they make it worse. We refuse to engage in discussions surrounding this misleading phrase. We want an end to homelessness and displacement.
NYCHA is an important public institution which should be defended at all costs. We oppose the privatization of NYCHA and believe that public housing should be fully funded and expanded.
There are enough vacant units in the city to house the entire homeless population three times over, but the real estate market prohibits people from inhabiting this available space. Instead, we have the shelter system – a band-aid that does not address the systems in place that cause and preserve homelessness. That being said, we are unequivocally opposed to the anti-black, racist, anti-poor movements against shelter construction throughout Queens.
NYPD & La Migra
We oppose the NYPD and ICE, both which engage in state violence and directly aid in the displacement of working-class black, brown, and immigrant neighborhoods. NYPD raids have resulted in the eviction of public housing tenants. ICE raids create an atmosphere of fear and forcibly displace immigrants from the city. Real estate speculation and private development create a demand for an increase in policing, leading to increased harassment and arrests.
How Do We Fight Displacement?
Because of the way the land market works, extracting “victories” by making concessions in exchange for “affordable” units, community spaces, and local jobs will ultimately result in a net loss of affordable housing – displacement will still happen and “territory” will be lost that cannot be taken back. Therefore, we will oppose all proposed development that would cause displacement – unconditionally.
Build Popular Power
Popular power is built by creating grassroots social and political organization in our neighborhoods to realize our power outside of the electoral and nonprofit systems. We want to establish community control of housing and land-use to counter top-down decision-making bodies such as the Department of City Planning that prioritizes real estate profits over people, or the big nonprofits that work to keep people dependent on their services in order to preserve funding streams. Neighborhood assemblies, tenant unions, and rapid response networks are all examples of forms of organization that help build popular power.
Against Representative Leadership
Popular power stands apart from representative leadership – elected officials, big nonprofits, unions, and even individual community leaders – in that it strives to include and empower all of us to collectively control our lives, as opposed to giving individuals the power to make decisions for us. We believe that representative leadership is fallible because power and money inevitably lead to corruption. QAGP does not work with politicians, political parties, big unions, and big nonprofits.