By: Ilana Siyance
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Democratic socialist group have their sights on taking over New York City. As reported by the NY Post, the Democratic Socialists of America-NYC has a plan to back candidates for the City Council who, if elected, would create a “socialist caucus”.
Next year, the council, which is mostly Democratic, will have 35 out of 51 council seats open for new candidates, as mandated by term limits. Only 16 council members may run for re-election. The DSA is planning to cherry pick liberal candidates in a strategic effort to shift the city to the far left. The plan was released to DSA members this week, in a 13-page “tasks and perspectives” strategic planning document. Council candidates hoping to meet the DSA’s approval and win endorsement will need to pass a test which includes agreeing to “defund” the NYPD. The group aims to cut the police budget by 50 percent.
“This campaign will be a key issue in the 2021 election cycle. NYC-DSA has already committed to making the call to defund [the NYPD] a central matter in its City Council endorsements and the socialist caucus it aims to build in advance of the 2022 budget,” says the DSA steering committee plan. The roughly $3 billion saved from defunding the police could go towards preventing teachers, EMT and firefighters from being laid off or to fund youth and social service programs to combat the root causes of crime, the DSA said.
The face of the Democratic socialist movement in Congress has become AOC, the outspoken 30-year-old. The DSA said it also plans to use the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to “cancel” rent, hoping to squeeze landlords until they are forced to give up their properties and then to have the state convert them into public housing.
The plan also aims to push Cuomo and the state Legislature to increase tax for the rich to help fund the Green New Deal and New York Health Act. “In the face of an austerity budget, many of our campaigns will lend their weight to a demand on the state government to tax the rich,” the plan says. The plan also aims to increase the presence of the DSA in three of the city’s biggest public employee unions — District Council 37, the United Federation of Teachers and the NYS Nurses’ Association. It also will work to build deeper ties with minority neighborhoods and the working class.
The council Democratic primaries will be held in June 2021.