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Jonathan Bailey is a labor organizer and anti-gentrification activist running a campaign independent of the influence of corporations, real estate, and police money in New York City Council District 26

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Jonathan loves Queens. As a cofounder of Amazonians United NYC, he's helped his coworkers win access to the Safe and Sick Leave Amazon illegally denied, and win paid time off. His dedication to building collective power for the common good was also key in him and other workers shutting down the Woodside warehouse to protect workers and prevent the spread of COVID-19 into Queens neighborhoods.

As an anti-gentrification activist, he has been fighting to keep our rents and personal housing taxes low and prevent the privatization of public housing. The Great Recession left him a homeless teenager, which has given him a deep commitment to fighting institutions that feed on homelessness. As an executive committee member of Justice for All Coalition and a member of Queens Anti-Gentrification Project, he has fought against upzoning and was deeply involved with organizing the largest town halls on Amazon HQ2 fight, eventually placing him and Queens DSA on the front of the New York Times. 

 

During his time as Queens DSA membership coordinator, Jonathan joined the fight as the data entry team lead to elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to Congress in NY-14. 

Before involving himself in politics, Jonathan taught across NYC DOE schools with an arts-in-education non-profit before becoming the organization's program manager. His first-hand experience of the disparities in our school system has given him a deep commitment to supporting teachers and properly funding our schools. As an arts-in-education admin, he has experience with the way our city uses discretionary funds to support our city's operations.

As someone who has first-hand experience with police violence and has been jailed for being too poor to pay off a traffic ticket, Jonathan is committed to creating the changes our society needs. His activism fighting to stop police violence with an Elected Civilian Review Board has helped bring our city closer to democratizing police accountability into the people's hands.

This past year, Jonathan has been serving as Queens DSA Co-Chair, focusing on building new avenues for the movement's internal democracy. He recently stepped down to preserve the movement's class independence while he runs for city council in district 26.

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Activism Covered in:

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What We Are Fighting for:

In our community and across the country, increased economic desperation has corresponded with an increase in crime. We need to prioritize good jobs, affordable housing and economic recovery in order to keep our communities safe. Jonathan knows that the NYPD's new weapons, invasive surveillance tools, and offices in foreign nations don't make our communities safer. New York has pursued a failing and costly strategy of fighting crime with investments in new jails and an increasingly bloated NYPD budget for decades. We need a radical new approach to public safety — one that prioritizes solutions to poverty, social inequality, and our history of colonialism. We need to strike at the root of crimes of poverty by guaranteeing quality housing, food, healthcare, education, a clean environment, and good-paying jobs for all New Yorkers.

Read Jonathan’s full “Peace in our Streets” platform here.

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Land Use & Housing Justice for All​

Developers, landlords, and banks control New York City politics, leading to a private market-dominated, profit-oriented system of housing.  As a result, working class New Yorkers live in consistently unaffordable, low-quality housing. Meanwhile, city hall and the private market work together to trigger gentrification across the city through upzoning and evictions of long-time tenants. Jonathan envisions a district in which every resident can afford to live in quality housing in their own thriving community. In order to secure affordable, quality housing for all New Yorkers, we need to abandon the private market-oriented vision of housing and move to a tenant-controlled, social housing model. 

Read Jonathan’s full “Land Use and Housing Justice for All” platform here.

Public Housing for the People

NYCHA provides permanently affordable, off-the-market homes for close to 600,000 mostly low-income, Black and brown New Yorkers. However, federal, state and local politicians have neglected to properly fund NYCHA for decades, leading to a near $40 billion backlog of repairs. In response, the city and NYCHA leadership have schemed to give away public land, privatize management and sell air rights — all with the supposed goal of raising funds to repair NYCHA properties. Jonathan will always oppose the disastrous privatization plans — like Blueprint for Change and RAD/PACT — and fight to reinvest in, expand and democratize NYCHA. Jonathan will support the Green New Deal for NYCHA’s plans to reinvigorate public housing across New York City. 

Read Jonathan’s full “Public Housing for the People” platform here

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The struggles of colonized and formerly colonized people across the world are intimately connected. Indigenous peoples from Gaza to San Juan to Manila to Queens are fighting the same legacy of colonialism that exploits workers, wages brutal wars and destroys the natural environment we call home. At the center of this global system is the United States, and at the center of the United States is the finance capital of the world: New York City. 

 

So what can a Queens city councillor do to support the global struggle against colonialism? First and foremost, it is an elected official’s duty to call out the multinational corporations and governments who are actively involved in extracting resources and exploiting workers in the global South.  

 

There are also more tangible steps the city council can take to lessen the harm created by our global economic and military apparatus. We can work to accurately inform the next generation of students about the historical role the United States has played in overthrowing dozens of democratically elected governments and installing right-wing dictators. The next generation must know how in 1964 the US helped overthrow President João Goulart in Brazil and install the brutal military dictatorship of General Branco — or how President Reagan invaded Grenada in 1983 to remove the leftist government intent on challenging capitalism on the island. The US continues to support authoritarian right-wing regimes around the world. I would fight to end U.S. aid to the Philippines National Police, which enables the military to carry out human rights abuses and prop up the oppressive Duterte regime.  

 

Outside of direct military and CIA intervention, the US — alongside its allies in the IMF and World Bank — commands vast economic power which it uses to force privatization and austerity on dozens of countries in the global south. In Ecuador, US-backed and IMF-enforced austerity cuts to public health spending made the country significantly more vulnerable to COVID-19 and cost thousands of Ecuadorians their lives. When the US forcefully imposes neoliberalism abroad, the people suffer.

 

Historically accurate education about the role America has played on the world stage — not to mention our historical and economic roots in the genocide of indigenous peoples and enslavement of Black Americans — is a prerequisite to educating a conscious, compassionate generation. In Queens and New York City as a whole, I will fight for an educational program that accurately informs our students of the role that they can play in divesting from colonial systems. 

 

As your city councillor, I also have a responsibility to fight for the full divestment of our public resources from the war industry. We must divest the New York City pension funds from weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. I am committed to fighting for reparations for land stolen from indigenous peoples. I will also call upon museums to return stolen objects, work to take down statues glorifying colonizers and support indigenous cultural organizations like the Lenape Center.

 

Queens is the world’s borough. We have a responsibility to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in struggle across the globe. As your city councillor, I will do everything in my power to continue the long and proud tradition of anti-colonial work.

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As a former NYC public school teacher, Jonathan knows firsthand how our education system fails to address the needs of individual students. Schools often prioritize high-stakes testing over support infrastructure which is proven to ensure student success. Meanwhile, students — particularly poor, Black, brown and immigrant students — are subject to unequal funding and over-policed classrooms.

 

Jonathan knows that social equality starts in the classroom. Therefore, we need to build a school system in which every student has the same access to resources — including mental health professionals, special needs services and technology. We need a school system that is controlled by the community — not just the mayor. Seven decades after Brown v. Board of Education, we need to finally take the necessary steps to fully integrate our schools. We need a historically accurate, dynamic curriculum. Last but not least, we need to remove cops from schools and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.

Read Jonathan’s full “Education and Social Reproduction” platform here.

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Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation. Jonathan believes in a transformative Green New Deal for New York City, which will create thousands of good-paying jobs building coastal resiliency, retrofitting housing units, installing renewable energy and expanding green space. Jonathan will fight to make sure that the Green New Deal is a democratic project by advocating for public control of renewable energy, expansion of healthy community gardens, free & expanded public transportation and a massive reinvestment in decarbonizing NYCHA. We also must rethink how we finance green investment, and explore public banking models that will ensure the Green New Deal is for the people — not for Wall Street.

 

As the largest coastal city in the US, New York City is both deeply vulnerable to the effects of climate change and also has an outsized responsibility to take bold action. With a Green New Deal for NYC, we can build a publicly controlled, democratic, decarbonized city. Together, we can win a sustainable future for not just us, but also for future generations.

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As a warehouse worker at Amazon, Jonathan knows that workers have always been “essential.” We are the people who work long hours in restaurants, Ubers, offices, and warehouses, generating profits for our bosses. Workers are not just the backbone of the economy — we are the economy. Jonathan will always fight for New York’s working class. He believes in a bold labor agenda that shifts power away from the bosses and into the hands of the workers.

 

As your city councillor, Jonathan will advocate for the passage of a robust workers bills of rights, including protections for Queens’ drivers and delivery workers. He will support a Green New Deal for NYC to create thousands of good-paying union jobs while supporting and expanding job training programs in our neighborhoods.

These policies are a starting point for building out a policy platform informed by members of our community. If you are interested in being able to advance your sentiments through the campaign,                 

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