Commitments To Anti-Colonialism
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.