New York Public Housing

NYC Mayor Adams’ Migrant Scapegoated Austerity

Democratic Mayor Eric Adams has launched a full-frontal austerity assault on the workers of New York City. He has already cut the budget by 5% this month, with two further cuts scheduled, for a grand total of 15%. The city has an annual budget of roughly $110.5 billion, roughly the same as the national budget of Greece. These are not just small local cuts.

Libraries will close immediately on Sundays. New York City’s Education Department will be cut by $547 million this year and $600 million next year. Thousands of Pre-K spots for three-year-olds will be eliminated. Class sizes will increase in a city where there are already too many students per teacher. These are cuts directed against the working class and the very poor, not the wealthy. There are also cuts in the city workforce, which mean more work will have to be done by fewer workers while the unemployed are left on the dole.

The NYPD is spending $390 million dollars on an encrypted radio system, equivalent to 80% of the entire NY Public Library system’s budget. / Image: Anthony Quintano, Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, the NYPD is spending $390 million dollars on an encrypted radio system, equivalent to 80% of the entire New York Public Library system’s budget. The mayor has laid out his priorities for all to see: cuts to education and childcare, while the NYPD gets a shiny new toy that destroys one of the few places the NYPD was transparent.

The cherry on top of this attack is that Eric Adams has scapegoated “the flood” of immigrants as the cause for the cuts. This is a classic example of divide and rule. Adams is attempting to pit one section of the working class against another. Despite the City Council begging for months, Adams has refused to account for the actual cost of the so-called migrant crisis. This has not stopped his hysterical finger pointing, taking every public opportunity to rant that the city will be destroyed by immigrants. But the media have pointed out that the immediate “cause” of these cuts is that temporary federal Covid relief spending is running out. But this doesn’t phase Adams as he consistently doubles down on his anti-immigrant rhetoric. To add insult to injury, the upcoming cuts include a dramatic 20% cut to migrant services—when hundreds of immigrants are already sleeping on the streets due to the city government not providing accommodations.

It is US imperialism and the owners of industry gathered on Wall Street and in Midtown, who created the migrant crisis, due to their exploitation and meddling in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America. It is they who create the desperation of the Latin American masses—and it is they who should pay to solve the problem they created! Let’s immediately expropriate the roughly 90,000 empty rent-stabilized apartments hoarded by landlords and development companies, as well as the pieds-à-terre of the billionaires and millionaires which lay vacant as tax shelters for the vast majority of the time.

New York City is essentially a one-party state controlled by the Democrats. The only opposition to this is performative grumbling. The City Council is supporting Eric Adams’ budget cut, but they complain about it quietly. The city’s public advocate, Jumaane Williams, a so-called “democratic socialist,” has publicly stated that he agrees there needs to be cuts, but that the city needs to use a “scalpel instead of making broad cuts.” Communists disagree! There is no need to debate whether to cut a pound of flesh or merely an ounce of flesh from the working class. There is enough wealth in society to solve every major problem we confront and that wealth just so happens to be in the hands of the capitalist class.

Eric Adams Mayor of New York
Almost all Democrats are silent on Adams’ repeated xenophobic rhetoric. / Image: NYC Mayor’s Office, Flickr

Eric Adams has asked the rich very nicely to open up their pocketbooks to donate to charities to help alleviate the pressure on the city. Jumaane Williams used lots of words to say nothing by stating that Adams should “reconsider the administration’s annual opposition to supporting common sense revenue-raising options that ensure the city can continue to uphold its fiscal responsibility and moral responsibility at the same time.” Almost all Democrats are silent on Adams’ repeated xenophobic rhetoric.

Enough is enough of the labor movement working with our class enemies! Our union dues should not be used to politically support those who are attacking us! There is no one else to blame! The Democrats control New York from city hall to Gracie Mansion, Albany, and the White House. We need the leaders of the labor movement, the NYC Central Labor Council, the NY State AFL-CIO, and the Municipal Labor Committee to break with the party of our class enemy and organize a real fightback against this austerity.

All of this shows the need to build a mass communist party of the working class! We need a workers’ government at the federal, state, and local levels. Only a genuine government of, by, and for the workers can take the wealth that comes from our labor and use it to solve these problems.

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