On December 14, 2017, NYPAN members joined members of many coalition partners to celebrate Governor Cuomo’s birthday outside of Cipriani’s restaurant on Wall Street. We were a group of 200 to 300 activists all together, bundled up against the cold in colorful mittens and scarves and wearing cute cardboard party hats. The police set up a barricade for us so that we could safely occupy one lane of the street. We waved at the governor’s rich friends (who paid between $1000 and $50,000 to attend) as they walked into the restaurant. It was exciting to see and read the wide range of grievances against the governor, on the rally signs around us. We did a lot of networking.
Thanks to fundraisers like this one, it is widely believed that the governor will have $40 million to spend on his re-election campaign. That is $40 million that is not being donated to county legislators or state senate campaigns, let alone to soup kitchens or rural home energy conservation projects. Just imagine — the donors who gave that money to Cuomo could have given it to progressive Democrats, or even mainstream Democrats, who were running against Republican State Senators, and then the NY Senate would be in Democratic hands today and we wouldn’t have the IDC. And that means we would have single payer health care right now, and fair elections, and a real ban on fracking.
But, probably that wasn’t an accident.
Sometimes progressives feel like everything is hopeless and there is no way that they will ever have any effect on a political system that has become so corrupt. However, there is one person who clearly doesn’t agree with that sentiment: Governor Cuomo. NYPAN learned in January that our members and our activities are actually considered to be a serious threat. When two members of our executive board applied for tickets to the State of the State, they were told that they would not be allowed in because they had participated in this entirely peaceful Wall Street demonstration. And they are not the first NYPAN members to be denied admission to an event simply because of their activist background.
So remember, progressives: we are more powerful than we think we are, the establishment is worried, and our time is coming!