Activists canvas Queens to oppose Amazon move

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Grass-roots activists in New York have been canvassing Long Island City and other parts of Queens to organize opposition to Amazon’s upcoming move there, with hundreds joining a meeting Monday night to protest against the company.

“When our communities are under attack, what do we do?” one speaker asked, according to The New York Times

{mosads}“Stand up, fight back!” the room of more than 300 responded.

Volunteers, some of whom are affiliated with the New York City Democratic Socialists of America and canvassed for Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) congressional campaign, have been knocking on doors to generate opposition to the move.

“A lot of people who volunteered for the campaign are now organizing with us against Amazon,” Aaron Taube, a member of Democratic Socialists of America and freelance writer who worked on the Ocasio-Cortez campaign, told the Times. “OK the election is over, how do we keep organizing?”

Ocasio-Cortez and other New York progressives have come out against Amazon, arguing that the company will not hire those already living in the city and that the move will skyrocket housing costs, making certain areas unaffordable for low-income residents. Critics also cite the lack of a public review of the deal to bring Amazon to the city.

“It’s kind of crazy to be trying to protect your neighborhood that you grew up in,” Thomas Muccioli, a 31-year-old actor who works side jobs to pay rent, told the Times.

Opponents of the deal hope to sway the Public Authorities Control Board, which may have to approve aspects of the plan, though state officials are debating if and when the move would face such a vote.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), as well as high-profile lobbying firms, have put on a campaign to drum up support for Amazon.

The tech giant hired SKDKnickerbocker, a prominent political consulting and public relations firm, earlier this month and had previously teamed up with local lobbyist Yoswein New York to promote its image. Lobbyists met Tuesday with city officials ahead of a public hearing with Amazon executives Wednesday, according to the Times.

“We are excited to work with New Yorkers over the coming months and years to bring a new Amazon headquarters to Long Island City and help support the community,” the company said in a statement.

Cuomo and de Blasio announced this week a 45-member advisory board for the Amazon move to help promote local support, though, like the City Council, it will be unable to block the deal.

“I’m going in with my eyes wide open — I know there are many players involved,” Meghan Cirrito, who joined the board, told the Times.

Other members of the board, which will first meet in January, include the tenant association presidents of nearby public housing developments, business groups and local civic organizations.

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