From February 28 to 29, New Yorkers held a 24-hour vigil outside of City Hall to demand that the New York City Council pass a resolution to call for a ceasefire in Israel’s genocide in the Gaza Strip. The vigil was organized by the NYC 4 Ceasefire coalition, composed of several pro-Palestine organizations in the city including Adalah Justice Project, the NYC Democratic Socialists of America, VOCAL-NY, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), and NYC Dissenters. At least 70 US cities have passed resolutions calling for a ceasefire, according to Jewish Voice for Peace.
New York City (NYC)
Monica Weiss attended her first fossil-fuel divestment protest on a frigid February day in 2015. She joined college students, financial experts, faith leaders, and then-New York City Public Advocate Letitia James in front of the New York Stock Exchange to demand that the city’s five public pension funds factor the financial risks of climate change into their investment decisions. Over the course of her two-decade career teaching first and third grade in New York City public schools, Weiss infused nature and sustainability into her lessons. Now newly retired, Weiss had taken a look at her own pension fund — and didn’t like what she saw.
Never have I seen so many mass mobilizations in the United States in support of Palestinian sovereignty and liberation, as I have in the last five months. New York City, in particular, has seen actions and demonstrations almost daily since October. As someone who grew up in New York, I never could have imagined witnessing this massive outpouring of support for Palestinian liberation and demonstrations against the atrocities carried out by the State of Israel against Palestinians. Even though New York is home to many radical political movements and has historically been home to some of the country’s leading thinkers and organizers from the Left, including many vocal anti-Zionist Jews.
On February 15, Pro-Palestine activists staged a day-long picket outside of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office in midtown Manhattan. Schumer is one of the chief supporters of Israel in the US government, which itself is the single largest funder of the Zionist state. Schumer has been spearheading the effort in the Senate to pass massive military aid to Israel, and was recently behind a successful effort to pass a USD 95 billion foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. This bill included USD 14 billion for the state of Israel. The bill is now set to be voted on by the House of Representatives.
Contingent professors scored a victory January 3 when they got New York University to agree to a union election this semester, and to remain neutral during the process. The election is scheduled for February 27 and 28. If they vote yes, Contract Faculty United (CFU)-UAW Local 7902 will become the largest union in the country of full-time, non-tenure-track faculty at a private university, with 950 members. Nationwide, two-thirds of faculty positions are contingent—meaning they lack the possibility of tenure. Many are adjunct instructors, who are hired on a course-by-course, semester-by-semester basis and typically make low wages and lack benefits. But there is another, lesser-known category of contingent faculty: those who work full-time on long-term contracts. The number of such full-time, non-tenure-track faculty in the US has almost tripled since 1987.
As faculty, staff, and graduate student workers at the City University of New York (CUNY) approach one year without a contract, a new strike campaign is forming, fueled by outrage over decades of underfunding, low wages compared to other New York City schools, and fresh cuts to the university’s 25 campuses. Just last month, dozens of faculty were laid off right before the start of the semester — with full or nearly full classes getting cut from the schedule, leaving students in disarray — after the university ordered enhanced cuts at nine CUNY schools. Furthermore, Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed executive budget cuts CUNY funding by $528 million. Most of this decrease comes from the capital budget, which provides for building upkeep and other infrastructure costs, even though only eight percent of CUNY’s buildings are considered to be in a “state of good repair.”
In the summer of 2022, a few months before her rental lease was set to expire, Lucy Rinzler-Day saw a provocative poster hanging in her apartment building’s elevator. The poster—which, she would later learn, was made by her neighbor—warned tenants of the 32-unit building in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to be on the lookout for illegal rent increases on their lease renewals. Their apartment building is rent stabilized, a form of housing regulation that protects tenants from exorbitant rent hikes and gives them the right to renew their leases. Any rent hike over 3.2% that year, as established by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, would be illegal.
The International Assembly Against Imperialism in Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance was held at the historic Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center in New York City on Jan. 21. Workers World Party, the organizer of the event, had chosen the date to honor the centennial of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, who died that day in 1924. The unique assembly challenged U.S. imperialist efforts to isolate and demonize the Palestinian resistance and its allies. Organizers surrounded reports by Palestinian Resistance groups with statements from well-known national and international organizations that have decades of authority in the world movement for resisting U.S. imperialist blockades and sanctions, and by workers’ parties and solidarity organizations from around the world.
“The bosses wear Prada, and the workers get nada!” chanted hundreds of News Guild CWA workers out on a one-day strike against Condé Nast, the publishing juggernaut that owns iconic titles like Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Bon Appetite. The boisterous picket line at the base of One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan on a damp day January 24, drew a cacophony of honking horns whizzing by on West Street. After a widely lauded voluntary recognition of the union back in 2022 by the privately-held global media conglomerate, the union has run into what it told Work-Bites is hardball union-busting tactics that have really intensified with the New Year. Back in October, Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch announced the company would be shrinking its global workforce of 5,400 by 270 while also predicting the publisher would see the “third straight year of overall revenue growth.”
Hundreds of people were arrested after pro-Palestinian protesters from several advocacy groups shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge and Holland Tunnel for more than an hour during the Monday morning commute, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Tarik Sheppard said. Traffic was at a standstill at each of the four entry points to the city beginning at around 9:30 a.m., according to a NYPD spokesperson. By 11:15 a.m., police had arrested protesters at the various protests and traffic had resumed at the city's bridges and tunnel, a police spokesperson said.
On Saturday, Dec. 16, hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers gathered at the Fourth Universalist Society on the Upper West Side for the “Posada de Comadres.” Coordinated by a coalition of mutual-aid and immigrant-rights groups, the event featured a housing workshop, a resource fair, the distribution of winter clothing and a mobile health clinic that offered basic health services. Valentina (a pseudonym) and her family, asylum-seekers who fled Colombia, were one of the families present at the event. They are also among the 3,500 families that received an eviction notice from the city earlier in the month. Valentina is over eight months pregnant; her baby is due in the first week of January.
Thousands marched through New York City’s busiest shopping district on December 23, to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The march called for by the #ShutItDown4Palestine coalition stated that there can be no holiday celebrations as usual while Israel carries out a genocide in Gaza, with complete political and financial backing of the United States. Organizers from the Palestinian Youth Movement, the ANSWER Coalition, the People’s Forum, and more condemned the ongoing atrocities and the role of US officials in perpetuating them. Watch Peoples Dispatch’s report from the streets!
Hundreds demonstrated in Center City Philadelphia on a rainy evening Dec. 3. Called by the Philadelphia Palestine Coalition, the event started with a rally and prayer service in Rittenhouse Park, followed by a march that ended at 40th and Market streets for a solidarity rally with the Save UC Townhomes Coalition. Two sound trucks led the way, followed by lead banners calling out the murderous genocide, carried out by Israel but funded by the U.S., that has taken the lives of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. Along the route, protesters stopped to call out two Zionist-run restaurants. They marched by the University of Pennsylvania campus, where activist students are under attack by university trustees with major investments in Israel.
A thousand people stood outside in below freezing temperatures to honor the martyrs of Israel’s genocide in the Gaza Strip. Attendees memorialized the victims of Israel through stories, chants, songs, and by creating an altar in front of The Shops at Columbus Circle, an upscale shopping mall inside of a skyscraper. This vigil took place on the International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which was celebrated across the globe with actions for Palestine.
On Tuesday, Hunter College Interim President Ann Kirschner reversed her decision to ban a movie about young Jewish-Americans exploring their disenchantment with Israel one week after she set off a firestorm of criticism at the CUNY campus. It will now be shown at Hunter by Dec. 5, Kirschner promised. “This represents the power of what the faculty, students and our union did when the president unilaterally canceled our event,” said Tami Gold, a professor of film and media studies at Hunter. The movie, Israelism, is co-directed by Erin Axelman and Sam Eilertsen. It was inspired by their experiences of traveling to Israel and witnessing the brutal treatment of Palestinians which was at odds with the image of Israel that they had been raised to unconditionally love.