Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Oct. 7th (1:00 PM) Voter Disenfranchisement Forum!

Preservation of our libraries is a need that's fundamental to the structural underpinnings of our democracy.  Something else that is a structural necessity for a working democracy is whether the public will be able to vote and have their votes counted.  There is also a link between how we get our information and the nano-targeting of voters to disenfranchise them in various ways, including through precision gerrymandering and other forms of voter nullification and suppression.

Citizens Defending Libraries will be participating in the following October 7th forum that may well be of interest to all those interested in defending our libraries, how we get our information and our freedom to vote and have our votes counted.
Click to enlarge flyer

Here is the information (also in a flyer above)- 
Oct. 7th (1:00 PM) Voter Disenfranchisement Forum!

First Unitarian Universalist Congregation Chapel
119-121 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, New York  11201
Acting locally in New York we could lead the way for changes nationally to bring important structurally changes to our politics.  Prodded by candidate Cynthia Nixon, Gov. Cuomo restored voting rights to re-enfranchise NY parolees. But New York should go further. It should grab national headlines by joining Maine and Vermont (plus most other countries in the world) in letting prison inmates vote.

Letting all citizens vote, whether or not they are convicted of crimes (often discriminatorily and because they are poor or people of color) would re-enfranchise over 6 million citizens!  It would also spell consistently different results in elections in the key state of Florida, where about 10% of adults, 1 in 5 black adults, 1.5 million people in all are disenfranchised.

The re-enfranchisement of all U.S. citizens voting should also be fought on multiple other fronts. Evidence that electeds don’t follow the popular will is ample, with the majority of Americans wanting but not getting:
     • medicare for all; •  protection of women’s reproductive rights; •  stricter gun control laws; • stricter regulations on and breaking up of the big banks; • more environmental regulation; • equal pay for women; • easier, less restrictive immigration; • less surveillance of American citizens; • less military spending and a pull back from the U.S.’s endless and ceaseless military interventions (wars); • net neutrality; • continued support for traditional public schools, and free college; • more restrictions on money in politics.
Let’s discuss the other ways citizens’ votes are blocked, neutralized or diluted including the following:
    •    Voter suppression surgically targeted against specific groups (including purges by Crosscheck and the Board of Elections).
    •    Voting machines that can be hacked to not count votes (thus not match exits polls)
    •    Democratic party “superdelgates.”
    •    Gerrymandering.
    •    Courts that block or don’t count votes (Bush v. Gore)
    •    The electoral college gives less representation to those in big and urban states.
    •    Rejiggering the census to undercount certain populations.
    •    Money that votes multiple times for multiple candidates, while voters vote once, restricted to those designated to represent them.
As for New York State?  The evidence is that NYS voters feel that (because of corruption, the influence of money and/or other reasons) their vote doesn’t count: Election data experts rank New York state near the bottom of states for voter turnout.  That is even though, as Martin Luther King impressed on us: The right to vote and have our vote counted is the one right that makes all other rights possible!
Click to enlarge (or print)- This is a good size for printing andistribution
Restoring the voting rights of people who are inmates or incarcerated was one of the ten demands of the huge (but under-reported) national prison strike:
The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.
To see all ten of the strike demands, learn more about the strike and learn how to about actions you can take to support these requested reforms see the website of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.  Another thought to put this in context: One seventh of all the people incarcerated in the world, one out of seven individuals incarcerated worldwide, are black people incarcerated in the United States prisons (where with 4.4% of the world's population, our country incarcerates about 22% of all the prisoners in the world)—  Another thought: Shouldn't inmates be entitled to free speech rights, to read what they want and think and communicate the thoughts they want (those rights are in jeopardy too)?  We think so; aren't voting rights just an extension of that?

NOTES:  First, on the list of things that a majority of Americans definitely want, but elected officials are not supplying, we added "net neutrality," which we should have thought to included earlier.

Second, in thinking about the way that the votes of voters are reined in, made less effective in getting voters the representation and results they actually want when they vote, we should probably also think about they way the duopoly of the Republican and the Democratic parties constrains voter choice.  People  fearful of figuratively "wasting" their votes if they vote for third parties (fearful that these candidates may not believe have as good a chance of getting elected), sometimes think of themselves as voting for the "lesser of two evils" for this reason.  This is something that could be addressed, and they wouldn't have to if we had a system of "instant run-off voting" (also known as "ranked choice voting").  This would strengthen third parties (and what they stand for) and ensure there is no "risk" of "wasting" a vote when voting for them.  .  .

And another form of election vote counting that can help in certain environments (like formulating the composition of city councils) to properly represent the wishes of voters and also strengthen additional parties outside the Republican/Democratic party duopoly is proportional representation.   

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