3295 – What Social Housing Would Look Like; The Union Fighting Privatized Rail w/ Nicholas Boni, Cea Weaver; John Samuelsen

It’s Hump Day! Sam speaks with Nicholas Boni, writer, photographer and musician based in Brooklyn, & Cea Weaver, tenant organizer with Housing Justice For All in New York, to discuss Nicholas’s recent piece in Jacobin entitled “Social Housing for New York Is on the Table”. Then, Sam speaks with John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), to discuss the prospects of a commuter rail worker strike in Boston, where they’ve been without a contract for over 200 days. First, Sam runs through updates on the performance of ‘uncommitted’ in the Washington primary, the House voting to sort of ban TikTok, questions about more GOP testimony, Trump’s legal battles, the House GOP, the Federal Judiciary Committee, US labor action, and aid for Ukraine, before parsing through the recent TikTok “ban” legislation rushed through the House. Nicholas Boni and Cea Weaver then join, diving right into the complete affordability crisis facing New York State, resulting from a lack of existing stable, affordable housing and investment into new permanent, affordable housing projects, and their solution of a Social Housing Development Authority (SHDA), a statewide tenant’s rights coalition, funded and supported by the state, that would work to rezone, maintain, rehabilitate, acquire, and construct new affordable housing projects across New York State, relying on a much broader base than existing housing authorities like NYCHA, allowing for them to function on a much broader, and much more effective scale. Expanding on this, Weaver and Boni look at the SHDA as a true public-sector alternative to the speculative role of private real estate, walking through the process and legislation SHDA would rely on in their acquisition of housing and land for maintenance, rehabilitation, and construction, and the role the Authority would play in working with to take over existing housing and establish tenant-run cooperatives. After walking through some real-world lasting examples of this kind of housing infrastructure, Cea and Nicholas wrap up by assessing the current state of the fight, and what to look for moving forward. John Samuelson then joins, walking through the TWU’s role representing transit workers across the US, before zooming in on the ongoing issues facing Local-2054, with active profiteering and exploitation from the French company Keolis in their management of Massachusetts’ Commuter Rail, all bankrolled by the US taxpayer. After walking through the long battle between the local and Keolis in their ongoing contract negotiations, Samuelson walks through the ongoing exploitation faced by transit mechanics and coach cleaners on the South Side, and the role of the MBTA and Massachusetts DOT in allowing this brutal exploitation. Wrapping up, John Samuelson assesses the future of Local-2054’s fight, and what we can do to support them.

And in the Fun Half: Sam discusses the future of MR, the bad look for both Merrick Garland and the GOP that is Robert Hur’s testimony, and revelations around Trump’s active attempt to steal classified documents. Meffi from Texas discusses the dangers of right-wing authoritarian thugs, Sly from Staten Island on the crime-spike myth, and Angela from Alberta explores the progressive factions of Canadian news media. Candace Owens goes on in on the transvestigation of Brigitte Macron, Ken Buck leaves the GOP hanging dry as he kills their House Majority, and A from Washington dives into some context for Brett Weinstein’s dishonorable discharge from academia, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Nicholas’s piece in Jacobin here: https://jacobin.com/2024/02/social-housing-development-authority-new-york/

Check out Housing Justice For All here: https://housingjusticeforall.org/

Find your Assemblymember in New York State and ask them to support bill A9088!: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/search/

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Find more about the TWU here: https://www.twu.org/

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