Now that Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken office, he can reassure the nervous business community by curbing some of the election rhetoric, which some among his supporters have taken to new levels. Mayor de Blasio told his tale of two cities from an economic standpoint, suggesting that the gap between the wealthy and poor was vast and growing exponentially. Yet, during his inauguration the Sanitation Department’s chaplain, Rev. Fred Lucas Jr. compared New York City to a “plantation” when he delivered the invocation. The turn from a debate on economics to racism is indicative of how some will attempt to divide the people of this great city. The race-baiting began as Lucas said, “Free us from the shackles of partisan politics, political correctness and personal egos and agendas,” continuing, “Let the plantation called New York City be the city of God, a city set upon the hill, a light shining in darkness.” Is New York City a plantation where the poor are oppressed and enslaved and treated as black people were in the South prior to the Civil War? This is the atmosphere that Mayor de Blasio must oppose.
In today’s New York City, there is the taxi driver union’s Moses, Bhairavi Desai, the head of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), an organization which represents approximately 15,000 NYC taxi drivers. Desai is the de-facto partner of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and together they have conspired to take hard earned money from what is really the last vestige of easy-to-find work for new immigrants. They created what amounts to a multi-million dollar slush fund, supplied with a six cents per fare tax from every ride – about $600 per year. This is said to be for “disability insurance and health-care navigation services.”
There is no law governing this tax, but drivers cannot refuse it. Is that fair? Even worse is that the fund is overseen by Desai and her group, not by healthcare experts or investment advisors. Desai, who has always claimed to be a populist and has routinely decried capitalist values, has done what she claims big business does – takes advantage of the poor and naive. Cab drivers work very hard; many of them came to this country to pursue the great opportunities which exist here, but are not aware of their rights and due process.
When Desai was a presenter at the Brecht Forum’s 29th Annual Intensive Introduction to Marxism, she suggested capitalism was part of the destructive waves that “mark our times and even threaten life on this planet.” She further bewailed the “complicity of capitalism in perpetuating these ills.” Yet, she readily took the near $10M deal in exchange for total acquiescence to the former TLC Chairman and former Mayor Bloomberg’s poorly devised attacks on the taxi industry. A lawsuit filed by drivers objecting to this forced tax said: “In exchange for the forced $10 million in contributions to the NYTWA’s coffers, the drivers receive ‘healthcare’ services that include neither true healthcare coverage nor services that the drivers are force to pay for.”
Bhairavi Desai is also a devoted advocate for the “Cuba, Palestine, and El Salvador solidarity movements.” These “solidarity” movements are largely anti-American — and the types of places many of her member drivers run away from to pursue their American dream. Hard-working cab drivers of New York City, often immigrants, come to this country to make a better life for their families, not to rail against the greatness of capitalism, but to pursue it. They are subject to a policy that lines the leadership coffers at their expense, much like the reasons Marxism failed globally.
Mayor de Blasio should take the helm as a strong captain and put every New Yorker on notice that racism – and Marxism – is out of bounds.
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