In the face of widespread and impassioned opposition from local politicians, progressive members of Congress, and ordinary New Yorkers, Amazon is reportedly having second thoughts about its plan to locate a second headquarters site in Long Island City.
"Can everyday people come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world's biggest corporations? Yes, they can," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) declared on Friday in response to the news, which was met with glee by advocacy groups that have opposed the New York government's deal with Amazon since it was unveiled in November.
"Bye, don't let the door hit you on your way out," wrote the North Brooklyn branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), echoing a sentiment that was shared across social media.
— NYCC (@nychange) February 8, 2019
Bye bye, Bezos! https://t.co/cQUiJtgKXh
— New York City DSA (@nycDSA) February 8, 2019
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"Our community's organizing is paying off! Let's keep it going!" added Make the Road New York, a state-level advocacy group.
Citing two anonymous sources familiar with the company's thinking, the Washington Post reported on Friday that Amazon "is reconsidering its plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City following a wave of opposition from local politicians."
"The company has not leased or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its commitment," the Post continued. "Unlike in Virginia—where elected leaders quickly passed an incentive package for a separate headquarters facility—final approval from New York state is not expected until 2020."
the Post attributes Amazon's hesitation to "a wave of opposition from local politicians," but you know those pols would not have said word one but for the tenants and working people of NYC getting organized and making demands https://t.co/wyKsjPg0vz
— Brendan O'Connor (@_grendan) February 8, 2019
When the details of the behind-closed-doors agreement the New York government made with Amazon were made public in November, as Common Dreams reported, critics immediately decried the deal as "corporate bribery" that would harm public housing projects and contribute to soaring inequality while handing the tech behemoth billions in taxpayer incentives.
In response to the Post's report, journalist David Dayen wrote simply: "Wow. People Power."
News that Amazon is considering backing out of its plan to build a new headquarters site in Queens comes just days after Democratic state Sen. Michael Gianaris—a fierce Amazon critic—was named to a board that has the power to veto the agreement.
"The Amazon deal is now officially on the rocks," former New York attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout wrote after Gianaris was appointed to the Public Authorities Control Board. "And that's 3 billion New York shouldn't ever spend on [Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos' feudalism machine."
"Economic development has been badly broken in New York for some time," Teachout concluded, "but this proposed deal is grotesque in its scope and audacity."