CAAAV is a 36+ year old organization. At critical junctures, we need to assess and sharpen our organizational strategy. From 2019-2021, CAAAV ran a rigorous process to do just that. Here are some of the major outcomes and shifts from that process:
First, this is our sharpened understanding of CAAAV’s purpose and strategy: CAAAV’s purpose is to develop the leadership of working class Asian immigrants to make a significant intervention in the gentrification of NYC by building neighborhood power in Chinatown and Queens. Chinatown and Queens are places where Asian immigrants are one of the driving forces of the working class, and could potentially shift the long-term political landscape of the city. Our strategy is to build neighborhood power to:
- defend our neighborhoods by fighting against speculative development;
- fight for more housing for the working class in these neighborhoods;
- build enough power to constrict our opposition, the real estate industry.
Based on our thinking about our neighborhoods, our long-term strategy, our opposition in the real estate industry, and the ways gentrification has changed and shifted in this current moment, we’ve decided that:
We are closing our public housing organizing in Queensbridge and nearby complexes, which started in 2015.
We have exhausted our base building in public housing, and we still don’t have enough power. The driving force for the privatization of public housing is the gentrification of the whole neighborhood, and the only solution is neighborhood-wide power.
Instead, we are building a new CAAAV base in Astoria!
Just a short walk away from Queensbridge, Astoria has a huge concentration of working class Bangali immigrants – far more than the number of Asian tenants in public housing. We have the potential to build a fighting force against the gentrification of all of western Queens from this neighborhood. Our existing Bangali leaders are excited about this decision and will lead the growth of this new chapter.
We are bringing youth into membership and leadership in our neighborhood chapters.
Siloing youth members in their own chapter, with the goal of prioritizing their leadership, actually devalued and relegated their leadership to matters only concerning young people. With this change, youth members will be leading work in and for their whole neighborhoods.
We are doubling down on our efforts to pass the Two Bridges Community Plan in Chinatown.
Our community plan would severely curtail the ability of developers to use capital to speculate on our land and artificially push up rent in the neighborhood, and place control of development closer to our hands.
We are building our power in Astoria by taking on some of the biggest developers in the city, in a fight against Innovation QNS.
If this project is allowed to continue, Astoria will even more rapidly gentrify, away from a landing place for working class Bangali immigrants into an unrecognizable neighborhood for the wealthy. What appears as a single developer fight is truly a fight for the future of our neighborhood.