[Learn more about Tiffany’s campaign here.]
Red Net: Please give us 2-4 sentences about who you are and why you’re running.
Tiffany Cabán: My name is Tiffany Cabán and I’m a Queens born and raised abolitionist, socialist, organizer, activist, former public defender, and Queer Latina. I am running for New York City Council in the 22nd District because I love this community and this is where the work is. We are at the intersection of co-occurring crises from a global pandemic to state-sanctioned violence and climate change and this moment demands political imagination to build the world we all deserve. I’m running to end the carceral system, establish a care economy, and implement a Green New Deal for New York City to make sure the people most impacted by the inequities in our society are centered in the transformative solutions we champion.
RN: What does democratic socialism mean to you? What would that look like at a city level/in New York City?
TC: I believe the cornerstone of socialism is a government run by working people through a democratic process in pursuit of a caring and equitable economy — one that prioritizes the holistic health of all people over profits for the few. It also means the intentional dismantling of racialized capitalism in order to promote equity and decommodify access to our basic human rights. At the city level, it looks like defunding and disbanding the police to fully fund safe and healthy communities. It means people over profit, public power, a public bank, and housing every single New Yorker.
RN: What are one or two big issues facing New York City that you’re passionate about? How would you like to see the Council tackle these issues?
TC: I am running on an unapologetically abolitionist public health and public safety platform. That necessarily means defunding the police, and investing in the true sources of safety in our communities. We just released our public safety plan which is a roadmap to empower people, not police, to lead with care and keep our communities safe. It focuses on centering impacted voices, putting people to work in their own neighborhoods, and uplifting community-based initiatives.
I worked in partnership with movement leaders, experts, and community members to develop this new vision for public safety. You can check it out here.
Additionally, I know that climate justice is racial justice, and we are fighting to bring a Green New Deal to Queens. Rikers Island, right here in District 22, is a perfect example of that. Our current Council recently voted on the Renewable Rikers Act, the first step towards transitioning the island from a jail into a renewable energy facility.
In turning Riker’s Island into a renewable energy facility, we will start repairing the harm done to Black and brown low income communities that have borne the brunt of both mass incarceration and the worst health outcomes in our city due to pollution. It would open the door to good, green union jobs for our community members as well as take the first step toward proactively fighting against the climate crisis that threatens our City and District 22.
The next Council is going to have to get that over the finish line, and I am eager to help lead that charge.
RN: What are the biggest organizational challenges that the NYC-DSA and insurgent campaigns like these need to overcome in order to succeed?
TC: We are challenging establishments that have been around for decades. We are up against big corporate money, police unions, the prison industrial complex, political dynasties, and, frankly, corruption.
But, here’s the thing. All of those forces can be overcome, if we out-organize our opponents. And we will out-organize them. The status quo is not working for working families in New York City, and massive political transformations are possible if we do the work and build movements.
RN: What are you most looking forward to in the campaign process?
TC: I am most looking forward to further connecting with my neighbors here in District 22 and building energy around our big, bold, transformative…and possible vision. Now more than ever, I am looking forward to electoral organizing. Movement campaigns can and should always be a vehicle for organizing. The political moment we are in is a bubble-bursting moment. It is a window of opportunity to radicalize, mobilize, and to organize for solutions scaled to the problems we face. To bypass reform and incremental change and both demand and achieve bold transformative change right now we are doing the work to create the conditions to be able to go into Council and effectively champion defunding the police, bringing a Green New Deal to New York City, and so many other policies that will transform this City for working class New Yorkers.