Op-Ed: South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance Defends Perceived Biases

Ethan Lustig-Elgrably (1)

To the Editor:

South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance appreciates the coverage Kings County Politics provided for our 46th Assembly District Candidate Forum, but we must address some misconceptions.

As our mission statement asserts, we are “a grassroots affinity group focused on both electoral politics and social justice. We work to foster an informed and active electorate committed to holding elected officials accountable and challenging existing systems of power and oppression.” Toward that end, we have arranged forums to allow voters to hear directly from primary candidates, first for the Democratic primary for City Council District 43 in 2017, and this cycle for the 46th Assembly District. We do not endorse candidates as a group, although many of our members support different candidates as individuals. We are able to coexist in this way because what draws us together is our commitment to true democratic processes, so rare and imperiled at every level.

The South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance logo on their Facebook Page. They have two pages on their social media outlet. One is open and one is closed.

It is striking that Ethan Lustig-Elgrably, Councilman Mark Treyger, and their campaign appear so accustomed to the dishonest, unscrupulous politics-as-usual that have plagued Coney Island, where Treyger has had such outsized influence, that they have difficulty recognizing when everyday citizens are able to separate their own personal support for a candidate from a passion for a free and open democratic process.

In the article, Stephen Witt writes that “Team Lustig-Elgrably, sensing a political ambush, say their candidate is open to candidate forums and believes that they are a key part to the Democratic [sic] process, but the events must serve their purpose and be impartial and without agenda or bias.”

That is, in fact, precisely the event we organized, and had Lustig-Elgrably shown up, he would have been given the same time and platform as Dr. Mathylde Frontus to speak about his experiences and ideas, and to answer questions from and interact with the voters he seeks to win over. If his campaign had concerns about bias, why not communicate that immediately, rather than wait three weeks to respond to our outreach, claim to be unavailable, and then ultimately agree to exchange a question and video answer as part of SBPR’s continued attempts to facilitate both candidates’ participation, as we have gone out of our way to do?

In perceiving a fair and open forum as a trap or a threat, “Team Ethan” does three troubling things: They reveal their own cynicism about democracy; they project their own questionable political tactics onto a straightforward situation; and most distressingly, they betray a lack of confidence in their candidate’s ability to benefit from fairness, openness, and interaction with voters.

SBPR is not responsible for their campaign’s calculated misunderstanding of the situation, nor does our integrity depend on their recognition.

Sincerely,

Rachel Posner, Leadership Team Member, South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance

Editor’s Note: It is the policy of KCP to post all op-eds it receives with very few exceptions. The opinions expressed in these op-eds may or may not reflect the views of KCP.

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