In 1920, New Yorkers elected a group of declared socialists to the state Assembly who were promptly expelled from the Legislature simply for being socialists. Fast forward more than a century, you’ll find a vocal and growing coalition of socialists working to implement their agenda in a state Legislature with Democratic supermajorities in both houses.

State Sen. Jabari Brisport, a member of the Socialist Caucus in the state Legislature, told Capital Tonight that the socialists are trying to “uplift working class New Yorkers, regardless of political affiliations” and that they are looking out “for the people and not the uber rich.”

Brisport, who is a registered Democrat but identifies as a socialist, said he became a socialist after looking into “racialized capitalism” which put “a price tag on things or people that shouldn’t have a price tag.”

The caucus, which is made up of eight members in the Legislature, mostly represent portions of New York City. In 2022, the caucus grew in size and geography when Sarahana Shrestha won a Hudson Valley Assembly seat. Brisport said the caucus will be pushing for policy items like universal child care, single payer healthcare and free public transportation during this budget and legislative session. However, the caucus has outlined their priorities on their website which you can find here.

On Thursday, the state Legislature passed and Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a budget extension bill which will allow negotiations to continue to at least April 4. Following the budget, the Legislature is scheduled to meet until they break on June 6.