Making New York Dominican: Small Business, Politics, and Everyday Life

By Christian Krohn-Hansen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
In Search of Dignity

The previous chapter examined forms of political culture and activism in a part of New York’s Dominican community. The objective of this chapter is the same, but it will focus not on the Dominican supermarket owners but on those Dominicans who belong to the city’s livery industry, examining forms of political activity and collective action among Dominican livery drivers in the years from around 1998 onward.

In this chapter, I want first to document that Dominican livery- cab drivers have remained politically active. I have previously shown that Dominican livery drivers took part in a set of political struggles in the city in the 1980s; they participated in organized resistance against the authorities’ attempts to obtain stronger and more efficient control over the industry. After 1998, New York’s livery industry saw the emergence of two new interest organizations. Both fought to improve the working and living conditions for the city’s livery cab drivers, and both were headed and controlled by Dominicans: the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers (the more visible and high profiled) and the New York City For- Hire Base Group. While a large proportion of the federation’s members were Dominican drivers who belonged to liverycab operations in the Bronx and Brooklyn, the New York City For- Hire Base Group was almost exclusively based in Upper Manhattan and a few pockets of West Bronx. After 1998, New York’s Dominican livery drivers strengthened their political position; they managed more than before to make themselves heard— in brief, they came to a greater extent to constitute a political voice in the city.

Second, I want to show the strikingly high degree of contact that existed between leaders and representatives of the Dominican livery sector and a number of New York’s elected officials. This chapter, thus, continues to employ ethnography to document the existence and the significance of a set of

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Making New York Dominican: Small Business, Politics, and Everyday Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Part - I 29
  • Chapter 1 - From Quisqueya to New York City 31
  • Chapter 2 - Origin Stories 47
  • Part II 91
  • Chapter 3 - From Bodegas to Supermarkets 93
  • Chapter 4 - From Livery Cabs to Black Cars 134
  • Part III 171
  • Chapter 5 - Dominicans and Hispanics 173
  • Chapter 6 - Up against the Big Money 201
  • Chapter 7 - In Search of Dignity 230
  • Conclusion 264
  • Notes 269
  • References 285
  • Index 299
  • Acknowledgments 310
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