On June 26, Occupy Wall Street‘s George Martinez lost his bid to represent Brooklyn’s new 7th congressional district. He issued the following statement.
I would like to thank our supporters, and the voters of the 7th Congressional District for the privilege and honor to run as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. Congratulations to the winner of the primary, Representative Nydia Velazquez.
Campaigns themselves are a part of a serious, long-term, citizen engagement strategy, and an effective tool for Occupy to move community empowerment initiatives forward. I am proud to have participated.
Bum Rush The Vote successfully completed its inaugural campaign achieving remarkable success; it put forth a first time congressional candidate and Occupy Wall Street activist, with the aim of inspiring people to take back our political institutions—by getting money out of politics and putting people in.
Against all odds—the giants of corporately controlled, political machines, and the ballot challenges and attempts at voter suppression that come with them—we forged through and created a new space for transformational hopefulness with measurable results.
We accomplished all of the goals we set out to meet!
1. BUILD A PEOPLE’S MACHINE: Despite redistricting, uncertain primary dates and rules, we successfully collected three times the signatures legally required to get on the primary ballot, while raising less than the FEC monetary report minimum.
2. INSPIRE OTHERS: We opened a new front for electoral direct action in order to inspire a movement of others to run themselves. Bum Rush The Vote has already filed a second candidate for this year’s state assembly race in New York’s 57th Assembly District—Jelani Mashariki.
3. GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS BY PUTTING PEOPLE IN: In two months, we raised approximately 1% ($7,000) of the total amount spent by the winner ($659,000), a 20 year democratic incumbent, and obtained 3% of the vote to her 58%. Our dollar to vote ratio is significantly better and we were by far the most efficient and engaging campaign.
4. MOVE THE AGENDA FORWARD: With a Village Voice cover story, major media appearances, and a grueling street effort, we influenced 20-year democratic incumbent, Nydia Velazquez, to use the language of Occupy despite her overwhelming corporate backing; Rep. Velazquez sent out a mailing that read, “My job is to represent the interests of the 99%.”
Bum Rush the Vote was originally envisioned as a multi-year plan to reclaim our democracy at the hands of the 99%, by building a DIY democracy model that was crowd funded and open sourced, but was most of all replicable through neighborhoods every where—and we are well on our way.
There will be a mainstream tendency to marginalize the impact of this first inaugural race, especially when analyzed through the status quo lenses of the bankrupt political system. But with more candidates coming forth, and a clear and immediate impact on the New York political establishment, we know that we are getting stronger and we’ve only just begun. This is a movement geared towards building foundation, as we simultaneously move forward through action.
This was never about quick fixes, for there are no easy solutions to empowering marginalized communities. There is only hard work, dedication and innovation. Bum Rush will continue this summer with voter registration, people’s assemblies, candidate recruitment, and issue literacy. In New York, Jelani Mashariki, co-founder of the Global Block Foundation, will Bum Rush The Vote for the open seat in the 57th Assembly District to replace outgoing assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.
This is a Bum Rush, we are running up the halls of power, and we cannot be ignored.
2012 Candidate, U.S. House of Representatives, NY 7
Founder, Global Block Foundation