[NEW YORK, NY] George Martinez, a Brooklyn native, hip-hop artist and seasoned Occupy Wall Street activist has announced his candidacy for Brooklyn’s 7th Congressional District. In a clear statement honoring Occupy Wall Street’s non-partisan process, an autonomous parallel movement calling itself “Bum Rush The Vote” has announced it’s intentions to grab political seats using the same grassroots guerrilla campaigning strategies that quickly catapulted the Occupy message from New York’s financial district onto the international stage. George Martinez is the first of several Occupier candidates pursuing public office under the “Bum Rush The Vote” campaign banner. In the June 26 Democratic primary he will be challenging Nydia Velazquez whose tenure as a New York representative has spanned two decades.
A New Campaigning Model
The Occupy Wall Street camps inspired a global movement of decentralized local assemblies in which people shared stories, resources, and skill sets. As the encampments were met with eviction from authorities the tents and books were scattered but the inertia of the camp’s affinity groups remained. As if one were to whack a hornet nest, the hive was damaged but the collective was sent out into the world with a renewed zeal to challenge systemic injustice. These “Post-Camp” Occupy groups restructured themselves around shared skills or specific issues, and the remainder were a wide spectrum of affinities with varied politics and tactics ranging from groups of advocates on the street who embraced property destruction to parallel movements like Bum Rush The Vote who set their sights on occupying public office as a direct action. Following the organizing template of Zuccotti Park, Bum Rush The Vote relies on a crowd-sourced method of campaigning by pooling the resources of graphic designers, photographers, experts in viral social media campaigns, artist relations, and street teams of D.I.Y. campaigners to move their message to contstituents. Moreover, Bum Rush The Vote is a creativity-driven campaign aimed at spending time with constituents and implements this through staging cultural community events such as pop up concerts, neighborhood clean-ups, anti-stop-and-frisk actions, and guerilla gardening efforts in regions within the 7th district most plagued by inadequate access to healthy food. “How do we do it? Our resources come directly from our people” say’s Martinez’s Deputy Campaign Manager Cecily McMillan, “George’s campaign team is made up of volunteers …Occupy volunteers! Canvassers have petitioned for over 3000 signatures, while we’ve had individuals and small businesses donate space and resources for meetings and fundraisers.”
Money Out / Voters In
George Martinez and Bum Rush The Vote are hoping to create a new model of campaigning that eschews large donations while placing importance on the power of individual constituents. Following Occupy Wall Street’s radically inclusive model of directly democratic organizing, Bum Rush The Vote aims to empower individual constituents while disempowering the role of money in politics. To do so they are leading by strict fiscal example, “We were told that it takes an average of 1.2 million dollars to run for congress,” says George Martinez “much of this comes from corporate backers. However, with less than $5,000, we made it on the primary ballot and even won a ballot challenge.” Bum Rush The Vote seeks to set an example through their campaigning model that you do not need money from corporate backers or special interests to win a race. “The resources are available in our communities to take back our government from the crooked and the ineffectual.” say’s Martinez, “It is time to take the power back from the people who think that political office is theirs to trade back and forth, and who sell their legislation to the highest bidder. This is a Bum Rush, we are running up to the halls of power, and we cannot be ignored!”
About George Martinez
George Martinez is an adjunct professor of political science at Pace University, a celebrated hip-hop emcee and founder of The Global Block Foundation. George is an active member of the End Corporatism Affinity Group of Occupy Wall Street and a primary organizer of Occupy Bed Stuy, Occupy Sunset Park and an active member of Occupy The Hood (a group whose nation-wide organizing with low income communities continues to be some of the most effective and celebrated work within the Occupy movement.) Outside of his Occupy resume George was the former District Leader (51st AD) and former Assistant Director for the NYS Attorney General. He is currently a member of U.S. Cultural Envoy to Latin America and Asia and a member of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. You can follow George on Twitter at @hongeomartinez
To request a fact sheet, high resolution photos, or to arrange an interview with George Martinez or a representative of his campaign please contact Deputy Campaign Manager Cecily McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at at (404) 468-1034. For more information on Bum Rush the Vote visit http://BumRushTheVote.net