Can Occupy Wall Street Trust Its Own Candidate?

Running for Congress, George Martinez calls himself the Occupiers' candidate. The rest of the movement isn't so sure.

"The way we're running this campaign, this is the political system saying to Occupy Wall Street: 'You've taught us something. We're going to see if we can make a difference. People want to see change take place. Let's try it.'"

And if it doesn't work? If Martinez loses, does that invalidate arguments that democracy in America isn't quite broken yet and good people can get elected without selling their souls to corporations?

"Of course not," McMillan says. "Most campaigns have far more time to prepare and organize than we have. If this doesn't work, we try again."

Running in the Democratic primary for New York’s Seventh Congressional District, George Martinez campaigns in Carroll Gardens with his deputy campaign manager, Cecily McMillan, herself a veteran Occupy Wall Street activist. Martinez says he’s the first Occupy Wall Street candidate 
to run for Congress.
Mark Hewko
Running in the Democratic primary for New York’s Seventh Congressional District, George Martinez campaigns in Carroll Gardens with his deputy campaign manager, Cecily McMillan, herself a veteran Occupy Wall Street activist. Martinez says he’s the first Occupy Wall Street candidate to run for Congress.
The media have focused on Occupy Wall Street’s street protests and the dramatic police response. But for many participants, the real strength of Occupy lies not in flashy street battles but in the community and structures for mutual aid—outside of conventional politics—that the movement nurtures.
C.S. Muncy
The media have focused on Occupy Wall Street’s street protests and the dramatic police response. But for many participants, the real strength of Occupy lies not in flashy street battles but in the community and structures for mutual aid—outside of conventional politics—that the movement nurtures.

It's precisely the sort of optimism that would likely make election skeptics like Jo Robin roll their eyes. But she says there's no choice but to be patient.

"I won't stand in the way of anyone trying to make this process work," Robin says. "But I think what we're going to see is more situations like Wisconsin, where people work very, very hard to use grassroots organizing and campaigning at the ballot box, and it's not going to work.

"A lot of people need to go through this a couple more times before they see what a failure it is. I'm OK with that—I had to do that, too. But many people involved in OWS know it doesn't work. And we'll be here waiting when the others come around, and we'll keep building these alternative models, so we're ready when the time comes."

npinto@villagevoice.com

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
 
Loading...