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Cheffing up a Solution: Block by Block Political Strategy

August 2, 2013
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The Honorable George Martinez aka Rithm of the Global Block Foundation. First MC elected to political office. Registered as a US Cultural Ambassador to Latin America.

When New York’s Village Voice inked him for a cover story, I knew he still had some political juice. The Honorable George Rithm Martnez is not that cat. He’s a different strain of cat, comfortable in different spaces. Whereas other people’s personalities are unable to adapt, he is. This makes him very valuable. Especially to underserved communities.

 

George doesn’t stray far from his values. The emotion the Village Voice reporter writes about so incredulously comes from a real investment into the ideal. If given the opportunity, by that I mean fully resourced, most of the poor citizens conservative talk radio regularly  condemns would triumph in life’s game of monopoly.

 

We were on conference call this last Tuesday. Florida, where he resides is having a demonstration of democracy inside the state capital. Approximately 35 brave human beings are attempting to force a conversation about the “Stand Your Ground” Law and racial programming. After 200 hours of occupation, the Gov. Rick Scott refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of The Dream Defenders. He is not going to call for a special session.

 

Supreme Life Givers’ Director, Francisco Garcia participated in the conference call.

 

“Remember to put the elephant into the room,” George said. He was making reference to messaging for the Walk. It is the mobilization of People that is going to inspire communication with the nationally elected leadership. People, not just voters. People. There’s a lot to be said about having People present.

 

We tried to discuss why the current massive campaign orchestrated by Share Our Strength didn’t work. The Food Network, Jeff Bridges and several name-brand food products conspired to bombard the American public with a well-orchestrated campaign. Awareness was raised, yet, no action was inspired. Over social media, we saw the popular Jeff Bridges meme of him stating “If another country was doing this to America, we’d be up in arms by now.“

This is what we think. The production was too well done. Sorta like the common sense argument about spending the same money you would on the commercial by just giving it to the service organization. Jeff Bridges is a rich man in the average American’s mind. He knows other rich people. If “they” really wanted to end poverty, all they needed to do was get together and end poverty.

 

Especially if they have mighty media outlet like Food Network. This was the recipe for a perfect storm. The idea is beautiful. The question is: Why didn’t it work?

 

We don’t know. We can only guess, like everyone else is guessing. The answer we come with: there was no clear ask. The average American was not told step by step what was needed from them to help feed 31 million hungry American children.

 

We need to organize families to be able to care for families. We need to help people access the opportunities that exist where they live. The American Dream is not teachable. The American Dream is experienced.

Here’s what George brainstormed.

” You gotta make the call for policy changes viable and the political threat feasible. If the average American cannot participate, what is the point?” he asks.

 

“Bum Rush The Vote” – created by George Rithm Martinez (NYC)

“Objective: Building a do it yourself direct democracy engine to return political power back into the hands of the people”

 

Employ a Block By Block Method to organizing communities in a very organic fashion. Slick programming feels just like that: slick. It doesn’t  feel authentic. We are asking for communities to create internal governance structures that work for them. In other words: We don’t need the police, we can police ourselves. We don’t need McDonald’s when we have grandmas kitchen.

 

Ending child hunger through an integrated community development and growth strategy:

Growing community = GRO PWR (GrassRootsOrganizing Power) 

 

Peoples Assembly System – This is an effective tactic successfully developed through the Occupy Movement. It is democracy for the 21st Century, where consensus is the governing model and you keep working on an idea until you receive everyone’s buy-in. This grows community in a manner that is based on emotional identity bonds, not economic ones. Trust is the currency.

 

Work/ Action Committees – Once the emotional identity bonds are built and people trust each other, we grow community through relevant issue/community based work and direct actions. We seek to answer the question: What can we tackle first with the resources immediately at hand to make our community better – right now?

 

Resource management – For example, if the decision is made to take over a vacant lot and turn it into a community garden, this is not a one time get-together. This is an on-going commitment. A garden has to be maintained. And, if the lot is challenged, it has to be defended.

 

 

Now, when it comes to keeping elected officials focused on our agenda, we have to employ specific tactics.

 

“Electoral Direct Action Strategy” to Drive the Agenda to End Child Hunger

 

1- Bottom Up Voter Registration – This is every citizen’s entry point into the formal electoral processes.

 

2- Candidate Pledges – All movements have a “clear message” which is communicated to elected officials and policy makers. Those who read By2015’s clarion call to address child hunger receive our love and support. We also support them for the 2014 Congress.

 

3- Voter Pledges – Public officials are not the only ones who need to be encouraged through this process. The entire spectrum of voters, from those voting for the first time to those ‘super-voters’ need to be reminded of the issue and what they can do every step of the way to ensure child hunger becomes a major issue during next year’s election.


4- Issue / needs based direct actions – These actions raise awareness, build solidarity and grow political leverage. They also offer avenues for more “in your face” style pressure activities.

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