EXTRA EXTRA! Read all about it! ManifestoFF Alumni, Henk Conn, director of Occupy Los Angeles, went on to run for Mayor of Long Beach! Read about his epic journey here! And remember to fight for what you believe is right!
From Henk to us:
I ran for the mayor of Long Beach CA. The current mayor was unopposed. He had raised $400,000 and in the newspapers it was a surprise that in a city of 500,000 people no one wanted to run. My brother had died three months earlier. My mom died six months before that. The mayor of long beach was and is gentrifying the city quickly and our homeless population was and is skyrocketing. I raised a total of $800 and decided to run. The city made jokes about me. It was just the mayor and me. I knocked on thousands of doors, went to community events. I got 8,300 votes and the mayor got about 30,000 votes. I ran for six months, I advocated for rent control, helping the homeless, and making the bus system free to help poor people and help the environment. It was indeed the most rebellious and righteous thing I ever did. I was interviewed by a local radio show and they asked me, why am I running? Off the top of my head I just started talking about how my family died (3 brothers and my mom) and why it’s important to live in remembrance of those people and to fight to make the world a better place. I got the radio station to send me the interview. I put stills to the audio and made a video. I was proud that I touched upon something that we all share, loss and poverty, which can motivate us to rebel for people who are in need.
It’s short, 4 minutes. As a socialist and an organizer I think it tells a great story of how rebellion can come from desperation.
When I announced my campaign, the mayor sent a mutual friend to talk me out of running. They offered me a committee position. Stated if I didn’t run the city wouldn’t have to pay $250,000 on printing the ballots. The idiots sent me texts, I copied them and sent them to the press. They had also offered a quid pro quo offer to another candidate and he took the offer. The paper hired a lawyer to see if they broke campaign laws. They determined not. One newspaper printed the mayor was running unopposed and many people thought there wouldn’t be an election. I asked for a correction and they declined. Several people sent hostile and threatening messages to my wife via Facebook; me as well but that was expected. The mayor and I were invited to 12 community events for the election and mayor didn’t show because he didn’t want to be photographed with me, or seen in the same room. I printed t-shirts with the money I raised. Many people wrote me and said they wore it everyday before the election. I knew I was going to lose. But I wanted to be a wholesome role model, maybe get people to run for politics that aren’t in politics? I would sincerely love it you shared with political film maker types. It would be an absolute moment of gratification if you found a way to show it as a buffer, on or off the printed schedule. People need to rise up, we need a “Manifesto”, a calling for social equality and environmental resistance to our extinction. Thank you. It is forever a proud fact that you showed my film in the city I love. I think about this often.