If you happened to have already read The Liberator's entry on Wikipedia (link), you already know that Marcus Harcus helped found this space called The Liberator. I'm happy to share the news that he is now running for City Council in Minneapolis, Minnesota (yes there are more black folks there than Prince and Kirby Puckett). Marcus is a upbeat, humble dude with a clear mind for organizing his community and seeing his people take control of their economic and political destiny. Here's a letter he sent out to campaign supporters this week [for more info and to donate visit www.marcusharcus.org]:
(Marcus Harcus) As you may know by now, I am running for City Council in the 4th Ward on the N/S of Minneapolis. I held a campaign launch meeting this past Saturday January 31st at the North Regional library on Lowry Ave North... I've encountered many doubters, disbelievers and discouragers, but they don't move me at all. The people who do move me are those men, women and youth who were with me at the library, and all of you who have expressed sincere encouragement and, or have actively contributed your knowledge, skills, time, energy and resources to this campaign.
It's not too difficult because I've had a collective consciousness for half of my young life, but I'm intentionally trying to avoid saying "my campaign," limit references to I and ME, and focus primarily on addressing issues that impact US and WE. I'm asking you to take some ownership in this campaign by investing a modest amount of time/energy and resources, if and when you can. "Yes we can!"
I'm running to help organize my community to dramatically increase civic participation by engaging our City government on an ongoing basis (government accountability), to effectively represent our common interests as a community (self-advocacy), and to collectively improve the social and economic conditions here in ways the government can't (community responsibility). I grew up on the Northside and am determined to make a significant, lasting difference here before I leave this brief life. I want the Northside reputation revitalized! Generally speaking, my overal goal as an electoral candidate is to be a political insurgent who usurps some local government power to powerfully addresses critical issues of equity, socio-economic justice, and government and community relations, rights and responsibilities. I'm going to give Northsiders attention from and access to City Hall like never before. This campaign will have many exciting moments but I'm not playing, because this is not a game for me. The competitive nature of electoral campaigns makes it feel like a sports championship series, but what's at stake is the quality of representative leadership our neighborhoods have in elected office.
I'm seeking the DFL nomination. As an historically non-partisan kind of guy, this process is brand new to me, but this is what I've recently learned and am planning...
The Minneapolis Precinct Caucuses will be held on March 3rd, less than 1 month from now. There are 13 Wards in Minneapolis, each represented by a City Council member and all by 1 Mayor. Each Ward has 10 precincts. Each Ward must elect delegates from all of it's precincts for the March 21st Ward Convention. At the Ward Convention the delegates who were elected at the Precinct Caucus will vote to nominate a City Council candidate.
The 4th Ward is only allowed 78 delegates this year based on low turn-out in this area during the 2005 City election year.
At the 4th Ward Precinct Caucus residents will attend a meeting for their respective precinct (4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-5, 4-7, 4-8, 4-9, & 4-10). In each Precinct meeting delegates will be elected for both the Ward Convention and the City Convention. Any Caucus attendee can nominate self or be nominated to be elected a delegate, including absentee Caucusers. On March 21st these delegates will hold the 4th Ward Convention to vote to nominate a City Council candidate. At the City Convention delegates from all 13 Wards will vote together to nominate a Mayoral candidate.
Any resident of voting age can attend their Precinct Caucuses as long as they claim DFL. Absentee Caucusing is allowed.
I've got a list of 110 "likely delegates" (+ maps and charts) based on past participation, which I'll work on, but I need your help getting new people involved. Sadly, the DFL isn't really passionately about recruiting new people to the process, so this truly is an insurgency because we're recruiting the "unlikely delegates."
Our strategy for the 4th Ward Precinct Caucus is to get at least 200 4th Ward residents to attend, get as many elected as delegates as possible and have them all recommend the nomination of yours truly (mh) for the 4th Ward City Council candidate at the Ward Convention on March 21st.
I need at least 50 volunteers during the month of February to commit to recruiting 10 4th Ward residents each. If half of these people show up or turn in Absentee ballots in time we could easily prevail with 250 voters Caucusing for Marcus Harcus (couldn't resist). You don't need to live over North to join this campaign.
We'll have precinct maps and voter lists for you. I'm meeting with the residents of the senior rental housing next week to reach out to older folks concentrated in small areas. Other than them, we will target 4th Ward residents between the ages of 18-40 to caucus. Remember, this exclusive targeting is just for the DFL nomination process. After March we are going to go door to door.
There is very little time to do this major organizing, so in all honesty, it is improbable, but small groups of people can and have changed the world, locally and globally, innumerous times throughout the history of humanity. I've got plenty of heart and need yours to colloborate with mine, because I cannot do this alone.
With the new Instant Runoff Voting system being implemented for the 2009 Minneapolis elections, the DFL nominations be prove to be irrelevant, but either gaining the nomination or blocking the entrenched incumbent from gaining it would be a major victory early in the campaign, an intensive momentum catalyst. Many donations and volunteers and the media will be greatly attracted.