Many took this mild winter as evidence of the effects of global warming. What if instead this was an invitation; an invitation for urban dwellers to hibernate a little bit less, to be able to shake the cold from our bones a little quicker, to emerge from our pods and move together towards collective growth. What if these warmer days was nature’s cue for us to restore some balance?
It is time for the Brooklyn Spring. December 2010 sparked an era known as the Arab Spring. Rebellions sprung up throughout the Arab world. Protests broke out in Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, Jordan, and Iraq. Rulers were forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. People hit the streets and there was widespread civil disobedience, strikes, demonstrations, marches and rallies. Young people used Twitter and other social media to organize, inspire and galvanize themselves into a collective voice speaking out against decades of repression.
What would Brooklyn’s version of the Arab Spring look like? I’m not sure but what I do know is that a battle has broken out. One battleground, the 12th Congressional District. Within these lines are some of the most culturally vibrant and politically progressive neighborhoods in NYC, possibly in the country, covering parts of: Bushwick, Williamsburg and Park Slope in Brooklyn, Greenpoint in Queens, and the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
In the 12th Congressional District a movement begins today, the first day of Spring. The goal is to get 5,000 people to sign a petition to put a truly progressive candidate on the ballot. Only 5,000 people in a district with 319,462. And this movement is not relying on raising five hundred thousand dollars, setting up four offices in the district, and paying random people to walk around with petitions for someone they could care less about. This is a DIY movement organized around the belief that when people gather around a collective cause, there is a power that no corporate or government institution can counter.
Springtime is a time of transcending what we thought was possible. If just the citizens of mythical Brooklyn gathered during these next ten days and successfully put a candidate on the ballot with close to no money, it would change the political conversation across the country. How would this change what is possible in electoral politics across the country? What would it mean to shout out “Brooklyn” then?