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United States: Minneapolis Socialist campaign chimes with voters
Socialist Alternative member Ginger Jentzen is contesting a ward in the Minneapolis city council elections - similar in size to UK parliamentary constituencies - on 7 November. Ginger's socialist policies and grassroots support have rattled the Democrat establishment, which has attempted to besmirch the campaign. Seraphina Cobeen recently wrote a report of the campaign for socialistalternative.org - which we reproduce in part below.
Every day volunteers for the Ginger Jentzen campaign are knocking on doors throughout Minneapolis' Ward 3 neighbourhoods, where working people and youth are facing skyrocketing rents and looking for an alternative to the developer-driven agenda that has long dominated city hall.
These volunteers have heard stories of displacement and low wage jobs, along with the fear of Trump's right-wing agenda affecting the city and ward.
One volunteer recently met someone who was moving boxes as she approached their door. They told her that they were moving out of the duplex they had been renting because rents kept rising. Unable to afford the rent in Minneapolis, they had decided to move out of the city. "They told me they had moved every year recently, trying to avoid the rising rents," said the volunteer, "but they were glad to see that Ginger was fighting back so that hopefully their friends would be able to avoid their fate."
The establishment is fearful of the positive reception for our campaign and is pouring corporate 'Pac' (political action committee) money into the race to try to fight against it.
One resident spoke to a volunteer, Tyler, a few days after she voted early. She had voted for Ginger but after having read an article that day in the paper that attacked the Ginger Jentzen campaign was doubting her decision. She told Tyler that she was worried Ginger wouldn't be able to work well with other members of council.
Tyler explained that the victory of passing the $15 an hour minimum wage that summer showed how Ginger and movements of working people could get things done. "Once I told her how the establishment was scared of our movement and that it was movement building that got $15 passed she started to agree again. It was movement building, working with other activist groups, that pressured city council into almost unanimously passing $15 despite them being against it at first," Tyler said.
At the end she donated to the campaign, like hundreds of other Minneapolis voters, knowing that those donations were one of the best ways to fight back against the developers and establishment that are trying to scare voters away from fighting back.
Minneapolis is known for affordable housing but developers want to turn it into another San Francisco in order to make huge profits. Voters are noticing their rising rents and many voters point to recent luxury apartments or nearby planned developments as the cause.
This is why Ginger's slogan of "not for sale" has drawn in so many volunteers and donors from Minneapolis. Her refusal to take corporate or developer money, and only take donations from ordinary people has inspired voters across the ward.
The developers are trying to buy the election with huge pacs flooding money into races across the city, and against Ginger's campaign. Instead of being scared, voters continue to donate money to Ginger, because they want to donate to the socialist who's fighting back against the big developers.
Students make up a big portion of the ward and are also ready to fight back. They see the connection between the fights against the developers and the resistance against Trump. These students are inspired by former left-wing Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' call for a "political revolution", and are excited that Ginger is another socialist who's not for sale.
On campus many students took whiteboard photos with their own reasons for supporting Ginger. Some say that they're on #TeamGinger because "she is not a corporate puppet" or that "we need rent control."
These students recognise Trump as the 'developer-in-chief' and are making the connection between the billionaire-backed administration in the White House and the profit-driven agenda of big developers in Minneapolis that is raising rents for them.
They're tired of the status quo, of 'politics as usual', and are excited by the idea of an activist in office, a socialist who rejects corporate money, and can actually fight back against the establishment.
- More articles and the election result at socialistalternative.org
In The Socialist 8 November 2017:
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