Filming a Social Movement

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“If you put passion and organization together, we can overcome any of these candidates who have all the money but really lack ideas… The middle class is decimated. It’s time for a new movement in this country – the justice movement.” —Rocky Anderson

In a September 2011 Gallup poll 55% of those polled supported the idea that a third major party is needed on the American political scene. According to Gallup, “Despite American’s attitudes, no third-party candidate who garners a significant level of support has emerged….” In most countries several political party candidates are voted upon during presidential elections.

In the summer of 2011 Rocky worked with Ralph Nader, Daniel Ellsberg, and Author, Chris Hedges planning democratic primary campaigns to oppose Obama for the Democratic Party nomination.

These challenges in state primaries would serve two purposes: To push President Obama on issues needing more attention than a middle of the road approach and challenge the President on his right of the road stance during Democratic primaries and debates. By giving the President opportunities to debate during the year during Democratic Primaries the group felt the Democratic Party would get more airtime with media so as not to fall behind Republicans while they embarked in televised debates.

Although a promising idea, one by one potential primary candidates bowed out of the plan except Rocky. Then executive director of High Road for Human Rights, a non-profit that he started after leaving the Mayor’s office, Rocky began pitching the idea of a new political party. Anderson hoped to attract disenchanted members of both parties, independents, and Occupy members with the help of social media.

When Rocky formed his party those powerful liberals he had felt were behind him, excepting Ralph Nader, deserted him. Even Luke, Rocky’s son would not support his father’s endeavor.

As we follow Rocky Anderson on his quixotic quest building the Justice Party, we experience first hand the difficulties of third party  creation. As he meets with his initial steering committee in Washington, DC we film as it falls apart when members can’t agree on whether to use Roberts Rules of order or “twinkle” hand signals used by Occupy.

Rocky trudges on, with us being the fly on the wall during his campaign travels. A Charismatic Candidate. Rocky’s optimism inspires youth ready for action, cable news media and women of all ages.

Young web savvy volunteers begin building a foundation of party members using Facebook and Twitter. The doldrums of the never-ending Republican Debates give cable news impetus to seek out new blood — Rocky becomes a frequent guest and livens up the political news shows. Rocky travels across the country campaigning in coffee shops schools and churches. As a single man, Rocky, with his Jimmy Stewart drawl, attracts middle aged and younger women nationwide to volunteer for his campaign. With no campaign finances, volunteers often camped at Rocky’s home.

Rocky becomes one of the top four candidates in the Americans Elect online campaign. His party gets on the ballot in 15 states; he is nominated for other parties already on the ballot in another 10 states. The Justice Party achieves write in status in all but four states for which he was not on the ballot. His campaign raises $84,000 (Rocky refuses all corporate donations and caps donations to $100 from any individual).

When Americans Elect cancels their online campaign half way through campaign season, third party candidates had to work harder to galvanize support. In the fall of 2012 Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein (Green Party’s Candidate) were invited to debate Obama and Romney via a Democracy Now special broadcast. The show, which streamed online and aired on Link TV, used time delay to allow Anderson and Stein to answer the same questions posed to Obama and Romney. Democracy Now aired shows for all three Presidential Debates and the Vice-Presidential Debate. Over 20,000 viewers watched the debates stream online.

In October 2012 Larry King moderated a televised debate hosting the four top third party candidates in Chicago. Included where Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the Constitution Party’s Virgil Good and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson. The debate was broadcast on Link TV, Al Jazeera English and C-Span.

Viewers wondered where these candidates had been during the past year – they finally were getting media attention and speaking about issues American’s wanted addressed, but were missing from the two party horse race.

On November 3rd Ralph Nader moderated a debate with the same top four third party candidates at Busboys and Poets, Washington, DC. During an interview after the debate Nader said he believed Rocky Anderson is the Nation’s greatest hope for a progressive candidate that could go the distance and possibly get real attention in 2016. But that’s another show.

Promo

This is a prelude of the Gavry & Monroe Documentary series centered on Rocky Anderson, former Salt Lake City Mayor and 2012 Justice Party nominee for President.  “Spring 2007” is a promo for a feature length documentary about Rocky’s history of fighting the good fight, standing up – when most people prefer to stand by.

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Who is Rocky Anderson?

Rocky at Hard Rock Cafe DCUnlike many elected officials, Rocky is not afraid to speak out against injustice.  As Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah he not only fixed potholes in the streets, he sought immigration reform, marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, adopted the Kyoto Protocols, promoted restorative justice in prison systems, and was against the war on drugs. Rocky did not go unnoticed by national and international progressives.

During his two terms as Salt Lake City Mayor Anderson (2000-2008), Rocky was the only major city mayor to publicly call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard Cheney.

Michael Moore called him “America’s Mayor” after Rocky testified for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney during a referendum in Washington State. The Nation magazine called him “America’s Newest Folk Hero” when Rocky led protests against George Bush while the President was in the Mayor’s town.

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News called him a Kook and traitor to the country. Utahans just call him Rocky.

Loved by the progressive residents of the capitol city, Rocky was disparaged  by conservative Utahans.  As filmmakers, this dynamic of  a progressive down-home western mayor living in a Red State intrigued us. We began filming him in 2007 to capture his last year in office as Mayor.  When 2008 rolled around we knew the story was just beginning.

And, why run for President?

Rocky railed against abuses of power he believed President Barak Obama was continuing under, what Rocky termed, “an Imperial Presidency” brought into being by the George W. Bush administration.

When Rocky Anderson quit the Democratic Party in August 2011 it was no surprise to many Utahans. His run for President in 2012 was to bring light to the fact that the Democratic and Republican Parties had become parties feeding from the same trough of corporate power.

For more information on Rocky Anderson check out his Wiki.

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About the Series

Poster Mr. Smith Goes to Washingtion
Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Rocky’s character reminds one of Frank Capra’s Classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Rocky is a man who will not back down from his ideals.

Former Salt Lake Mayor, Rocky Anderson quit the Democratic Party in August 2011 saying “both parties have helped sustain the corrupt system and have been sustained by … the corrupting influence of money….”  Anderson felt the choices available for President did not reflect what the majority of Americans really wanted from their elected officials. Later He helped form the Justice Party going on to win the party’s nomination. The party platform centered on economic justice, social justice and environmental justice for all.  He proclaimed it time to start the Justice Movement and reclaim the values that founded a “once great nation.”

The 2012 Presidential Campaign run by Rocky Anderson is the vehicle the filmmakers used to explore processes third party candidates encounter when trying to get on ballots, get in debates, get funding and promote their platforms.

The series features interviews and verite segments of Rocky involved with Daniel Ellsberg (Released Pentagon Papers), Ralph Nader (Consumer Advocate), Katrina van den Heuval (Editor/Publisher The Nation Magazine), Richard Dreyfus (Actor/Professor), Bill McKibbon (Science Writer -350.org), Mary Mapes (Producer, broke Abu Ghraib and Bush National Guard Story; later fired by CBS), John Conyers (Congressman), Dennis Kucinch (Congressman), Jill Stein (Green Party) Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) plus many equally famous people and those not so famous as they work together and consider the crucial issues of our time.

Rocky’s decision to run for president was not one he took lightly but one he decided was the only way he could continue to move his issues forward and hopefully get traction with media attention. He felt with the Arab Spring and Occupy, citizens of the United States were ready to start a Justice Movement of their own.

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Filming a Social Movement

“If you put passion and organization together, we can overcome any of these candidates who have all the money but really lack ideas… The middle class is decimated. It’s time for a new movement in this country – the justice movement.” —Rocky Anderson

In a September 2011 Gallup poll 55% of those polled supported the idea that a third major party is needed on the American political scene. According to Gallup, “Despite American’s attitudes, no third-party candidate who garners a significant level of support has emerged….” In most countries several political party candidates are voted upon during presidential elections.

In the summer of 2011 Rocky worked with Ralph Nader, Daniel Ellsberg, and Author, Chris Hedges planning democratic primary campaigns to oppose Obama for the Democratic Party nomination.

These challenges in state primaries would serve two purposes: To push President Obama on issues needing more attention than a middle of the road approach and challenge the President on his right of the road stance during Democratic primaries and debates. By giving the President opportunities to debate during the year during Democratic Primaries the group felt the Democratic Party would get more airtime with media so as not to fall behind Republicans while they embarked in televised debates.

Although a promising idea, one by one potential primary candidates bowed out of the plan except Rocky. Then executive director of High Road for Human Rights, a non-profit that he started after leaving the Mayor’s office, Rocky began pitching the idea of a new political party. Anderson hoped to attract disenchanted members of both parties, independents, and Occupy members with the help of social media.

When Rocky formed his party those powerful liberals he had felt were behind him, excepting Ralph Nader, deserted him. Even Luke, Rocky’s son would not support his father’s endeavor.

As we follow Rocky Anderson on his quixotic quest building the Justice Party, we experience first hand the difficulties of third party  creation. As he meets with his initial steering committee in Washington, DC we film as it falls apart when members can’t agree on whether to use Roberts Rules of order or “twinkle” hand signals used by Occupy.

Rocky trudges on, with us being the fly on the wall during his campaign travels. A Charismatic Candidate. Rocky’s optimism inspires youth ready for action, cable news media and women of all ages.

Young web savvy volunteers begin building a foundation of party members using Facebook and Twitter. The doldrums of the never-ending Republican Debates give cable news impetus to seek out new blood — Rocky becomes a frequent guest and livens up the political news shows. Rocky travels across the country campaigning in coffee shops schools and churches. As a single man, Rocky, with his Jimmy Stewart drawl, attracts middle aged and younger women nationwide to volunteer for his campaign. With no campaign finances, volunteers often camped at Rocky’s home.

Rocky becomes one of the top four candidates in the Americans Elect online campaign. His party gets on the ballot in 15 states; he is nominated for other parties already on the ballot in another 10 states. The Justice Party achieves write in status in all but four states for which he was not on the ballot. His campaign raises $84,000 (Rocky refuses all corporate donations and caps donations to $100 from any individual).

When Americans Elect cancels their online campaign half way through campaign season, third party candidates had to work harder to galvanize support. In the fall of 2012 Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein (Green Party’s Candidate) were invited to debate Obama and Romney via a Democracy Now special broadcast. The show, which streamed online and aired on Link TV, used time delay to allow Anderson and Stein to answer the same questions posed to Obama and Romney. Democracy Now aired shows for all three Presidential Debates and the Vice-Presidential Debate. Over 20,000 viewers watched the debates stream online.

In October 2012 Larry King moderated a televised debate hosting the four top third party candidates in Chicago. Included where Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the Constitution Party’s Virgil Good and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson. The debate was broadcast on Link TV, Al Jazeera English and C-Span.

Viewers wondered where these candidates had been during the past year – they finally were getting media attention and speaking about issues American’s wanted addressed, but were missing from the two party horse race.

On November 3rd Ralph Nader moderated a debate with the same top four third party candidates at Busboys and Poets, Washington, DC. During an interview after the debate Nader said he believed Rocky Anderson is the Nation’s greatest hope for a progressive candidate that could go the distance and possibly get real attention in 2016. But that’s another show.

A documentary / web series