February – June 2015
At the end of 2014 I was studying in Spain and I fell of a bridge. Literally. I had to return to Mexico to live with my parents while I got back on my feet. I didn't have much to do. One day a good friend tagged in a comment on this picture. It read "We need designers" and was posted in Pedro Kumamoto's Facebook page.
There were going to be local elections in 2015. Pedro was the first independent local congressman candidate in the history of Jalisco.
When it comes to politics, most people in Mexico are apathetic. People rarely want to talk about it unless it's about complaining. This is probably due to the vast distance between the constituents and the elected officials. In other words, people do NOT feel represented by the people they vote for.
For as long as I can remember, elections have been about deciding who is the least worst candidate. Political parties are more akin to a business bent on winning than a platform of ideas with shared policies and programs.
I had partaken in protests and a bit of activism before. When I found out about Pedro's candidacy I was intrigued. Wikipolítica Jalisco was founded in 2013. It is an organization with the purpose of bringing politics back to the people and placing people back into politics. Back then it had two branches, one in Mexico City and one in Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Pedro Kumamoto's campaign was just one of many projects.
So I hopped on to the independent candidacy train. It was a great decision.
The main objective was to make an ideal campaign: austere, close to the people, honest, and also very effective. We were going where political parties didn't dare. It felt very real, because it was driven by passion, a lot of intelligence, and believing in a cause. Our motto was #LosMurosSíCaen. We were all volunteers ready to bring down the barriers that separated regular people from the political class.
The question was simple: Do you feel represented? If not, then you should play a more active role in the community. Only by participating can we change the way our government works.
News media noticed it and it was refreshing to see a different way of doing politics. Being so young, down to earth, and seemingly-genuine, the campaign got a lot of hype. Local, national, and even some international media outlets wanted to know what was the next step.
The most beautiful thing of all real people doing real things in the street. The days of clicktivism were in the past, real agency was in our grasp.
For our creative content, we wanted to go where political parties wouldn't. Design-wise, illustration was the way to go. It wasn't realistic, but simple metaphors. It was somewhat minimalist, relaxed and cheery, but also with a hint of seriousness. We weren't playing a game.
At first it was the hands coming together and interweaving. A big boot trying to stomp you down, and resisting it. Faceless people (because it could be you, it could be anyone) reaching out and helping each other. We walked together, hand in hand, without fear. The omnipresent wall that kept us out. We pressed on and we enjoyed it.
Election day came and we were nervously excited. It began early in the morning, more than 400 people had been trained to be a voting station representative. It was a long day.
People came and voted. We remained, making sure no irregularities were committed. Making sure we weren't cheated out.
The sun went down, voting stations closed, and we counted ballots. Some voting stations finished before others. One message here said we won a voting station. Over there we won by a lot. Another said we won by a landslide. Every representative was sending photos of their individual results.
Meanwhile, at the campaign house, a couple of people were recieving the data and loading it on a spreadsheet in real time. Before anybody else, we knew. There was no doubt about it. We won.
So the seed has been planted. We had one exemplary victorious campaign. And up until now Pedro and his team have done a good job with #FueroNoJuicioSí and #SinVotoNoHayDinero, among other legislative initiatives. But more is yet to come.
A different kind of politics is seeping into the cracks of our institutions. People have big expectations for Pedro Kumamoto and Wikipolítica. Let's help fulfill them.