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To Fund a Political Rally, French Politician Turns to the Crowd

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 20 2013

Patrick Mennucci, on the Ulule page for Pour Marseille 2014.

Platforms like Kickstarter have gotten citizen activist movements off the ground around the world.  Yet in Marseille, France, this week, a local official started a funding campaign for a political engagement rally in the city, in what may be the one of the first instances of a political office using a commercial crowdfunding site. 

Patrick Mennucci, mayor of the city’s first secteur or administrative area, launched Pour Marseille 2014 on Monday through Ulule, a French crowdfunding site similar in function to Kickstarter. A relatively low funding goal, set at 5,665 euros, will go towards reserving Palais de Congrès in Marseille and environs for a large-scale rally on April 8. 

Though Mennucci is a member of France’s Socialist Party, one of the prevailing political factions in the country today, the aims of the rally are nominally nonpartisan. In a statement on the Ulule page [in French], Mennucci says that the rally is a first component of a larger movement for discussion and reform:

For too long, Marseille has been associated with a few things: shootings, political-judiciary scandals, political patronage...The image of our city has got to change.

Marseille was rocked by a series of shootings last year, related to gangs and drug trafficking in the city. 

Mennucci emphasizes that this will be a citizen-backed effort, saying private businesses and other interest groups are forbidden from donating.  The page also includes the invoice for renting the Palais space.  Two days into the campaign, the project is currently at 2 percent of its goal, though several weeks still remain. 

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