“Hundred of People Were Just Arrested,” proclaims today’s headline from The Nation Magazine – while CNN, Fox News and other “major” media barely cover this amazing march, sit-in and civil disobedience on the Capitol steps.
The 140-mile march from the Liberty Bell in Philadephia to Washington D.C. was undertaken by hundreds; now ongoing sit-ins and arrests on the capital steps aim to end corruption in politics. The protests promise to be ongoing at least through the weekend with the coaltion named Democracy Awakening coming on site to join Democracy Spring this weekend.
Page after page of videos and articles are offered on Twitter #DemocracySpring.
Called the biggest act of civil disobedience in a generation, the ongoing surge of people from over 100 groups known as Democracy Spring is sitting at the Capitol five days; Democracy Awakening will appear on the weekend to continue to protest big money in politics and related issues including racial justice and gerrymandering.
Members of the two coalitions are getting arrested – 400 on the first day, more Day 2, now, Day 3, we’re told hundreds more are arrested. The call is for restoration (or creation of) a living democracy. Protestors vow to stay till Congress acts to end corruption of many kinds in government. – (whoa, howdy! What great optimists we have here!)
Twitter pages are amazing – so many videos; so many young high energy people! Yea! Go Millenials! I’m stoked.
The police said they’ve never arrested so many people, according to a guy at the Young Turk’s Twitter feed.
WolfPac, a group formed in 2010, is setting out to make it all real by creating the steps for our 50 states to ratify an amendment to our Constitution to end Citizens United. (rewatch Twitter/Young Turks bit).
This is our Movement
This is our Moment
This is our House
Let’s Take it!
From the Democracy Spring Facebook Page: Holly Mosher is talking about Day 3, 4/13, and its focus on Racial Justice. “The new Jim Crow has got to go,” becomes a slogan – risking arrest because #NewJimCrow has got to go.
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now: “I think of independent media as the oxygen of democracy,” she says on Michael Krasny’s NPR Forum program, the largest audience in the nation, orginating from San Francisco. “Independent media is dangerous because it allows people to speak for themselves…it challenges the steriotypes that fuel (major media)…and that understanding is the beginning of peace. All too often, it is used to fuel the tragetory of war.”
NPR (Peter Overby) on Day One: “The hundreds of protestors arrived with banners, posters and a megaphone. They sat down at the foot of the capitol steps. (Standing up to) The influence of corporations and the wealthy on politics…The Democracy Spring coaltion of progressive groups called on legislators to replace caps on campaign donations, fix the Voting Rights Act and end gerrymandering. “Will you stand on the side of the people, on the side of the people or on the side of democracy on on the side of big money and corruption?” ask protestors.
Police needed most of Monday afternoon to arrest all of the sit-down protesters outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington at a demonstration in favor of changing the rules on political money, voting rights and redistricting.
More than 600 turned out for the protest (on Day One), and more than 400 were arrested in the sit-in at the Capitol steps, U.S. Capitol Police reported.
The protest was cheery and peaceful. Police blockaded the marble staircase with a chain and a cordon of officers. Demonstrators sat in front of the chain and on the plaza, talking, chanting, singing and taking pictures as police led them away one by one. Police, badly underestimating the potential crowd, initially brought a single bus to Capitol Plaza to haul the protesters away.
Kai Newkirk with the group 99Rise speaks ahead of the Democracy Spring sit-in Monday in Washington.i
Kai Newkirk with the group 99Rise speaks ahead of the Democracy Spring sit-in Monday in Washington.
In a rally preceding the protest, organizer Kai Newkirk of the group 99Rise told the crowd that “we send a message — to everyone in our country who needs a government that represents us all — that this House is your House too, and now is the time to stand up and to take it back.”
The coalition wants a “Congress of Conscience” to pass legislation limiting undisclosed and big-donor money, giving more clout to small donors; to restore powers in the Voting Rights Act; and to put an end to gerrymandered districts that insulate incumbent lawmakers from election challenges.
A key figure is Kai Newkirk, who has been campaigning to limit political money since 2014, when he interrupted a Supreme Court hearing to object to rulings that lifted restrictions on big donors.
The Democracy Spring movement is calling on Congress to take immediate action on four key solutions, all of which aim to reduce the influence of money in politics, expand and protect voting rights, and ensure all Americans have an equal voice in the US government. The group is also demanding that the Senate fulfill its constitutional duties with regard to the Supreme Court. Black Lives Matter issues are a focus on this, the Day Three.
Some of the over 100 organizations participating in Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening:
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
Campaign Legal Center
Campaign Finance Institute
Center for Political Accountability
Center for Public Integrity
Free Speech for People
Justice At Stake
Move to Amend
People for the American Way
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Reclaim the American Dream
Take Back Our Republic
The Other 98%
United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S.PIRG)
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
#DemocracySpring, you can turn on images to see Lady Liberty getting arrested. A symbol of our times…
More from #DemocracySpring:
Bernie Sanders Tweeted his solidarity…
Before the arrests, PCCC co-founder Adam Green rallied the Democracy Spring crowd.
Turn on show images to see Pccc co-founder Adam Green rally the crowd before the arrests.
Dream Defender Umi Selah, National Organization of Women President Terry O’Neill, and TYT Host Cenk Uygur speak out at Democracy Spring.
Turn on show images to see Dream Defender Umi Selah, National Organization of Women President Terry O’Neill, and TYT Host Cenk Uygur speak out.
“So…I got arrested yesterday.(says Adam Green, PCCC co-founder)
I was one of 400 who protested our corrupt campaign finance system and rigged voting laws by participating in non-violent civil disobedience in front of the U.S. Capitol as part of Democracy Spring.”
People are traveling from as far away as California, Vancouver, Wisconsin, Albany, Texas, and Kentucky to take our government back!
So far, so good. NBC, CNN, the New York Times, Associated Press, MSNBC, Vice, international media, and others covered our message. Millions have watched the live stream and Tweeted about this mass action — including Bernie Sanders, who Tweeted his solidarity.
The police (who were very respectful) told us Democracy Spring was one of the biggest mass arrests they have ever seen at Congress! They ran out of room to process all the activists!
Others who got arrested on Monday include PCCC organizer Keith Rouda, The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur, social justice activist Jodie Evans, Dream Defender Umi Selah, and Kai Newkirk, leader of 99Rise which spearheaded the organizing of Democracy Spring.
A couple heartfelt reflections…
Keith and I met a ton of great people while we awaited arrest and as we got processed. Activists and regular people who care about their democracy — singing, chanting, talking, Tweeting — all peacefully.
This was my first time risking arrest. Others were in the same boat. As I said in a speech to the crowd beforehand, “I can think of no more important set of issues, I can think of no better organized effort, and I can think of no better set of people to do this with.”
The event was so well organized, making the experience smooth. Logistical organizers worked on this for months, and volunteers distributed water, food, supplies, and information. (Your donations help pay for ongoing supplies, staff, training, and mobilizing.)
The police explained how arrest would work and gave people a chance to opt out. They were not antagonistic. We even chanted, “The police are the 99%” to remind them we are all in this together. When we were in police custody, they gave us water, answered questions, and were respectful — even as our hands were restrained.
We knew people had our backs. During the long day, a great form of sustenance were the chants from the big nearby crowd that was not risking arrest.
“We cheered when we heard that millions of people were watching online at The Young Turks daily live feed and Tweeting at #DemocracySpring. Our @BoldProgressive Twitter feed was blowing up — as was my @AdamGreen feed, @CenkUygur’s, and @99Rise leader @Kai_Newkirk’s. (Follow us for more this week!)
We got out! After a few hours of police custody together, we got out. It’s a $50 fine. When each of us was released, there was a big crowd of volunteers greeting us with applause, snacks, and drinks. (Again, your donations help pay for this and ongoing mobilizing.)
It’s all about the big picture. Corrupt big-money influence and rigged voting laws make it harder to win progress on every other issue — from Wall Street accountability to climate change to education to criminal justice reform. The democracy crisis impacts every other issue.
If you are at all on the fence, please consider joining us for this historic week of Democracy Spring action this week in Washington, DC. Are you interested?
YES OR MAYBE — I’m interested in joining this activism in DC between April 13 and Monday, April 18th! Show me the options! (You can choose arrest or non-arrest.)
NO — but this is awesome, and I’ll chip in $3 or more to advance this effective activism on campaign finance reform and voting rights.
Thanks for being a bold progressive — and fighting to take your country back.
— Adam Green, PCCC co-founder