Democracy Spring is a movement organization committed to winning fundamental reforms in 2017 to end the corruption of big money in politics and guarantee the right to vote for all Americans. We use campaigns of escalating nonviolent action to achieve this goal and believe in the power of mass civil disobedience to transform our political system.
Last April, we brought together over 1,300 people to risk arrest on the steps of our nation's Capitol, demanding that Congress take immediate action to get money out of politics and ensure free and fair elections for all, making it the largest single act of civil disobedience of the 21st century in the United States.
At the DNC, we demanded that the leadership of the Democratic Party, including the presidential nominee and Congressional leaders, publicly commit to pass sweeping democracy reforms to overturn Citizens United, establish publicly funded elections, and ensure comprehensive voting rights protections for all Americans within the first 100 days of a new administration AND abolish superdelegates now.
WHY THIS? WHY NOW?
Every American deserves an equal voice in government. That is our birthright of freedom, won through generations of struggle. But today our democracy is in crisis. American elections are dominated by billionaires and big money interests who can spend unlimited sums of money on political campaigns to protect their special interests at the general expense. Meanwhile, as the super-rich dominate the “money primary” that decides who can run for office, almost half of the states in the union have passed new laws that disenfranchise everyday voters, especially people of color and the poor.
This corruption violates the core principle of American democracy — one person, one vote” citizen equality. And it is blocking reform on virtually every critical issue facing our country: from addressing historic economic inequality, to tackling climate change and ending mass incarceration. We simply cannot solve the urgent crises that face our nation if we don’t save democracy first.
But if the status quo goes unchallenged, the 2016 election— already set to be the most billionaire-dominated, secret money-drenched, voter suppression-marred contest in modern American history —will likely yield a President and a Congress more bound to the masters of big money than ever before. And our planet and people just can’t afford that. But there is another possibility.
What if we can intervene in a way that no one can ignore to make this election a turning point toward reform?
The moment is ripe. Poll after poll shows transpartisan public frustration with the corrupt status quo reaching new, nearly unanimous highs. Voters in Maine and Seattle just passed bold new anti-corruption laws to enact citizen funded elections. A growing democracy movement has lifted this issue into the public debate. Yet Congress refuses to act.
The stage is set for a bold intervention to turn the tinder of passive public frustration into a fire that transforms the political climate in America, that sparks a popular movement that can't be stopped. How? From Selma to Occupy Wall Street, the Tar Sands Action to Black Lives Matter, everyday people have proven the power of mass, escalating nonviolent action to rapidly shift the political weather and open the door to reforms previously considered impossible.
Now it's our turn.
Right now, as the national election takes center stage, Americans of all ages, faiths, political perspectives, and walks of life have brought the popular cry for change to Washington in a way that's been impossible to ignore: with nonviolent civil disobedience on a historic scale.
When we arrived in DC on April 11th, we gave Congress a simple choice: either take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure the right to vote or arrest over 1,300 Americans simply for demanding an equal voice in government. Their refusal to act and their readiness to condemn so many exposes the depth of corruption that pervades our political system.
The historic march and capitol sit-ins this April inspired millions of people across the country. But that was just a beginning. From here, we need to take the fight home to states across the union, challenging candidates and elected officials to take a side, lifting up those who declare their support for fundamental reforms to fix or democracy, and exposing those who refuse to do so as defenders of the corrupt status quo. We will disrupt their fundraisers, their debates, their press conferences, and ultimately, their chances at the polls.
We have been able to focus the nation’s attention as never before on the urgency of this crisis, the existence of solutions to it, and the strength of the popular demand to enact them. Now, we will make this election a referendum on whether our democracy should belong to the People as a whole or to the billionaire class alone.
That’s a referendum we can win, setting the stage to achieve fundamental reform that will give us — finally — the democracy for all we were promised.
We know that this is no ordinary ask. But these are no ordinary times.
This is the hour to stand tall, to challenge each other to rise to this historic moment in which we did not choose to live, but which we now must choose to face. With love, with courageous hope, with the legacy of those who struggled for freedom before us in our minds — we must act with a determination matching the urgency of this crisis. Join us.