What is Democracy Spring?

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 crisisAmerican 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 electionalready 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, in the heart of the primary season, 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.

We 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.

 

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 #DemocracySpring

PUBLIC PLEDGERS AND ENDORSING ORGANIZATIONS

  • Public Pledgers & Endorsers

    Mark Ruffalo
    Gaby Hoffman
    Lawrence Lessig
    Talib Kweli
    Zephyr Teachout
    Rosario Dawson
    Frances Moore Lappé
    Cenk Uygur
    Umi Selah FKA Phillip Agnew
    Dante Barry
    Noam Chomsky
    Medea Benjamin
    Ben Cohen
    Josh Fox
    Stuart Appelbaum
    Frances Fox Piven
    Heather Booth
    Sam Waterson
    Captain Ray Lewis
    Rabbi Arthur Waskow
    Robert McChesney
    Paul Song
    Kerri Kelly
    The Yes Men
    Martha Hennessy
    Carlos Saavedra
    John Sellers
    Kai Newkirk
    Paulina Gonzalez
    Judy Wicks
    Nelini Stamp
    Joseph Huff-Hannon
    Rhana Bazzini
    Joan Mandle
    Tom Swan
    Jodie Evans
    David Segal
    Winnie Wong
    Adam Green
    Derek Cressman
    Louis Leo IV
    Mary Knapp
    Jim Hightower
    Lauren Windsor
    Terry O’Neill
    John Cavanagh
    Ed Fallon
    Bill Fletcher, Jr.
    David Braun
    Alexandra Flores Quilty
    Dan Cantor
    Robert Naiman
    Lydia Avila
    John Nichols

 

  • Endorsing Organizations

    15 Now Philly
    99Rise
    100 Grannies for a Livable Future
    Act.tv
    ACTION United
    African American Ministers in Action
    American Ethical Union
    American Family Voices
    American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
    Avaaz
    Backbone Campaign
    Big Apple Coffee Party
    Brave New Films
    Catholics United
    Center for Biological Diversity
    Center for the Working Poor
    Citizen Action NY
    Chesapeake Climate Action Network
    Climate First!
    Code Pink
    Coffee Party USA
    Columbus Campaign for Arms Control
    Conscious Elders Network
    Courage Campaign
    Ctzn Well
    Delaware Get Money Out
    Demand Progress
    Democracy Chronicles
    Democracy Coffee
    Democracy for America
    Democracy Matters
    Democratic Socialists of America
    Demos
    Dolores Huerta Foundation
    East Coast Cannabis Coalition (ECCC)
    East Point Peace Academy
    Elder Activists
    Elders Climate Action
    Every Voice
    Energy Action Coalition
    Food & Water Watch
    Franciscan Action Network
    Friends of the Earth
    Georgetown Law Students for Bernie Sanders
    Get Money Out - Maryland
    Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL)
    Hightower Lowdown
    Institute for Policy Studies
    Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC)
    Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
    Jewish Voice for Peace
    Just Foreign Policy
    Leadership Development Initiative
    Marc Osten Consulting
    March Against Corruption
    March Against Monsanto
    Maryland Committee to Amend
    Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN)
    MAYDAY.US
    Money Out! People In!
    MoveOn
    National Organization for Women (NOW)
    National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
    National People’s Action
    Network of Spiritual Progressives/ Tikkun Magazine
    New Hampshire Rebellion
    Occupy Catholics
    Oil Change International
    Oregon Climate
    Office of the Americas
    Other 98%
    OUR Wal-Mart
    PA United to Amend
    Pachamama Alliance
    Pay 2 Play
    Peace Action
    People Demanding Action
    People for Bernie
    People for the American Way
    People Over Politics
    People's Empowerment Project
    Pride at Work-New York City/Long Island
    Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)
    Progressive Democrats of America
    Public Citizen
    Real Food Challenge
    Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
    ReThink Media
    RootsAction
    Rootskeeper.org
    Rootstrikers
    Shalom Center
    Small Planet Institute
    Social Security Works
    South Central Wisconsin United To Amend
    Spring Up
    St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, The Rochester NY Catholic Worker
    Stamp Stampede
    Stop Police Terror Project DC
    Sustain US
    Unitarian Universalist Association
    Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County
    Unite Here Local 23
    United Native Americans
    United for Peace and Justice
    United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)
    United States Student Association (USSA)
    United We Dream
    U.S. Climate Plan
    Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice & Peace
    Veterans for Peace
    We are Woman
    We the People Massachusetts
    WildEarth Guardians
    Wisconsin Grassroots Network
    WolfPAC
    Women for Bernie
    Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, DC Branch
    Women’s Promise
    Working Families Party
    Workmen’s Circle
    World Beyond War
    Yes Men
    Youth Jobs Coalition / We Have a Future