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, 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.
PUBLIC PLEDGERS AND ENDORSING ORGANIZATIONS
Public Pledgers & EndorsersMark RuffaloGaby HoffmanLawrence LessigTalib KweliZephyr TeachoutRosario DawsonFrances Moore LappéCenk UygurUmi Selah FKA Phillip AgnewDante BarryNoam ChomskyMedea BenjaminBen CohenJosh FoxStuart AppelbaumFrances Fox PivenHeather BoothSam WatersonCaptain Ray LewisRabbi Arthur WaskowRobert McChesneyPaul SongKerri KellyThe Yes MenMartha HennessyCarlos SaavedraJohn SellersKai NewkirkPaulina GonzalezJudy WicksNelini StampJoseph Huff-HannonRhana BazziniJoan MandleTom SwanJodie EvansDavid SegalWinnie WongAdam GreenDerek CressmanLouis Leo IVMary KnappJim HightowerLauren WindsorTerry O’NeillJohn CavanaghEd FallonBill Fletcher, Jr.David BraunAlexandra Flores QuiltyDan CantorRobert NaimanLydia AvilaJohn Nichols
Endorsing Organizations15 Now Philly99Rise100 Grannies for a Livable FutureAct.tvACTION UnitedAfrican American Ministers in Action
American Ethical UnionAmerican Family VoicesAmerican Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)AvaazBackbone CampaignBig Apple Coffee PartyBrave New FilmsCatholics UnitedCenter for Biological DiversityCenter for the Working PoorCitizen Action NYChesapeake Climate Action NetworkClimate First!Code PinkCoffee Party USAColumbus Campaign for Arms ControlConscious Elders NetworkCourage CampaignCtzn WellDelaware Get Money OutDemand ProgressDemocracy ChroniclesDemocracy CoffeeDemocracy for AmericaDemocracy MattersDemocratic Socialists of AmericaDemosDolores Huerta FoundationEast Coast Cannabis Coalition (ECCC)East Point Peace AcademyElder ActivistsElders Climate ActionEvery VoiceEnergy Action CoalitionFood & Water WatchFranciscan Action NetworkFriends of the EarthGeorgetown Law Students for Bernie SandersGet Money Out - MarylandHuman Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL)Hightower LowdownInstitute for Policy StudiesInterfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC)Iowa Citizens for Community ImprovementJewish Voice for PeaceJust Foreign PolicyLeadership Development InitiativeMarc Osten ConsultingMarch Against CorruptionMarch Against MonsantoMaryland Committee to AmendMassachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN)MAYDAY.USMoney Out! People In!MoveOnNational Organization for Women (NOW)National LGBTQ Task Force Action FundNational People’s ActionNetwork of Spiritual Progressives/ Tikkun MagazineNew Hampshire RebellionOccupy CatholicsOil Change InternationalOregon ClimateOffice of the AmericasOther 98%
OUR Wal-MartPA United to AmendPachamama AlliancePay 2 PlayPeace ActionPeople Demanding ActionPeople for BerniePeople for the American WayPeople Over PoliticsPeople's Empowerment ProjectPride at Work-New York City/Long IslandProgressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)Progressive Democrats of AmericaPublic CitizenReal Food ChallengeRetail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)ReThink MediaRootsActionRootskeeper.orgRootstrikersShalom CenterSmall Planet InstituteSocial Security WorksSouth Central Wisconsin United To AmendSpring UpSt. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, The Rochester NY Catholic WorkerStamp StampedeStop Police Terror Project DCSustain USUnitarian Universalist AssociationUnitarian Universalist Church of Delaware CountyUnite Here Local 23United Native AmericansUnited for Peace and JusticeUnited Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)United States Student Association (USSA)United We DreamU.S. Climate PlanUrsulines of Tildonk for Justice & PeaceVeterans for PeaceWe are WomanWe the People MassachusettsWildEarth GuardiansWisconsin Grassroots NetworkWolfPACWomen for BernieWomen’s International League for Peace & Freedom, DC BranchWomen’s PromiseWorking Families PartyWorkmen’s CircleWorld Beyond WarYes MenYouth Jobs Coalition / We Have a Future