What's next for Democracy Spring?
In the wake of the largest civil disobedience action of this century it’s time to bring this fight for real democracy home to cities and states across the country and force our candidates and representatives to choose a side: are they with the People or the plutocrats?
We will use the Equal Voice for All Declaration to gauge where candidates and elected officials stand on this issue and guide how we should respond as a movement.
We will lift up those who sign the declaration as leaders of reform and expose those who refuse to sign as defenders of the corrupt political system. We will disrupt their fundraisers, their debates, their press conferences, their campaign events, and ultimately, their chances at the polls.
We will make it clear that there will be a political price to pay for upholding the status quo of big money corruption and voter suppression. We will make the 2016 election a referendum on whether we will have a democracy that serves the people or a plutocracy that panders to a handful of billionaires and wealthy corporations.
What is the Equal Voice for All Declaration?
The Equal Voice for All Declaration calls on current members of Congress and candidates for public office at any level of government — from President to City Council — to commit to fight for reform to save our democracy and ensure political equality. The Declaration is a tool to establish public commitments from elected officials or candidates that can be used to demonstrate the breadth of support for reform, educate voters about what candidates to support, and hold candidates-elect accountable to honor their commitment by fighting to pass reform.
The Equal Voice for All Declaration states:
“Our government should be free from the corrupting influence of big money in politics and solely dependent upon the People. I declare my support for pro-democracy, anti-corruption reforms, including voting rights protections, citizen-funded elections, and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.”
Who is organizing Democracy Spring?
Democracy Spring has thus far been organized by a coalition of over 120 organizations, including a steering committee made up of 99Rise, Avaaz, Democracy Matters, Energy Action Coalition, MAYDAY.US, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), and the United States Student Association (USSA). We are united by these principles of unity. You can see the list of endorsing organizations at the bottom of the home page.
Going forward, Democracy Spring will form a new movement organization led a National Coordinating Committee made up of dedicated leaders who played critical roles in organizing the April mobilizations and who are passionate about pushing this fight for democracy forward. Their primary function will be to create national infrastructure for the decentralized network of volunteer leaders who are the real engines for change.
We will continue to have a popular front for supportive organizations to engage with Democracy Spring as a partner in the movement.
What exactly are we demanding that Congress do?
Our collective demand to Congress is that it take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free & fair elections in which every American has an equal voice. We have identified at least four reform bills that are already pending before Congress as exemplary actions that can be taken. These include proposed legislation that would implement robust small-dollar citizen-funded elections, combat voter suppression, and empower citizens with universal suffrage; it will also introduce a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.
Importantly, while we will be very clear in pointing to the bills we think are best, we welcome any serious proposal for legislative action to address this crisis that is consistent with the imperative of citizen equality. No opponent of reform will be able to say that they cannot support action to address this problem because the specific bills we promote are not perfect — we will call on them to propose a better alternative or admit to being a protector of corruption.
Is Democracy Spring a partisan campaign?
No. Democracy Spring is not affiliated with any political candidate or party. Further, while progressive leaders and organizations are initiating it, it is not a progressive or a conservative action but rather an American action. We urge all who agree with our demand to embrace others from all walks of life in a spirit of inclusion. We will stand together – progressive, conservative, Republican, Democrat, independent, libertarian – as leaders and citizens who want a government accountable to voters rather than big money interests. We may disagree on many things as Americans of different political perspectives, but we believe that it’s time for all who love our country to defend the republic that binds us as a free people.
What are the nonviolence guidelines or agreements for those taking action? How will they be maintained?
Democracy Spring will be a deeply nonviolent campaign, in the tradition of the American civil rights movement. The guidelines for nonviolence for all Democracy Spring actions, which all participants must commit to uphold, are the following:
- We will use no violence, verbal or physical, toward any person.
- We will maintain an attitude of openness and respect toward all we encounter in our actions.
- We will not destroy or damage any property.
- We will carry no weapons or any means of physical defense, including shields.
- We will not wear masks or otherwise conceal our faces or identities.
- We will exercise personal and collective responsibility to ensure that all participants adhere to this agreement.
Anyone who is planning to risk arrest as part of Democracy Spring will be expected to participate in a nonviolent civil disobedience training beforehand.
What is the legal support for those who risked arrest?
Answers to frequently asked legal questions can be found here.
We have hired a lawyer with decades of experience with civil disobedience cases as our lead attorney. He is leading a team of pro-bono lawyers who are providing legal counsel and representation for all participants who risked arrest as part of this campaign.
What is Democracy Awakening? Is it different than Democracy Spring?
Democracy Awakening is a mass mobilization that is distinct from, but closely aligned with and supportive of Democracy Spring. It included an array of actions, including demonstrations, teach-ins, direct action trainings, music, a Rally for Democracy, and nonviolent direct action and advocacy pressing for a Congress of Conscience.
When is/was Democracy Spring?
April 2nd-11th: March from Philadelphia, PA to Washington DC.
April 11th-18th: Mass nonviolent sit-ins and legal protests at the Capitol in DC.
April 19th-Onward: Take the nonviolent revolution home.