principles

These Principles are the founding agreements that unite and define us as Democracy Spring. Actions that violate them are not our actions. Anyone may affiliate with us and use our name and symbols so long as they follow our Principles. We all take responsibility to ensure that these Principles are followed by every member of Democracy Spring.


1. We have a Common Mission. 

We fight to end the corruption of big money in politics and guarantee the universal right to vote in free and fair elections. We will establish real democracy in the United States by passing fundamental reforms to protect and expand voting rights, establish publicly funded elections, and overturn Citizens United. 

2. We believe Another World is Possible. 

If we win a real democracy, we will open wide the door to a future free from the profound crises of our time: racist mass incarceration and deportation, historic economic inequality, failing education and healthcare systems, endless war, accelerating climate change, and more. We share a common story of moral urgency, progressive vision, and radical hope. Humbly, we follow in the tradition of all who have struggled to realize the dream of democracy in our nation.

3. We have a Common Strategy. 

We take escalating nonviolent action within a common Grand Strategy to build active public support for our movement and win fundamental democracy reform. We understand that ordinary people — not economic or political elites — have ultimate power in society through our consent and cooperation. Recognizing that the vast majority of the American people support our cause of political equality, we use bold direct action to call passive allies into the fight.

4. We are a Nonviolent Movement. 

We maintain nonviolent discipline in all our actions and communications. By upholding our Code of Nonviolence, we open the way for anyone to join our movement, secure the moral high ground, and starkly reveal the injustice of the status quo.

5. We Welcome All. 

People of every background, identity, or circumstance are welcome in our movement family. We strive to create a diverse, inclusive community with room for everyone to take leadership, especially people of color, women, LGBTQ people, low-income people, and others who are marginalized. We work together to overcome racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and all forms of oppression within our movement.

6. We Depend on Each Other. 

Our strength and resilience lie in our relationships – none of us can thrive alone. All of us deserve love, joy, and rest. We understand that every individual’s personal well-being is integral to our strength as a movement. With empathy and affection, we care for ourselves and each other. With song and celebration, we nourish our community.

7. We Appreciate every hand on the plow. 

This movement will take all of us. There are countless ways to contribute to our cause and each of us is called and supported to serve it differently. As we encourage one another to risk and sacrifice for our common purpose, we recognize the many different forms our service may take. We lift up every contribution to our struggle, no matter how small. We can never say “Thank You” too much.

8. We take Initiative. 

Any group of 3 or more people may form an autonomous local team and take independent action as Democracy Spring, so long as they do so in accordance with these Principles of unity. Our decentralized structure encourages creativity, risk-taking, and innovation to help us find the most effective ways to fulfill our common mission.

9. We are a Leaderful Movement of Volunteers. 

We affirm leadership not as a means to dominate, profit, or gain status, but as an act of service and responsibility and a process of development and empowerment. As a volunteer movement, we struggle because we believe in the mission. Financial support may be provided to full-time National Support Center organizers, but is guided by the ethic of voluntary simplicity and determined according to need rather than market evaluations. We do not accept money from those who seek to influence Democracy Spring.

10. We are One Piece of a larger puzzle. 

We recognize that many different kinds of organization and work are necessary for our struggle. We welcome any partnership through which we may advance our mission while upholding our Principles. We stand in solidarity with all those who fight to end injustice on every front. While we deeply appreciate the importance of creating alternative institutions and pursuing personal transformation, we understand that our mission calls us to focus first and foremost on challenging the injustices of dominant institutions.

11. We practice Democracy. 

We strive to maximize democratic collaboration throughout our movement so that all voices are heard and every person empowered. When making collective decisions, we use a modified consensus process so that no one voice can block common progress. If full consensus cannot be reached after extensive dialogue, a two-thirds vote may advance a decision.

12. We Vote. 

We understand that elections shape the political terrain on which we fight. Recognizing the right to vote as a sacred inheritance earned by the blood of our forebears and not yet shared by all, we who possess the franchise take seriously our duty to exercise it. As an independent movement, we vote strategically to elect candidates who will be more likely to stand with or make concessions to the movement. Thus, we prepare ourselves to make the fullest use of the free & fair elections our victory will establish.