News Articles, Op-Eds & News Clips

The Most Important Protest of the 2016 Election

April 18, 2016
By: Ari Berman, the Nation

 t was a beautiful day to be arrested. On Monday morning thousands marched from Washington’s Union Station to the Capitol, where a group of policemen waited in the shade. The Fugees’s song “Ready or Not” played over a loudspeaker. A man in a suit printed in hundred-dollar bills gleefully scattered fake money onto the ground, while another man cleaned it up with a pink broom painted with, “sweep big money out of politics.” “What do we want? Democracy!” the protesters shouted as they approached the Capitol. “If we don’t get it? Shut it down!”

The march and arrests were the culmination of Democracy Awakening, a weekend of workshops, rallies, speeches, and demonstrations of civil disobedience that brought thousands of activists from across the country together in DC. They are fighting to protect voting rights, to end the corrosive influence of big money on the political system and to force Republicans to confirm Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

Leading Monday’s demonstration, their arms linked together, were civil rights, labor and environmental leaders, including Reverend William Barber II of North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement, NAACP president Cornell Brooks, Communication Workers of America President Chris Shelton, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard, and Sierra Club president Aaron Mair.

Read the full article.

300+ Arrests as Pro-Democracy Forces Converge for Final Day of Spring Revolt

April 18, 2016
By: Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

More than 300 people were arrested Monday as part of Democracy Awakening, marking the final day of a record-setting week of civil disobedience at the U.S. Capitol.

Among those taken into custody were approximately 60 organization and movement leaders, including NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks, Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard, radio commentator Jim Hightower, and Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

“I did not make the decision to get arrested lightly,” said Weissman following his release. “I chose to engage in civil disobedience because I care so much for our country – and because I am so desperately concerned about our broken democracy. I am proud to join hundreds of fellow Americans in a mass civil disobedience action. We are standing up for democracy, by sitting down. The week-long democracy protests in Washington mark a new phase of the democracy movement, one in which we take to the streets in increasing numbers to deliver on the promise that our government is constituted by and belongs to We the People.”

Read the full article.

Demanding an End to Citizens United, 300 ‘Democracy Awakening’ Protesters Arrested at U.S. Capitol

April 18, 2016
By: Bruce Vail, In These Times

About 300 activists in organizations devoted to progressive reforms in the federal government were arrested Monday in a civil disobedience action on the steps of the U.S. Capitol…

Prominent among those arrested were Cornell William Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Aaron Mair, president of the Sierra Club; Tefere Gebre, executive director of the AFL-CIO; and Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA. Other labor leaders arrested were Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). Larry Cohen, former CWA president, now acting as the Chair of Democracy Initiative, was arrested as well.

“We’re following in the footsteps of the martyrs of the voting rights movement,” of the 1960s, Cohen told a crowd of about 3,000 that marched from Washington’s Union Station to Capitol Hill. The expansion of voting rights, and fight against corporate control of elected officials, is crucial to the broader goals of labor and other progressive groups…”

“The democracy movement is the broadest-based and most united it’s ever been. We are all really united in this campaign to get dirty money out of politics, and to realize the promise of the historic civil rights movement with its commitment to empowering voters…. What we have seen today is symbolic of a movement that is really capable of making change.”

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300 arrested at Democracy Awakens protest against money in politics

April 18, 2016

About 300 arrests were made at the Democracy Awakens protest at the US Capitol, police confirmed. Officers made at least three warnings before detaining people, who are calling on Congress to get money out of politics and restore the Voting Rights Act.

The latest protest comes after a week of Democracy Spring demonstrations on the Capitol steps. The demands of the two sets of rallies are very similar.

Those who have been detained chose to be arrested. Capitol police issued three warnings before beginning to round people up.

Read the full article.

U.S. Capitol Police Arrest 300 Democracy Spring Demonstrators

April 18, 2016
By: Tessa Berenson,

The U.S. Capitol Police arrested about 300 demonstrators Monday, adding to hundreds of arrests that have already been made in connection with the Democracy Spring protests.

According to a statement by the police, the demonstrators were charged under D.C. Code prohibiting “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding.” They were processed on the scene and then released, police said.

USA Today reports that the mass demonstrations began last Monday by a group called Democracy Spring to protest the influence of money in politics. The protesters were joined this weekend by a second related group, Democracy Awakening, to protest what it sees as discriminatory voting rights laws. Monday was supposed to be the final day of the demonstrations.

Read the full article.

Democracy Awakening: Protesters Highlight The “Watering Down” Of Voting Rights

April 18, 2016
By: NewsOne

On Monday, Rev. Ezra Tillman, Pastor of the First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan, and Mark Thompson, host of “Make It Plain” on Sirius – XM radio joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the Democracy [Awakening] movement.

Thompson said one of the specific asks being made by the Democracy Awakening movement “is to see to it that the new voting rights acts is passed.”

He said this year’s presidential election is “unlike any other — it’s going to boil down to people casting their vote not just for the president, but for the future of the Supreme Court.” Thompson added, “We’re probably talking about one and maybe two appointments in the very near future.”

The radio host continued to explain how this year’s presidential election and potential Supreme Court appointments could play a role in overturning Citizens United and restoring Section [5] of the Voting Rights Act.

“If there is ever a time people needed to be motivated to register to vote — the time is now,” Thompson said.

Watch the news clip.

Mass movement for democracy is being born

April 18, 2016
By: Larry Rubin, People’s World

Determined to start building a mass movement for democracy, this week people came here from every state in the union and every walk of life. They staged sit-ins, held teach-ins, gathered in rallies and marched to the Capitol. Some had marched here from Philadelphia at the beginning of the week.

They’re angry that our democratic system is being undermined by voter suppression laws and the legalized ability of billionaires to control American politics.

But, as Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, said “… a mass movement can build the political power necessary for taking back our democracy and ousting the plutocrats who’ve stolen it.”

Read full article.

Democracy Awakening: Thousands Converge on Capitol Hill to Protest Spectrum of Issues

April 18, 2016
By: Steve Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Thousands of people from across the country marched on Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, protesting a spectrum of democracy issues and demanding fundamental reform on voting rights, money and politics and immigration reform.

The lines were headed by hundreds of people prepared to get arrested on the Capitol steps, including dozens of leaders from across the progressive left.

Chanting “This is what democracy look like” and “Do your job,” they split into two columns, with immigration activists going to the Supreme Court where a major case is being heard on President Obama’s executive orders, and the steps of the Capitol where hundreds of pro-democracy activists prepared to be arrested.

Read the full article.

#DemocracyAwakening and Texas v. United States: The Intersectionality of Resistance to Capture by the Few

April 18, 2016
By: Yael Bromberg, Huffpost Politics

…The intersectionality of Monday morning’s events on the National Mall is a reminder of the impact the government’s current dysfunction has on a wide range of groups and issues due to its capture by the few, and the distance still to travel toward manifesting a more perfect union. The Democracy Awakening sets out an initial antidote by calling on the Senate to Do Its Job in filling the Supreme Court vacancy, and calling on Congress to pass specific pieces of legislation to remove big money’s stranglehold over our political process and to enact critical voting rights and election law reforms.

Read the full article.

Democracy Awakening: Mass Civil Disobedience Planned on Capitol Hill to Cap Week of 900+ Arrests

April 18, 2016
By: Democracy Now

More than 900 people have been arrested over the past week on Capitol Hill in a series of unprecedented protests against the influence of big money and corporate lobbying in politics. More civil disobedience is scheduled for today. The arrests began last Monday during an event organized as part of a wave of actions dubbed Democracy Spring. Another protest began on Saturday under the banner of Democracy Awakening. We speak to one of the key organizers of Democracy Awakening, the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.

Watch the news clip.

Activists Swarm Capitol for Democracy Protests

April 18, 2016
By: Justin Miller, The American Prospect

On Sunday, more than a thousand people gathered on Capitol Hill for a “Democracy Awakening” rally to demand that Congress move to protect voting rights, limit political spending, and create a public financing system for political campaigns. Activists also want the Senate to take up President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court…

“Fundamental reform to expand and deepen our democracy, we know from America’s history, follows from one thing and one thing only: mass movements,” Robert Weissman, president of government watchdog group Public Citizen and organizer of the Democracy Awakening, told the crowd. “With our democracy in crisis, now is the time for Americans to mobilize to ensure the right to vote and to get Big Money out of politics. Democracy Awakening is the start of something, not the end, as the democracy movement enters a new phase of intensity, mobilization, aggressive activism, and disruption of business as usual.”

Read the full article.


April 18, 2016
By: Morning Shift, Politico

An AFL-CIO statement sent Sunday night says: “The Democracy Awakening will conclude … with a mass civil disobedience on Capitol Hill. Approximately 60 leaders of organizations will join hundreds of activists and impacted individuals from across the country to risk arrest on Monday morning. They are demanding a democracy that works for everyone, not just corporations and the wealthy … Those risking arrest on Monday include AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, CWA President Chris Shelton [and] AFGE President J. David Cox.”

Read the full article.

‘Our Congress:’ Protesters Say Democracy Is Awakening

April 18, 2016
By: Kathy Kiely, Moyers & Company

Chanting “Our Capitol!” and “Our Congress!” in a colorful parade that stretched from the top of Capitol Hill to its base, an unusual mix of demonstrators on Sunday managed to turn the too often esoteric issues of campaign finance and election law into matters worthy of genuine passion…

On Monday, demonstrators plan to continue to engage in civil disobedience outside the Capitol while others go inside to lobby members of Congress.

“I would be proud to have every one of you sitting in the cell next to me,” Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America, declared. “I beseech you to show up tomorrow and get arrested.” Shelton, who said 200 of his union members plan to risk arrest, vowed it will send a message to lawmakers that it’s time to “get off your ass and change what you’re doing.”

Read the full article.

The Battle Continues On At Capitol Hill. Exclusive Interview With An Arrested Protester. Democracy Awakening Takes Over 5,000 Strong.

April 17, 2016
By: Melony Hill, The Urban Twist

5,000 protesters took to the streets of Capitol Hill [Sunday] following a week of sit-ins and protests at the U.S. Capitol Building. Democracy Awakening protesters joined with Democracy Spring protesters. The mass act of civil disobedience continues on as mass media outlets give it only a passing glance. Thankfully we live in a society where there are cell phones, the internet, and independent news sources or we’d be oblivious to the revolutionary acts of thousands of American people.

It’s unfathomable that such a big news story could get so little coverage. We live in the Kim Kardashian age, an age where a celebrity DUI is headline news and people become media darlings for embarrassing themselves on reality TV. So why is such a movement ignored? Why when real news is happening, are the mainstream news networks not covering it. Maybe the goal is to cover it up instead. Keep us blinded by inundating us with useless news as usual. There seems to always be a distraction from what we need to focus on.

Read the full article.

Thousands Rally outside Capitol Hill against Big Money in Politics

April 17, 2016
By: Xinhua, CRIEnglish

Thousands of protesters rallied on Sunday outside the Capitol Hill in the U.S. capital city of Washington, D.C. against big money in U.S. politics.

The mass mobilization was aimed at protesting the undue influence of money in U.S. politics and barriers to voting and urging U.S. Congress to pass laws which would ensure all Americans have a fair voice in elections, said organizer Democracy Awakening, a coalition consisting of over [300] organizations.

“Our democracy should be about big ideas, not big checks,” said Dan Smith, Democracy Campaign director from U.S. Public Interest Research Group, one of the over 260 groups that supported Democracy Awakening.

“Right now, our campaign finance system encourages candidates and lawmakers to spend their time courting mega-donors and special interests while everyday voters are left on the sidelines of our elections,” he said.

The three-day event, which started on Saturday featuring a rally, teach-ins, lobbying and civil disobedience, was part of a broad movement that began on April 2, when coalition group Democracy Spring launched a march from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C..

Read the full article.

More than 900 ‘Democracy Spring’ protesters arrested in D.C. – so far

April 17, 2016
By: Jayne O’Donnell, USA TODAY

Police have calmly arrested hundreds of people in Washington, D,.C. protesting the influence of money in politics during the last week, in what several participants described as a striking display of restrained law enforcement.

More arrests are expected Monday, the final day of protests when the focus of the non-violent protests turn to voting rights and timely consideration of the Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. U.S. Capitol Police have arrested more than 900 protesters through Saturday.

Mass demonstrations by a group called “Democracy Spring” began last Monday. A related group, “Democracy Awakening,” joined the efforts on Saturday and are holding often integrated sit ins and other demonstrations to protest laws it considers discriminatory, such as Voter ID laws.

Read full article.

‘Democracy Awakening’ protest arrives in DC

April 17, 2016

Thousands of activists from around the country converged on the nation’s capitol to send a message to Congress about the need for Democratic reform. North Carolina NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, Sirius XM host Mark Thompson and civil rights activist Tamika Mallory join to discuss.

Watch the news clip.

Hundreds of People Are Getting Arrested For Democracy This Week

April 14, 2016
By: John Cavanagh, The Nation

This weekend, the action spreads to a large teach-in, a rally for democracy at the Capitol, culminating in mass arrests on April 18. These actions are being organized by the incredibly broad Democracy Awakening coalition of organizations from labor, peace, environmental, student, racial justice, civil rights and money in politics reform movements.

Read full article.

Dark money, voter suppression, turnout threaten our democracy

April 14, 2016
By: Tom Smith, Public Citizen Texas in the Austin American-Statesman

Threats to the right to and integrity of the vote – because of the corrupting influence of big money – demand action. The “Democracy Awakening” rally is a wake-up call to engage in our democracy as a first step toward fundamental reform. 

Read full article.

Why the NAACP Cares About Campaign Cash

April 13, 2016
Kathy Kiely interviews NAACP’s Cornell Brooks

This week, Washington is playing host to the Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening protests in which thousands are marching on the capital — some 400 of whom were arrested Monday after a long march towards the nation’s capital from Philadelphia — to make the case for campaign finance reform, voting rights protections and the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice. As they do, we’ll be reaching out to a range of experts on these issues, some of whom are participating in the actions and some of whom are not, to ask what they think it will take to effect real change. 

Cornell William Brooks is the 18th chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s oldest grassroots civil rights organization.  A fourth-generation ordained minister, Brooks describes himself as a graduate of Head Start and Yale Law School and an heir and beneficiary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision won by legendary NAACP litigator (and later, Supreme Court Justice) Thurgood Marshall. He spoke about voting rights, money in politics and why he sees both as civil rights issues.

Read full article.

Democracy Awakening: A Call to Action for People and the Planet

April 13, 2016
By: Wenoah Hunter, Food and Water Watch

It’s time to be bold and visionary. Only a massive grassroots movement can build the political power necessary for taking back our democracy and ousting the plutocrats who’ve stolen it. That’s why I’m thrilled to be one of thousands rallying this weekend at Democracy Awakening—supporting calls to restore voting rights and repeal Citizen’s United. I’m proud that Food  & Water Watch is one of the more than 200 groups coalescing to demand that people and the environment are prioritized over profits.

Read full article.

What Religion Has to Do With Campaign Finance and Voting Rights

April 11, 2016
By: Franciscan Action Network’s Patrick Carolan and Common Cause’s Miles Rapoport,

We believe firmly that human dignity includes the right to vote in our elections and the right to speak and to be heard. Every person, our shared teachings tell us, should have a voice and a vote on the policies impacting their family’s future. The democratic process was founded on the concept that the best solutions come from the marketplace of ideas where everyone can contribute. But these contributions can be nearly meaningless when drowned out by immoral policies.

That’s why more than 200 organizations — representing a diverse movement of faith, civil rights, environmental justice, voting rights, immigration, civic, and other community groups, which have historically remained separate — will come together to launch a year-long campaign to bring a moral focus on voting rights with money-in-politics reform. Our work will include both mass education and mass mobilization in Washington, D.C. and nationwide.

The opening of the campaign will be a mass mobilization in Washington in April. “Democracy Awakening” will feature a large march and rally and a Congress of Conscience, in which citizens engage in civil disobedience and other advocacy strategies to demand that their representatives act now to repair our democracy.

Read full article.

Once Ruled By Washington Insiders, Campaign Finance Reform Goes Grass Roots

April 4, 2016
By: Peter Overby, NPR

The issue of money in politics is hotter this year than in any presidential election since Watergate. Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both call for public funding designed to give small donors more power.

And campaign finance reform has gone grass roots. Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 — the ruling that let corporations and unions spend to promote or attack candidates — there have been marches, petitions, municipal declarations and other protests around the country.

Read full article.

Our democracy needs a wake-up call

April 7, 2016
By: Sam Waterston and Every Voice’s Nick Nyhart, MSNBC

As part of the Democracy Spring, hundreds of Americans from all over the country are marching from Philadelphia, through Baltimore, to Washington, D.C., in a people-powered movement to demand change. Thousands more will converge on Washington, D.C., next week as part of the Democracy Awakening. Both efforts will use nonviolent civil disobedience to shake up business as usual on Capitol Hill.

In the face of a Congress that won’t budge, it will take many voices rising up to demand Congress pay attention to the public discontent.

Read full article.

This is What #MyDemocracy Looks Like

April 7, 2016
By: Chris Shelton, CWA

When we join together, as we have in past fights, we can move our democracy forward. We know this. When every progressive organization makes restoring our democracy at least its second most important issue, we can succeed.

That’s why I and hundreds of CWAers will be at Democracy Awakening in Washington, D.C., on the weekend of April 16–18, part of the broad coalition of groups representing the labor, peace, environmental, student, racial justice, civil rights, and money in politics reform movements. We share a firm belief that we will not win on the full range of policy issues we all care about until we awaken a democracy that is accessible to all and is not beholden to big money interests.

Will you join us?

Read full article.


Why I’m Ready to Get Arrested with Restaurant Workers

April 7, 2016
By: John Cavanaugh, Institute for Policy Studies

Under the banners of Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening, we will be sticking our necks out to demand an end to the destructive influence of big money on our politics and the need to enfranchise all people.

I have signed up to risk getting arrested on April 13. Why that day? I want to show my support for the worker advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) as they take on one of the prime examples of excessive money in politics: the National Restaurant Association.

Read full article.

Rx for Outrageous Drug Prices: Heal Our Democracy

April 6, 2016
By: Robert Weissman, Public Citizen

So, Big Pharma wins with a rigged political system. The rest of us lose.

All of this can be cured. But we have to heal our democracy.

There’s no elixir, but the first remedy is to join the Democracy Awakening mobilization in Washington, D.C., April 16-18.

Read full article.

Huffington Post: Double Crisis: Student Debt and Democracy

April 5, 2016
By: Robert Weissman, Public Citizen

Like other major and worsening problems our country faces, we can’t wait to fix our democracy before we address the student debt crisis. On the other hand, we’re never going to get to genuine solutions if we don’t fix our democracy.

That’s why groups like Student Debt Crisis are endorsing and turning out people for the historic Democracy Awakening mobilization in Washington, D.C., April 16-18.

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Big Money Dominance: It Will Get Worse — Much Worse — Unless We Stop It

April 4, 2016
By: Robert Weissman, Public Citizen

So, Americans reasonably think Big Money has too much influence in elections and politics. But if nothing is done, it’s likely to get worse.

To this, there’s only one answer: Do something.

Here’s one thing: Thousands of Americans will descend on Washington, D.C. forthe Democracy Awakening mobilization April 16-18. Sign up, and join Democracy Spring protests the week before, and then a weekend of teach-ins, music, a Sunday, April 17 march and rally at the U.S. Capitol, lobbying and nonviolent civil disobedience.

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The Spirit of Philadelphia

April 2, 2016
By: Robert Weissman, Public Citizen

With that radical phrase, the U.S. Constitution’s drafters launched a project based on popular sovereignty. A project beset by all kinds of contradictions – including slavery and denial of equal rights to women – but a bold statement nonetheless that it is the people, not a king or some feudal class, that constitutes the government.

With the Democracy Spring march launching from Philadelphia today, it is worth reflecting on that notion, juxtaposed against the perverse rationale of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Read full article.

Protests Seek to Prod Congress on Political Money, Supreme Court

March 31, 2016
By: Kate Ackley, Roll Call

Activists from more than 100 progressive groups are mobilizing for demonstrations around the Capitol to prod Congress to pass legislation overhauling the campaign finance system, expand voting rights protections and to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Read full article.

Like Granny D, I will march on Washington

March 31, 2016
By: Joe Magruder, in the Concord Monitor

I am going to Washington shortly to take part in Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening, back-to-back events that are expected to be the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the country in 50 years.

With hundreds and perhaps thousands of other Americans, I expect to get arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol Rotunda, the symbolic heart of our great experiment in self-governance, or at nearby congressional offices.

We will be walking, at times almost literally, in the footsteps of New Hampshire’s own Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who, at age 90, was arrested and handcuffed in the Rotunda in April 2000 while reading the Declaration of Independence aloud.

Read the full article.

Every voice should be heard

March 29, 2016
By: Ciera Pennington, WV Citizen Action Group in the Charleston Gazette-Mail

Our main goal at West Virginia Citizen Action Group is to increase the voice of the average citizen in public affairs. American voters want to be heard. Voters, especially West Virginia voters, have developed a strong sense of apathy, though, in a large part because many politicians seem to work for special-interest groups and big money, not the people. Thus, Congress, beholden to moneyed special interests, continues to fail we the people. And voters continue to feel their voice become smaller and smaller.

It is time to amplify our voice and take our democracy back.

That’s why WV CAG is going to Washington April 16-18 for a mass convergence on the nation’s capital called Democracy Awakening. This event reflects an unprecedented movement to demand a democracy that works for all Americans, one in which everyone has an equal voice and elected officials are accountable to the people, not just corporate interests or the wealthy.

Democracy Awakening will feature three days of demonstrations, teach-ins, direct action, music, a rally and citizen advocacy for a “Congress of Conscience.” We will encourage our representatives to champion critical reform measures on voting rights and money in politics, and we will demand the U.S. Senate follow the Constitution with a fair process and up-or-down vote to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

Read the full article.

We must rebuild our democracy

By: Mark Ruffalo and Greenpeace’s Annie Leonard

But once again in American history, an incredible movement is rising across the country to overcome this corruption, to demand a fair and just system for everyone. We have in 2016 a chance to begin building a truly representative government. But it’s going to take commitment.

We know what democracy looks like—residents rising up in Flint to demand accountability, kayaktivists in the Pacific Northwest saying no to fossil fuels, moms and dads and cousins and brothers standing up across the country to say black lives matter. We can see the future of democracy. Now, we just have to work together to make it happen.

Next month, thousands of people and more than 170 organizations will join together in Washington, D.C., to demand that our lawmakers and political leaders take action to fix our democracy. Called the Democracy Awakening, this event reflects an unprecedented movement to demand a democracy that works for all Americans, one in which everyone has an equal voice and elected officials are accountable to the people, not corporate interests or the wealthy.

Read full article.

Largest civil disobedience action of the century isn’t anti-Trump, it’s pro-Democracy

By: Kai Newkirk of Democracy Spring for

That is why more than 2,600 American patriots have pledged to risk arrest in Democracy Spring, a massive nonviolent sit-in at the U.S. Capitol this April. The campaign will force Congress to choose between putting hundreds of peaceful defenders of the republic in handcuffs, or simply doing their job and passing reforms to fix our broken system.

It’s true Democracy Spring is led by many organizations associated with the left. But there’s no reason it must remain that way. We are a nonpartisan campaign open to all. And conservatives and liberals agree when it comes to the urgent need for solutions to rebalance the system.

Read the full article.

Pro-democracy rally frightens conservative media

March 17, 2016
By: Zack Roth, MSNBC

In fact, many of the major groups behind Democracy Spring, including the AFL-CIO, the National Organization for Women, Public Citizen, Demos and People for the American Way, are respected and well-established players in mainstream progressive politics. They’re planning a march starting April 2 from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to Washington, DC, where they’ll hold a “powerful, peaceful and massive sit-in.” Days later, more pro-democracy activists plan to pour into the capital for a series of meetings and actions known as Democracy Awakening.

And the causes driving the effort—expanding democracy by getting big money out of politics and protecting voting rights— are supported by clear popular majorities.

Read the full article.

This Spring, Politics as Usual Is in for a Rude Awakening

March 16, 2016
By: Rachel Butler, Greenpeace

As I write this, corporate interests are holding our democracy hostage. Voter suppression — targeting communities of color, students, and low-income Americans — is running rampant, fossil fuel money is warping our electoral process, and now, leaders in Congress are even blocking the fair consideration of a Supreme Court nominee.

Democracy is one of the best tools we have to protect the environment, but our system has been polluted by big money. We deserve a democracy that represents all of us, not just a wealthy few. A democracy that allows us to take swift action on today’s most urgent issues, like stopping runaway climate change and preventing environmental health disasters like the Flint water crisis.

Right now — as we prepare to elect our next president and members of Congress — we have a chance to make it happen.

Read the full article

Democracy Awakening – Nationwide Mobilization to Protect the Vote via @DemAwakening

Best of the Left

If we want to change the course of this century, then we have to demand action now.

This April 16th to 18th, join Democracy Awakening 2016 – a nationwide movement that will converge on state capitals and Washington, D.C. for an array of actions, including demonstrations, teach-ins, direct action trainings, music, a Rally for Democracy, and pressing for a Congress of Conscience through non-violent direct action and advocacy.

Read the full article

Get Money Out of Politics

March 7, 2016
By: Public Citizen’s Rob Weissman in the New York Times

It’s not just that Big Money donors have an outsize influence on who wins elections (“Big Campaign Money Will Be Back,” editorial, March 1). The dominance of megadonors in the election process means that they determine who runs for office and who doesn’t, the narrative of election contests, and what policies are enacted or even considered legitimate. Most Americans perceive Big Money to be rigging the political system, and they are right.

Remedies are at hand: overturning Citizens United and other Supreme Court decisions by constitutional amendment or a new jurisprudence; strong public financing measures for elections; stringent limits on outside spending; and robust contribution disclosure rules.

While extensive polling shows that the public expresses overwhelming support for these measures, Congress fails to act. That’s why thousands of Americans will pour into Washington from April 16 to 18 for the Democracy Awakening mobilization, to demand far-reaching action to get Big Money out of politics, as well as to protect voting rights and win an up-or-down vote on a Supreme Court nominee.

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Scalia showdown is opening round of long fight over Supreme Court’s future

February 29, 2016

This has energized a broad array of progressive groups, many of whom began working on judiciary and Senate reforms four years ago through a new coalition called the Democracy Initiative.

“We’ll organize on this in ways that are similar to the ways we’ve mobilized to protect public lands, and clean air and clean water,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, whose group has 2.1 million members and helped start the Democracy Initiative.

Brune and others are already calling donors to ask for a fresh influx of funds to amplify their message in this year’s presidential and congressional campaigns. On Tuesday, he will join in a conference call with NAACP President Cornell William Brooks and former labor secretary Robert Reich to mobilize activists to gather in Washington in mid-April for a “Democracy Awakening” rally that will make the future of the Supreme Court a central issue.

Read full article.

Voting Rights Regress

February 26, 2016
By: Katharine Viles, The Hoya

The majority of Americans favor stronger campaign finance laws and restoring the Voting Rights Act, and everyone from President Obama to comedian Larry David has raised the public consciousness on the obstacles facing a strong democracy in a way that connects them to a successful one. From April 16 to 18, over 170 national advocacy groups representing a diverse set of movements and millions of members will gather in Washington, D.C., to participate in Democracy Awakening, where they will demand a democracy that listens to everyone, including teach-ins, rallies and demonstrations.

Why Voting in 2016 Is An Act of Self-Defense

February 26, 2016
By: NAACP President Cornell Brooks, Chicago Tribune

From April 16 to 18 more than 100 other organizations will combine for Democracy Awakening, a new mobilization in Washington, D.C. to defend against attacks on voting rights and the influence of money in politics. The event will be followed by the Congress of Conscience, a direct, targeted action challenging lawmakers to restore protections of the Voting Rights Act.

Securing our future requires action. Call your local board of elections to register to vote. If you have moved in the last year, make sure that you are able to cast a ballot. Ask your friends, family and other loved ones to do the same. Most of all, cast your vote in state primaries and the November 6 election.

Believe in this country. Believe in justice. And know that what you do about it in this moment matters. 

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How to make our votes matter: Column

February 9, 2016
By Cornell William Brooks and Robert Weissman

Our votes matter.

That promise rests at the heart of American democracy, at the center of the American ideal.

But for many Americans, that promise has been compromised or even betrayed.

They see the right to vote undermined. Nearly two dozen states have recently adopted restrictions such as voter identification requirements, limitations on voter registration and cutbacks on early voting.

Citizens see the integrity of the vote compromised. The super-rich and giant corporations are defining the terms of national, state and even municipal elections. They play an outsized role in who runs for office, what gets said in campaigns, who wins, and what policymakers are willing to do…

Our organizations — along with more than 100 others — are coming together to launch a year-long campaign that joins the demands for voting rights with money-in-politics reform, bringing together historically separate communities and reform proposals. Our plan ranges from mass education to mass mobilization, from creative direct action to state reform campaigns.

The centerpiece of the campaign will be a mass mobilization in Washington in April. “Democracy Awakening” will feature a large march and rally and a Congress of Conscience, in which citizens engage in civil disobedience and other advocacy strategies to demand that their representatives act now to repair our democracy.

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Voting rights advocates observe somber King holiday

January 18, 2016
By Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY

While most of the country will spend the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday remembering the peaceful nature and civil rights successes lodged by the late leader, voting rights advocates say this is a dark time for them…

What many view as the gutting of the Voting Rights Act has prompted civil rights advocates to take action. A coalition of 100 organizations including the NAACP will stage a string of protests and acts of civil disobedience to garner momentum to reverse those setbacks, particularly as the country looks toward the presidential election, said Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP.

“We believe that announcing this on Martin Luther King’s birthday is a fitting form of commemoration and celebration,” Brooks said in a telephone interview. “It’s not enough for us to perform community service as though the state of democracy is intact.”

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