April Mobilizations To Hit the Streets in D.C.
The movement to overturn Citizen United has taken on new political energy this year, as two allied mobilizing drives organize massive protests in Washington, D.C., this April. The two mobilizations, named Democracy Awakening and Democracy Spring, began independently from each other but are increasingly coordinating their planned April activities. Those will include a large demonstration April 17, a march from Philadelphia to D.C., civil disobedience and lobbying Congress.
Both mobilizations have built impressive, broad coalitions, which include labor, clean-government, religious, environmental and progressive groups. Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening each came together around two main demands: 1) eliminate or reduce the influence of big moneyed interests in American politics, and 2) guarantee all voting-age citizens the right to vote and have their votes counted. In the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing on Feb. 13, they have added a third demand: that President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court get a fair hearing and a full vote in the Senate.
The two coalitions have somewhat different orientations. Democracy Spring grew out of an activist California group called 99Rise, which itself has roots in the Occupy movement . It’s perhaps best known for disrupting a session of the U.S. Supreme Court by loudly demanding a reversal of Citizens United, and getting arrested. Democracy Awakening originated more with left-liberal good-government groups like Public Citizen, People for the American Way and Common Cause.
There appear to be no sharp ideological differences between the two coalitions, though Democracy Spring is putting more emphasis on civil disobedience. Its website stated on March 6 that 2,329 people had pledged to risk arrest in sit-ins at the Capitol. A number of organizations have joined both coalitions, including the AFL-CIO, Friends of the Earth, MoveOn, WolfPac, Public Citizen, NOW and the Unitarian-Universalist Church.
Democracy Awakening plans a three-day program April 16-18, including teach-ins and direct-action training on Saturday, April 16; a large rally at the U.S. Capitol on Sunday the 17th, and both direct action and lobbying Congress on Monday the 18th.
Democracy Spring plans a rally at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia April 2, followed by a march from Philadelphia to D.C. April 2-11. From Monday April 11 to at least Saturday April 16, there will be sit-ins day after day, in what the organizers call “the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation.”
Both mobilizations are seeking support, including funds of course, transportation, housing for demonstrators in D.C. (floor space is OK), and food. Find out more at www.democracyspring.org and http://democracyawakening.org.
Every amendment advocate knows in their gut that eliminating, or at least reducing, systemic corruption in American politics will not be accomplished without getting millions of citizens active in this struggle. These April mobilizations are a great opportunity to make the case for amending the Constitution as the most effective, least reversible way to curb corruption and big money power over U.S. politics. It’s also a good pool for recruiting more volunteers to the cause.
The Amendment Gazette encourages readers to take advantage of this opportunity, as well as look for other opportunities to educate citizens of all political ideologies on the issues of constitutional rights for artificial entities and spending money as a form of protected speech. And please send us info on local/regional opportunities you discover so we can share them here.