Democracy Spring are the words on lips of thousands across the country today. Over 400 peaceful protesters were arrested in a sit-in at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Yesterday.
“More than 400 individuals have been arrested for unlawful demonstration activity, and are being processed using mass arrest procedures,” the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement early Monday evening. Those taken into custody will be charged with “crowding, obstructing and incommoding.” reports CNN.
Arrested for being an “inconvenience” while exercising their right to peacefully assemble.
v. in·com·mod·ed, in·com·mod·ing, in·com·modes
To cause to be inconvenienced; disturb.
Many of them arrived in Washington via a nearly 150 march from Philadelphia that started on April 2nd.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilXxVrCj0NY]
If those numbers seem staggering, think again because there are over 3,900 people who have pledged to take part in and/or risk arrests during this week long sit in and events.
The week long events are “scheduled to draw attention to our corrupt campaign finance system and rigged voting laws,” a spokesperson for Progressive Change Campaign Committee told CNN.
There is a mainstream media black out on the week long sit-in scheduled to take place. I live just 45 minutes away in Baltimore. After watching local and national news for 3 hours this morning I had heard nothing from the most trusted local and national journalists. I bet you didn’t either. People have traveled from across the country to participate. Not only have 100 groups and organizations formed a coalition to support the campaign , but a slew of notable public figures have pledged to participate as well.
Many notable public figures were some of the first arrested yesterday in fact Cenk Uygur, host of “the Young Turks” the largest online news show, was arrested. Former police captain Ray Lewis was arrested as well as the co founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Adam Green.
“Today, I join others in non-violent civil disobedience in order to help focus the nation’s conversation on these key democracy issues — and the public needs politicians to start acting now,” he said in a statement. Adam Green, PCCC
“People are fed up with the system, they are fed up with the corruption, and we want free and fair elections,” Cenk Uygur, host of the TV show Young Turks and one of the protesters told RT. “This is our core American right.”
Democracy Spring is aiming to have the ‘Largest civil disobedience action of the century’ and they’re off to a great start. Yesterday’s 400 arrests broke the record for the most people arrested in one protest at the capitol building.
This is no random thrown together movement either. This is a well planned initiative that involved prior training. The organizers of Democracy Spring secured legal representation before the sit-in ever started. The group’s website says it has already secured the legal aid of an unnamed lawyer “with decades of experience with civil disobedience cases.”
“He is leading a team of pro-bono lawyers who will provide legal counsel and representation for all participants who risk arrest as part of this campaign,” The website asserts.
Following the arrests Democracy Spring released a statement through their website. The statement asserts that protests will continue through April 16th as they “continue to reclaim the capitol in a show of hope and for the truly representative democracy we see in our hearts.”
Democracy Spring released a press release yesterday, it states in part,
“The coalition is calling on Congress to pass four bills: the Government by the People Act and Fair Elections Now Act; the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015; the Voter Empowerment Act of 2015; and the Democracy for All Amendment. In addition, they are calling on the Senate to confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court who will vote to uphold political equality.”
The press release also notes that though the Democracy Spring campaign is through April 16th that it is not the end of the movement to get big business out of politics in the nations capitol planned.
“This week of historic nonviolent action at the capitol includes a 3-day series of teach-ins, rallies and marches in D.C. convened under the umbrella of Democracy Awakening, culminating with a Congress of Conscience Day of Action on Monday April 18, where hundreds more from both groups have pledged to risk arrest.”
Read the whole press release HERE
“People are coming from Montana, Seattle, and other states around the country,” Newkirk told Breitbart News in a phone interview. “They are driving, taking buses, flying, because there are so many people from across the political spectrum that are just tired of the status quo of a democracy that works for the super rich and not for the everyday American. They want to take this stand to say enough.”
Democracy Spring campaign director told Brietbart last month.
The Democracy Spring Campaign website calls for action
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? Why now?
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.
We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won’t leave until they do — or until they send thousands of us to jail, along with the unmistakable message that our country needs a new Congress, one that that will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.
With hundreds of patriotic Americans being sent to jail, day after day for at least a week, simply for sitting in to save our democracy— the drama in Washington will rock the business-as-usual cycle of this election and catapult this critical issue onto center stage. We will 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. 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.
THERE ARE RULES TO THIS
protest rules for those engaging in civil disobedience:
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
For anyone who doesn’t see this as a major political statement from the people of the United States against the American government, think again. The effort put into planning and executing this is epic. It’s reminiscent of the Selma marches and sit-ins of the 1960’s . 400 arrested yesterday with over 3,000 more ready to stand beside them. It’s the same tactic Dr. Martin Luther King used. Crowd the jails, make a groups so large they can’t contain them all and the media has no CHOICE but to report. Show the world, not just the country, what happens when you exercise free speech in America.
400 arrested yesterday with more being arrested today. It’s just a start of a week long movement. One group taken away and more will just fill in. The training sessions, the daily meetings. Notable people being arrested. It’s a move straight out of Dr. King’s playbook. It worked before, why can’t it work again. The world will have to take notice. The is what made civil rights finally possible, not all of the marches and protest but the fact that it continued to a point that the media had to take notice of how the peaceful protesters were being treated.
If seeing 400 people arrested in ONE day for peacefully assembling, as is their constitutional right, doesn’t bother you it should. That’s 400 people now with criminal records now. Arrested for “crowding, obstructing and incommoding” remember that. If they can’t arrest you for what the WANT to arrest you for they will find SOMETHING to charge you with. D.C. Jails are now packed with peaceful protesters and not criminals, even worse, innocent civilians thrown in with the common criminal. That’s America though, jails full of innocents while people turn a blind eye. Will you turn you eyes away from what’s going on in Washington D.C. Right now?
Below is a list of the individuals and groups pledged to be a part of Democracy Spring
Public Pledgers & Endorsers
Frances Moore Lappé
Umi Selah FKA Phillip Agnew
Frances Fox Piven
Captain Ray Lewis
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
The Yes Men
Louis Leo IV
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Alexandra Flores Quilty
15 Now Philly
100 Grannies for a Livable Future
African American Ministers in Action
American Ethical Union
American Family Voices
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Big Apple Coffee Party
Brave New Films
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for the Working Poor
Citizen Action NY
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Coffee Party USA
Columbus Campaign for Arms Control
Conscious Elders Network
Delaware Get Money Out
Democracy for America
Democratic Socialists of America
Dolores Huerta Foundation
East Coast Cannabis Coalition (ECCC)
East Point Peace Academy
Elders Climate Action
Energy Action Coalition
Food & Water Watch
Franciscan Action Network
Friends of the Earth
Georgetown Law Students for Bernie Sanders
Get Money Out – Maryland
Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL)
Institute for Policy Studies
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC)
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Jewish Voice for Peace
Just Foreign Policy
Leadership Development Initiative
Marc Osten Consulting
March Against Corruption
March Against Monsanto
Maryland Committee to Amend
Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN)
Money Out! People In!
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National People’s Action
Network of Spiritual Progressives/ Tikkun Magazine
New Hampshire Rebellion
Oil Change International
Office of the Americas
PA United to Amend
Pay 2 Play
People Demanding Action
People for Bernie
People for the American Way
People Over Politics
People’s Empowerment Project
Pride at Work-New York City/Long Island
Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)
Progressive Democrats of America
Real Food Challenge
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
Small Planet Institute
Social Security Works
South Central Wisconsin United To Amend
St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, The Rochester NY Catholic Worker
Stop Police Terror Project DC
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County
Unite Here Local 23
United Native Americans
United for Peace and Justice
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)
United States Student Association (USSA)
United We Dream
U.S. Climate Plan
Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice & Peace
Veterans for Peace
We are Woman
We the People Massachusetts
Wisconsin Grassroots Network
Women for Bernie
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, DC Branch
Working Families Party
World Beyond War
Youth Jobs Coalition / We Have a Future