Filed Under:  National

Massive civil disobedience planned at U.S. Capitol

29th February 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Allen Koch
Contributing Writer

(Special from Facing South) – On April 2, hundreds of Americans will gather at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to begin a 10-day march south to the nation’s capital to engage in mass civil disobedience. Over 2,000 people so far have pledged to risk arrest.

Why are they willing to walk 140 miles and go to jail?

They are demanding that the U.S. Congress “listen to the People and take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure our elections are free, fair, and afford every American an equal voice, regardless of wealth.”

The historic event is part of Democracy Spring, a series of protests and other actions aimed at challenging the dominance of big money in politics and voter disenfranchisement. A coalition of over 90 organizations is participating, including 99Rise, Avaaz, Democracy Matters, the Energy Action Coalition, MAYDAY.US, and MoveOn.

Organizers are asking members of and candidates for Congress to sign an Equal Voice for All People Pledge that states their support for “pro-democracy reforms including voting rights protections, anti-corruption measures, citizen-funded elections, and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.”

The organizers point to four bills introduced in Congress that would achieve these goals: the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which restores the protections of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013; the Voter Empowerment Act, which expands voter registration and ballot access; the Democracy For All Amendment, which overturns the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and limits money in elections; and the Government By the People Act/Fair Elections Now Act, which provides small donor matching funds and tax credits to encourage small-dollar contributions.

If Congress takes no action, the sit-ins will continue until police “send so many of us to jail that it will be the largest civil disobedience action in the United States in a generation,” Kai Newkirk, Democracy Spring’s campaign director and founder of pro-democracy organization 99Rise, said during a conference call about the event last week.

“Congress must be confronted and we must reckon with this issue as a nation,” Newkirk added.

“We are at a tipping point in our democracy,” says New Orleans hub coordinator Anita Daniel. “Fighting against the influence of money in politics has never been more important … The time has come for a massive act of civil disobedience.”

This article originally published in the February 29, 2016 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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