Democracy Spring: 10-Day March To DC, Protesting Campaign Finance Abuse, Happening Now

This week, a stream of protesters have been on foot heading to Washington D.C. in Democracy Spring, a 10-day march to the nation’s capitol that began on Saturday in Philadelphia. The intent of the Democracy Spring march is to protest campaign finance abuse, reports say. The protesters want big money out of politics, according to an ABC News affiliate.

Miram Kashia told NPR that she is a climate action activist and that she blames corporate money in politics for the lack of climate action legislation. Kashia says she’s retired and considers activism her full-time job. Kashia traveled to Philadelphia to join Democracy Spring’s 10-day march from North Liberty, Iowa. By train, it took her two days to even get to the starting point of the Democracy Spring march.

In part, the protesters are challenging the 2010 Supreme Court decision over Citizens United. The highest court’s ruling allowed corporations to promote or attack candidates. The money in politics is just a part of the issue, according to Democracy Spring protester Linda Battista.

“The bailout was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Billions of dollars that wealthy people are just sitting on, while cuts are being made to schools and everybody else is just dealing with austerity.”

Democracy Spring representatives say that corporate donations regularly affect the decisions of elected officials. Of course, this very issue is one of the biggest talking points this presidential election season among the Democrats, especially among Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

Democracy Spring is a grassroots collective of “more than 100 liberal organizations working on environmental, justice and other issues,” NPR reported. The protesters fully expect to be arrested on Monday when they arrive in D.C. to meet up with a larger group of non-violent protesters. That second wave of action has been named “Democracy Awakening.”

Kai Newkirk is the leader of 99 Rise, which is the organizing group behind Democracy Spring.

“It’s not every day that people proclaim and promise that they’re going to sit in and non-violently, peacefully occupy the seat of their government,” Newkirk said.

Professor Larry Lessig of Harvard Law said, at the start of the Democracy Spring march, that while protesters are citing Citizens United, there is a bigger issue at hand. He actually said that Citizens United was the final straw that rallied people into action. He called it the “best thing for the reform movement since Richard Nixon.”

Democracy Spring made their collective intent for the march clear in an online announcement.

“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 will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.”

After the Democracy Spring marchers arrive in Washington, Democracy Awakening will present the coalitions message starting April 11. The coalition of activists groups have meetings, demonstrations, and acts of civil disobedience planned.

Democracy Spring protesters united from all over the country just to walk from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. to draw attention to their message. Mickey San Miguel told the Cecil Whig that he came from Colorado to march to Washington. San Miguel joins a core group of about 120 other marchers. The number of people walking varies at any given time because the core group has been regularly escorted by dozens of people willing to walk with them through their own cities.

“As a country, we’ve legalized bribery,” San Miguel said.

Kai Newkirk said before the march began that about 100 people confirmed that they would make the trek to Capitol Hill, according to an ABC News affiliate. According to the Political RevolutionTV, before the march began, there were about a thousand people who said they would meet the marchers in D.C. for the Awakening. Since the walk began though, over 3,500 people have confirmed that they intend to be a part of the sit-in, but the media is reporting that the figure seems unrealistic.

Friday afternoon, a marcher tweeted that Democracy Spring is just 48 hours away from its destination.

Political RevolutionTV began live streaming the Democracy Spring march early Friday afternoon, and you can watch it below.

[Image via Democracy Spring]