Democracy Spring protesters gathered at the Capitol steps for a massive week-long protest of oligarchy. On Monday, many protesters arrived from a 140-mile march according to the Huffington Post. These protesters have walked from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. More activists arrived by buses and cars to join the rally. After a 10-day march, protesters settled down on the steps for a sit-in. Thousands more are expected to arrive over the coming days. These protesters are taking aim at political corruption.
Democracy Spring is dedicated to restoring democracy to America by taking the corporate contributions out of politics. They protest for the repeal of Citizens United, which allows politicians to take unlimited amounts of money from corporations in the form of campaign contributions. These activists believe their voice is being silenced by oligarchy and beneficial legislation is being thwarted by corporate interests.
— act.tv (@actdottv) April 12, 2016
The goals of this massive spring protest are stated in pamphlets and booklets handed out at the protest. This protest has been well planned, and each protester risking arrest has been trained and informed of the potential consequences. Preparation for the protest was extensive. It involved preregistration, training for protesters, ample printed literature, and advance publicity. Below is a direct excerpt from the handouts.
‘This week we began the process of taking back our democracy, with hundreds arrested in our first mass sit-in at the Capitol on Monday April 11. Now day after day through Saturday April 16th we will continue to reclaim the Capitol in a show of hope and for the truly representative democracy we see in our hearts.”
Democracy Spring staged a massive sit-in on the Capitol steps, this act was followed by over 400 arrests on Monday, according to NPR. This is the intention of the protest organizers from the beginning. Protesters were arrested in a peaceful and orderly fashion that kept police busy for hours. Both police and protesters remained respectful, and there was no violence on the first day of protests.
Democracy Spring is trending on Twitter as activists express their excitement about the scene they are witnessing.
— Laura (@robotlola) April 12, 2016
— Zach Bastick (@zachbastick) April 12, 2016
Democracy Spring surprised the police in its size and scope. Police at first only brought one bus to transport their prisoners but soon saw that more protesters only took the place of the ones arrested. Other buses were called out, and more arrests were made. A record was broken today for the most arrests at the Capitol.
Democracy Spring was organized by over 100 different political activist organizations who say that until the people get the big money out of politics, the government will do nothing about prison overcrowding, clean energy, global warming, poverty, income inequality, and the suffering caused by exported jobs. Whatever their original cause, all the groups involved allege campaign contributions, and the effective oligarchy that has led to, have prevented politicians from listening to the demands of the people.
Energy Action Coalition’s executive director, Lydia Avila, explained her reasons for protesting to Desmog.
“We can’t truly combat climate change and enact the strong policies we need to stop it as long as fossil fuel companies continue to buy our politicians, who then provide massive subsidies for the industry. Our democracy is being held hostage by billionaires who are also wrecking our climate and planet.”
Oil Change International campaigner Collin Rees told Desmog it was about far more than the money going into the pockets of politicians.
“Too often the focus is only on money flowing into politics. We spend too little time focusing on what fossil fuel companies get for that money, the huge return on investment. We need to stop the entire cycle of dirty energy money.”
Democracy Spring is a massive protest of corruption and oligarchy representing hundreds of activist causes, but all have come together on the central issue they feel is preventing action in Washington. Protesters have agreed to take the risks necessary to secure democracy and freedom for the next generation.
Democracy Spring has an entire week of protests planned, culminating in a massive teaching demonstration and festival called Democracy Awakening, which is planned for the coming weekend.
[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]