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Join Us in DC in April
I’ve been wanting to send this email for a long time…. because it could be the start of something that can change the course of history. We at 99Rise have always believed that winning the critical fight to save our democracy would require taking determined, disruptive nonviolent action on a mass scale. Today, I am proud to say that we are finally ready.
We are part of a growing coalition; 99Rise, Avaaz, and a growing coalition are currently organizing Democracy Spring — the largest American civil disobedience action in a generation next April in Washington, D.C.
Now is the time. The 2016 election will be the most big money-dominated, secret money-drenched, voter suppression-marred contest in modern American history. Bernie Sanders’ small donor-fueled, Super PAC-free insurgency is a defiant inspiration, but it is an all-too-rare exception to the rule of an election funded by the billionaire class.
If the status quo goes unchallenged, this election may well yield a President and a Congress more bound to the masters of big money than ever before -- crushing hopes for progress on climate change, economic inequality, mass incarceration, and more. Our planet and people simply cannot afford that. But there is another possibility.
If we intervene in the business-as-usual of this election cycle in a way that no one can ignore, we can make it a turning point toward reform. Pledge to be one among thousands who will risk arrest in mass nonviolent action to save democracy.
Here’s the plan. On April 2nd, in the heart of the primary season as the national election begins to take center stage, a pioneering group of Americans will gather at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia -- where the dream of American democracy took flight -- and embark on a 10-day march to the US Capitol in Washington DC. Before setting out, we will present a simple choice to Congress: take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and make the 2016 elections free and fair for for all people as equal citizens, or be prepared to send thousands of patriotic Americans to jail simply for demanding an equal voice.
When we arrive at the Capitol on April 11th, the march will be joined by thousands who’ve come from across the country to make a stand for our freedom. At that point, either Congress will have miraculously come to its senses and passed the perfectly viable reform bills now pending before it, or those who protect corruption will leave us no choice but to reclaim the People’s House in massive, disruptive, nonviolent sit-ins.
Beneath the dome of the rotunda, on the steps outside the Capitol, and in the offices of our supposed representatives, we will engage in peaceful civil disobedience for at least a week. Day after day, with millions of people watching an unprecedented drama unfold, Congress will put thousands of disciplined, dignified democracy defenders in handcuffs instead of simply doing its job to listen to the people and fix this problem.
Whether Congress acts or not we will win by focusing 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.
With leaders like Lawrence Lessig, Zephyr Teachout, Cenk Uygur, and Mark Ruffalo already pledged to risk arrest and over 40 organizations signed on to help, we can create a watershed moment in America that will force this issue into the spotlight and make the election a referendum on whether our democracy should belong to the People as a whole or to the billionaire class alone.
That’s a referendum we will win, creating a powerful mandate — backed by a surging movement — for the fundamental reform that will give us, finally, the democracy for all which we were promised.
We are ready to take this bold step and will provide the necessary training and legal support to all who join us. But to do it successfully, we need to know we can do it at an historic scale. We need to know that enough people who believe as we do and love our country as we do are ready to join us. If you’re ready, take the pledge.
The moment is ripe for this escalation. Poll after poll shows transpartisan public frustration with the corrupt status quo reaching new, nearly unanimous highs. Voters in Maine and Seattle just passed bold new anti-corruption laws to enact citizen-funded elections. A growing democracy movement has lifted this issue into the public debate. Yet Congress refuses to act. The stage is set for our historic intervention to turn the tinder of passive public frustration into a fire that transforms the political climate in America.
From Selma to Occupy Wall Street, the Tar Sands Action to Black Lives Matter, everyday people have proven the power of mass nonviolent action to rapidly shift the political weather and open the door to reforms previously considered unwinnable. Now it’s our turn.
I know that this is no ordinary ask. But these are not ordinary times. This is the hour to stand tall, to dream big, to challenge ourselves to rise to this historic moment in which we did not choose to live, but which we now must choose to face. With love, with courageous hope invested not in any one leader but in each other, and with the knowledge that generations of Americans before us have passed on to us both the strength that sustained them and the duty to honor their legacy — we must act with a determination matching the urgency of this crisis.
Together we can change the course of history and open the door to a bright, beautiful future.
Join us at the historic sit-in to save our democracy. Even if you can’t risk arrest, we need you with us. We need your support. With great hope and determination,
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