by Eric Stoner
Last week, I was arrested at a sit-in to get big money out of politics and protect voting rights in Washington, D.C. With more than 1,300 people arrested on the steps of the Capitol since April 11 — including The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur, Harvard law professor and former presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig, Ben and Jerry’s cofounders and actress Rosario Dawson — the Democracy Spring campaign has pulled off one of the largest acts of civil disobedience this century.
The timing, in many ways, couldn’t have been better. Not only did the Panama Papers drop while more than a hundred were on a 10-day march from Philadelphia to Washington preceding the sit-ins, but the corrupting influence of money on elections has been a major focus of the media spotlight. It’s estimated that by November $10 billion will be spent this election cycle, which would make it the most expensive election in history. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has been under fire in recent days for earning more in one speech — from corporations like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and General Electric — than Bernie Sanders and his wife made in all of 2014, according to his recently released tax return.
Democracy Spring is the culmination of years of hard work by 99Rise, which has organized a number of other smaller actions — including a historic disruption of the Supreme Court — to raise awareness on the issue and build the movement.