Other Group

Democracy Spring

Type of Organization:

Other

Founded:

2016

Founder:

Kai Newkirk

Democracy Spring is a left-of-center organization that organized protests against campaign speech and election security. [1] Its website stated that it was nonpartisan, but admitted its leadership was made up of progressives. [2] Democracy Spring officially ended in the summer of 2019. [3]

Democracy Spring organized a protest in April 2016, on the United States Capitol where over 1,300 people were arrested while protesting the opposition to Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, election security laws, and campaign speech. [4] It also organized a sit-in at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, protesting its superdelegate system in addition to the issues from its previous protest. [5]

Background

Founded in 2016, Democracy Spring was a left-of-center activist organization that organized protests and advocated for restricting campaign speech and weakening election integrity. [6] Democracy Spring’s website stated that it was nonpartisan but admitted it was organized by left-progressive leaders. [7] Democracy Spring officially ended in the summer of 2019. [8]

Democracy Spring was composed of over 120, mostly left-of-center, organizations and was endorsed by dozens of high-profile activists, including Mark Ruffalo, Noam Chomsky, and Cenk Uygur. [9] In addition to organizing protests, Democracy Spring had a list of “demands,” which was a list of legislation that would “overturn” the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, restrict campaign speech, and weaken election integrity. [10]

Activities

2016 Democratic National Convention

At the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, Democracy Spring organized a sit-in, blocking the doors to the convention. It was there to advocate for abolishing the superdelegate system and a set of bills that would restrict campaign speech and weaken election integrity. [11] The bills included the Voting Rights Advancement Act, Voter Empowerment Act, Democracy for All Amendment, Government by the People Act, and Fair Elections Now Act. [12]

Democracy Spring Protest

Democracy Spring was formed in April 2016 through its initial protest called the “Democracy Spring,” a march from Philadelphia to the United States Capitol. Over the course of seven days, 1,300 Democracy Spring protesters were arrested in D.C. while protesting campaign speech, election integrity laws, the resistance from Republicans regarding the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. [13]

Prior to the protest, Democracy Spring urged participants to bring $50 in cash in anticipation of being arrested. One of the endorsers of the protest, Rosario Dawson, posted a YouTube video a week before the protest stating that the organizer’s goal of the protest was to break the arrest record at the Capitol by having over 1,000 people arrested in one week. D.C. police reported that those who were arrested were given citations for crowding, obstructing, or incommoding and most were only given a $50 fine. [14]

People

Kai Newkirk cofounded Democracy Spring and served as its director. He is a self-described progressive activist who also founded For All, a left-progressive nonprofit organization that campaigns to promote identity politics-based approaches to race issues. [15]

Democracy Spring’s website had a list of “endorsers,” who were also present for its spring 2016 protests. Some of those listed include Larry Lessig, Cenk Uygur, Noam Chomsky, Dream Defenders cofounder Umi Selah, executive director for Democracy Matters Joan Mandel, and Jodie Evans. [16]

References

  1. “Our Story.” MarchOnHarrisburg. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://www.mohpa.org/our-story. ^
  2. “About Democracy Spring.” Democracy Spring. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20161026101306/http:/www.democracyspring.org/about. ^
  3. “Democracy Spring.” MarchOnHarrisburg. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://www.mohpa.org/democracy-spring. ^
  4. [1] O’Donnell, Jayne. “More than 900 ‘Democracy Spring’ Protesters Arrested in D.C. – so Far.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, April 18, 2016. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/04/16/hundreds-democracy-spring-protesters-arrested-dc/83123326/. ^
  5. “Inside the ‘Democracy Spring’ Protests at the DNC – CNN.” Accessed April 18, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/politics/democracy-spring-dnc-protest-philadelphia/index.html. ^
  6.  “Inside the ‘Democracy Spring’ Protests at the DNC – CNN.” Accessed April 18, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/politics/democracy-spring-dnc-protest-philadelphia/index.html. ^
  7. “About Democracy Spring.” Democracy Spring. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20161026101306/http:/www.democracyspring.org/about. ^
  8. “Democracy Spring.” MarchOnHarrisburg. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://www.mohpa.org/democracy-spring. ^
  9. “April Endorsers.” Democracy Spring. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20161010114006/http:/www.democracyspring.org/april_endorsers. ^
  10. “Our Demands.” Democracy Spring. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20161009172808/http:/www.democracyspring.org/demands. ^
  11. [1] “Inside the ‘Democracy Spring’ Protests at the DNC – CNN.” Accessed April 18, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/politics/democracy-spring-dnc-protest-philadelphia/index.html. ^
  12. “Our Demands.” Democracy Spring. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20161009172808/http:/www.democracyspring.org/demands. ^
  13. Greenberg, Adam. “Democracy Spring Heralds the End of Money in Politics.” HuffPost. HuffPost, December 7, 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/democracy-spring-heralds-_b_10148402. ^
  14. O’Donnell, Jayne. “More than 900 ‘Democracy Spring’ Protesters Arrested in D.C. – so Far.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, April 18, 2016. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/04/16/hundreds-democracy-spring-protesters-arrested-dc/83123326/. ^
  15. Kai Newkirk. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://www.kainewkirk.org/. ^
  16. “April Endorsers.” Democracy Spring. Accessed April 18, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20161010114006/http:/www.democracyspring.org/april_endorsers. ^
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