Atlantans Participated in DC “Democracy Spring” Rallies, at least Two Arrested
(APN) ATLANTA — Over 1,400 people were arrested over several days of massive nonviolent sit-ins on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C., between April 11 and 18, 2016. It was the most people ever arrested at the U.S. Capitol.
Democracy Spring was organized by a coalition of over 120 organizations. It is determined to overturn the controversial Citizens United ruling that has ushered in a period of what some have described as Oligarchy, and put democracy in crisis.
“While each day of Democracy Spring highlighted a particular issue, all of them are united by the fact that they are all impacted by the influence of big money,” Jen Rafanan, an arrestee from Atlanta, told Atlanta Progressive News.
Monday, April 11, addressed the issues of protecting voter rights and getting big money out of politics. Over four hundred people was arrested on Monday.
Tuesday, April 12, covered issues involving senior citizens.
Wednesday, April 13, covered racial injustice.,
Thursday, April 14, covered labor.
Friday, April 15, covered youth and students.
Saturday, April 16, covered climate justice.
“I’ve seen first hand, the difference in how people with money are treated than those without,” Rafanan said.
Jordan Streiff, who has been involved in climate advocacy in Atlanta, was also arrested in DC on Saturday.
“I was impressed with the number of organizations involved from NAACP to 350.org, and all related back to the corrupting influence of money in politics and the passing of Citizens Untied.”
Democracy Spring’s collectivize demand to U.S. Congress is to end the corruption of big money in politics, and to ensure free and fair elections.
They identified at least four reform bills that are already pending before Congress.
First, they want Congress to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, HR 2867 and S 1659.
Second, they want Congress to pass the Voter Empowerment Act, HR 12.
Third, they want Congress to pass the Democracy for All Amendment, HJ Res. 22 and SJ Res.5.
Fourth, they was Congress to pass the Government by the People & Fair Elections Act, HR 20 &A 1538.
The first day over four hundred people were arrested and it overwhelmed the jail. The police had to develop a better system of handling the mass arrests. They set up steel cages in outside areas to process everyone on site before releasing them.
Democracy Spring told the participants if they cooperated with the police, they would be given an option to post and forfeit.
The arrestees had to pay fifty dollars to the Capitol police within fifteen days and the charges would be dropped. They would not go to court, but would have an arrest on their record, although with no conviction.
“Seeing so many of the police officers in person, lined up as we approached the Capitol, was initially intimidating. I was no longer watching this from a live stream on Facebook, but it was happening to me in real life,” Rafanan said.
“Three of my co-workers were arrested. One every day from Wednesday through Friday,” Rafanan said.
“The most moving part was being with so many other people who felt the same way I did and decided that they wanted to take action. It was encouraging and gave me a lot of hope to continue the work. I look forward to hearing some of the next steps from the organization,” Streiff said.
Streiff tells APN that Democracy Spring participants are planning to engage with State House Representatives and State Senators to address issues; and that, in Georgia, the Atlanta Progressive News Legislative Scorecard has been helpful in that process.
They want legislation passed that calls for a constitutional convention to propose a new amendment to the Constitution of the U.S. to overturn Citizens United.
Young people today are not influenced by the corporate media. They get information from independent sources on the Internet, like APN; as well as from social media like Facebook, Twitter, and others.
They see the problems and will create a paradigm shift in consciousness to solve those problems and implement real democracy in the United States.