in 2016, we organized the largest American civil disobedience action of the 21st century, with over 1,300 people arrested for sitting-in on the steps of the Us Capitol.
Together, we are building a grassroots social movement to defend democracy and ensure political equality for all.
Join the movement
Democracy Spring is a momentum-driven organization with a core "DNA" that allows our local team network to organically grow and replicate across the country while maintaining a common strategy, structure, and story. We disseminate the DNA through intensive local trainings. Get a preview here.
These Principles are the founding agreements that unite and define us as Democracy Spring. Actions that violate them are not our actions. Anyone may affiliate with us and use our name and symbols so long as they follow our Principles. We all take responsibility to ensure that these Principles are followed by every member of Democracy Spring.
1. We have a Common Mission.
We fight to end the corruption of big money in politics and guarantee the universal right to vote in free and fair elections. We will establish real democracy in the United States by passing fundamental reforms to protect and expand voting rights, establish publicly funded elections, and overturn Citizens United.
2. We believe Another World is Possible.
If we win a real democracy, we will open wide the door to a future free from the profound crises of our time: racist mass incarceration and deportation, historic economic inequality, failing education and healthcare systems, endless war, accelerating climate change, and more. We share a common story of moral urgency, progressive vision, and radical hope. Humbly, we follow in the tradition of all who have struggled to realize the dream of democracy in our nation.
3. We have a Common Strategy.
We take escalating nonviolent action within a common Grand Strategy to build active public support for our movement and win fundamental democracy reform. We understand that ordinary people — not economic or political elites — have ultimate power in society through our consent and cooperation. Recognizing that the vast majority of the American people support our cause of political equality, we use bold direct action to call passive allies into the fight.
4. We are a Nonviolent Movement.
We maintain nonviolent discipline in all our actions and communications. By upholding our Code of Nonviolence, we open the way for anyone to join our movement, secure the moral high ground, and starkly reveal the injustice of the status quo.
5. We Welcome All.
People of every background, identity, or circumstance are welcome in our movement family. We strive to create a diverse, inclusive community with room for everyone to take leadership, especially people of color, women, LGBTQ people, low-income people, and others who are marginalized. We work together to overcome racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and all forms of oppression within our movement.
6. We Depend on Each Other.
Our strength and resilience lie in our relationships – none of us can thrive alone. All of us deserve love, joy, and rest. We understand that every individual’s personal well-being is integral to our strength as a movement. With empathy and affection, we care for ourselves and each other. With song and celebration, we nourish our community.
7. We Appreciate every hand on the plow.
This movement will take all of us. There are countless ways to contribute to our cause and each of us is called and supported to serve it differently. As we encourage one another to risk and sacrifice for our common purpose, we recognize the many different forms our service may take. We lift up every contribution to our struggle, no matter how small. We can never say “Thank You” too much.
8. We take Initiative.
Any group of 3 or more people may form an autonomous local team and take independent action as Democracy Spring, so long as they do so in accordance with these Principles of unity. Our decentralized structure encourages creativity, risk-taking, and innovation to help us find the most effective ways to fulfill our common mission.
9. We are a Leaderful Movement of Volunteers.
We affirm leadership not as a means to dominate, profit, or gain status, but as an act of service and responsibility and a process of development and empowerment. As a volunteer movement, we struggle because we believe in the mission. Financial support may be provided to full-time National Support Center organizers, but is guided by the ethic of voluntary simplicity and determined according to need rather than market evaluations. We do not accept money from those who seek to influence Democracy Spring.
10. We are One Piece of a larger puzzle.
We recognize that many different kinds of organization and work are necessary for our struggle. We welcome any partnership through which we may advance our mission while upholding our Principles. We stand in solidarity with all those who fight to end injustice on every front. While we deeply appreciate the importance of creating alternative institutions and pursuing personal transformation, we understand that our mission calls us to focus first and foremost on challenging the injustices of dominant institutions.
11. We practice Democracy.
We strive to maximize democratic collaboration throughout our movement so that all voices are heard and every person empowered. When making collective decisions, we use a modified consensus process so that no one voice can block common progress. If full consensus cannot be reached after extensive dialogue, a two-thirds vote may advance a decision.
12. We Vote.
We understand that elections shape the political terrain on which we fight. Recognizing the right to vote as a sacred inheritance earned by the blood of our forebears and not yet shared by all, we who possess the franchise take seriously our duty to exercise it. As an independent movement, we vote strategically to elect candidates who will be more likely to stand with or make concessions to the movement. Thus, we prepare ourselves to make the fullest use of the free & fair elections our victory will establish.
American democracy is fundamentally broken. The corruption of big money in politics makes our representatives beholden to billionaires and corporations instead of everyday people, while widespread voter suppression is taking away millions of Americans' fundamental right to vote. Sweeping commonsense reforms could solve these problems.
big money in politics
Our political system runs on Big Money. A tiny fraction of the wealthiest 1% fund our politicians' campaigns, making them dependent upon a minuscule economic elite instead of the vast majority of everyday people. The results are predictable: publicly elected officials end up representing the interests of billionaires and corporations at the expense of everyone else.
On issue after issue—from climate change, to healthcare, to wealth and income inequality, to mass incarceration and deportation—big money in politics stands in the way of serious progressive change.
The 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC, made the problem much worse by permitting unlimited amounts of money in our elections through Super PACs and nonprofits. At least $6.4 billion was spent during the 2016 election.
Every election, millions of Americans are kept from exercising their sacred right to vote due to various laws that either make it harder to vote or which disqualify them altogether from the franchise.
Republican politicians who fear being voted out of office use voter suppression laws to keep typically left-leaning populations away from the polls. Voter ID laws, cuts to early voting, elimination of same-day registration and pre-registration, and cuts to the total number of polling places are all voter suppression tactics that disproportionately affect people of color, young people, and poor people. Since the start of 2017, 99 new bills have been introduced in 33 states to restrict voting access.
6.1 million Americans are unable to vote due to felon disenfranchisement laws, with 1 out of every 13 black adults disenfranchised due to these laws, compared to 1 out of every 56 non-black voters.
The sweeping reform agenda we need to solve these problems is simple and straightforward:
- Guarantee the right to vote for all people.
- Ban big money in politics and enact publicly funded elections.
- Overturn Citizens United.