PHILADELPHIA – Over five hundred activists have pledged to risk arrest by engaging in nonviolent mass civil disobedience at the Democratic National Convention here in Philadelphia between Monday and Thursday, according to Kai Newkirk, mission director for the Democracy Spring activist group.
During an in-person interview outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia, Newkirk revealed that, besides street protests, activists from his group will attempt to infiltrate and disrupt this week’s DNC events from the inside.
Democracy Spring claims it is a movement attempting to “end the corruption of big money in politics and guarantee the right to vote for all Americans.”
The organization is part of a coalition of activist groups calling themselves the DNC Action Committee. Those organizations, which in addition to Democracy Spring include Black Lives Matter, Reclaim Philadelphia, and Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign, are planning marches and protests throughout the duration of the DNC.
There are reports that Philadelphia law enforcement officials are expecting between 35,000 to 50,000 protesters per day during the DNC.
Democracy Spring’s Newkirk told Breitbart News that over 500 people from his group alone have pledged online to risk arrest.
He said his organization has been in touch with hundreds of activists by phone to coordinate specific details. He stated that each protester is required to attend training sessions to “maintain a non-violent discipline and to act together as a unit.”
Asked to enumerate Democracy Spring’s specific civil disobedience plans, Newkirk stated:
“We’re not going to go over the tactical details of what we are going to do exactly; when and where, you know for this. But the actions will be non-violent. But we will be disrupting business as usual in different ways potentially inside the convention, potentially outside in the streets.”
— Aaron Klein (@AaronKleinShow) July 24, 2016
I asked Newkirk what he meant about disrupting inside the convention.
The revolutionary replied: “We don’t know exactly who or when or where obviously. Or just what time. But yes, we will be trying to get the people inside the convention who can do actions if necessary. But most people will be outside because that’s where the public can get.”
“So our plans are to do mass civil Disobedience, nonviolent but insistent if our demands to the Democratic party are not met.”
Asked if he believes the DNC protest movement can turn violent, Newkirk stated, “I think it’s very unlikely certainly from any protesters.”
So I know a lot of people are angry and distraught and upset about where things are at, but we are calling on everyone to understand that strategically to win change in our country that non-violent struggle is the most effective path.
And I think to criticize the violence of protesters when we don’t criticize the violence of our government and the violence which is endemic in our culture I think doesn’t help. We all want to work together against that. We all want to have a peaceful society but we also want to have a just one and those can go together. So ours is a non-violent movement that is fighting for just conditions and a democracy that works for all.
Newkirk’s Democracy Spring has recently stirred chaos on the streets of Washington, DC. In April, hundreds of the group’s activists were arrested in mass civil disobedience near the Capital building.
Democracy Spring already started its activism here on Saturday, protesting outside as the Democratic Party Rules Committee met, with the group’s activists, including Newkirk, demanding the Party abolish super delegates.