Washington, beware: Democracy Spring is officially on its way to “reclaim the People’s House.”
So declared Kai Newkirk, Democracy Spring’s campaign director, who spoke to Breitbart News on Saturday while the movement marched outside the city limits of Philadelphia.
“We are going to disrupt business as usual until our demands are reached,” stated Newkirk.
The coalition of far-left groups plotting mass civil disobedience, with thousands pledging to risk arrest, launched its operation on Saturday at Liberty Bell in Philadelphia’s Independence Mall.
— CODEPINK (@codepink) April 2, 2016
From there, the revolutionaries have set out on a 10-day trek with eight stops in total, culminating in a sit-in in Washington, D.C. on April 11 that is slated to last at least five days and is supposed to be the movement’s main event.
— Democracy Spring (@DemSpring) April 2, 2016
Newkirk vowed: “If by the time we get to DC, Congress doesn’t respond to our demands then we will sit in and nonviolently reclaim the People’s House and they will have to make a choice between listening to the vast majority of the people who want them to take action against corruption and big money in politics or arresting us all and having us sent to jail.”
“And we want to send a message that the American people are not going to accept inaction in the face of this corruption any longer, and everyone who wants to hold office needs to take a side either with the people or against us.”
— Daily Pennsylvanian (@dailypenn) April 2, 2016
For those in Washington who side against the people, Newkirk warned, “there will be a price to pay in the streets, in their offices, at the polls and …everywhere.”
He stressed that Democracy Spring is a “nonviolent movement of civil disobedience.”
Spring is coming! pic.twitter.com/Z89CzQwGNz
— Democracy Spring (@DemSpring) April 2, 2016
From Philadelphia, Democracy Spring marchers are planning protest stops in Wilmington and Newark in Delaware; Perryville, Joppa, Baltimore, Elkridge, and Beltsville in Maryland; and then encamping in Columbus Circle at 11 AM Eastern on April 11.
Newkirk said that 100 people are currently participating in the full march, with activists hailing from 33 states across the country. Each city stop is expected to draw its own pool of local protesters. Newkirk said that at least 100 more people are marching with Democracy Spring today in Philadelphia.
Newkirk said his organization has secured the help of local churches and residents who are “opening up their homes and establishments, providing food and housing, and some committing to come.” He said that the march itself will not include civil disobedience tactics.
The main civil disobedience event is slated to be the sit-in that starts on April 11 in D.C. As of this writing, Democracy Spring has 3,161 confirmed protesters who pledged specifically to risk arrest at that function.
Those protesters signed an option on the coalition’s website explicitly stating, “I pledge to be one among thousands who will risk arrest to save democracy in DC between April 11 – 16.”
In a separate interview with Breitbart News last week, Newkirk explained that “people are coming from Montana, Seattle, and other states around the country.”
“They are driving, taking buses, flying, because there are so many people from across the political spectrum that are just tired of the status quo of a democracy that works for the super rich and not for the everyday American. They want to take this stand to say enough.”
Newkirk said he is “confident” that “if Congress doesn’t respond to our demands and they would rather send people to jail, then it will be the largest civil disobedience of the century.”
“We are committed to non-violence,” he stressed. “That is the principle of our campaign.”
Updates to the group’s website stress April 11 as the intended main escalation.
The updated logistics page now states: “We want to make the biggest impact on day one: Monday, April 11th. With massive participation on April 11th, we’ll have the momentum and energy to break through as a national media story and mobilize the support to carry us through the 16th and beyond.”
‘Largest civil disobedience action of the century’
Last month, this reporter penned a widely-read article documenting that with little fanfare and almost no news media attention, some of the same radical groups involved in shutting down Donald Trump’s Chicago rally earlier this month were plotting a mass civil disobedience movement under the banner of Democracy Spring.
They intend to march across the East Coast in order to spark a “fire that transforms the political climate in America.”
Democracy Spring is threatening “drama in Washington” with the “largest civil disobedience action of the century,” replete with the arrest of thousands of their own activists.
“We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won’t leave until they do — or until they send thousands of us to jail,” the Democracy Spring website declares, channelling rhetoric from the Occupy movement.
The group is backed by numerous organizations, including the George Soros-funded groups MoveOn.org, the Institute for Policy Studies, and Demos.
The pro-Bernie Sanders MoveOn.org has been playing a prominent role in organizing anti-Trump activism, including in the recent shutdown of the billionaire’s rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.
Another group endorsing Democracy Spring is the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The DSA’s Chicago branch drove protesters to the nixed Chicago Trump event, as this reporter exposed.
The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation, announced in a press release earlier this month it is “all in behind Democracy Spring,” perhaps indicating significant mobilization.
What do the radicals claim to want?
Despite the fact that many of the main groups endorsing Democracy Spring are funded by billionaire Soros, the group complains that “American elections are dominated by billionaires and big money interests who can spend unlimited sums of money on political campaigns to protect their special interests at the general expense.”
But if the status quo goes unchallenged, the 2016 election — already set to be the most billionaire-dominated, secret money-drenched, voter suppression-marred contest in modern American history — will likely yield a President and a Congress more bound to the masters of big money than ever before.
The stage is set for a bold intervention to turn the tinder of passive public frustration into a fire that transforms the political climate in America, that sparks a popular movement that can’t be stopped.
The group continues:
We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won’t leave until they do — or until they send thousands of us to jail, along with the unmistakable message that our country needs a new Congress, one that that will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.
The leaders of the group have already held training sessions, the website says. Democracy Spring states it is requiring “mandatory nonviolent civil disobedience trainings twice a day for those risking arrest from April 11th-16th.”
For those arrested, the group says it has already secured the legal aid of an unnamed lawyer “with decades of experience with civil disobedience cases.”
“He is leading a team of pro-bono lawyers who will provide legal counsel and representation for all participants who risk arrest as part of this campaign,” the website continues.
Democracy Spring is threatening “drama in Washington” that cannot be ignored: “With hundreds of patriotic Americans being sent to jail, day after day for at least a week — simply for sitting in to save our democracy — the drama in Washington will rock the business-as-usual cycle of this election and catapult this critical issue on to center stage.”
The group says that it is not plotting violence.
The website posts the following rules for those engaging in civil disobedience:
We will use no violence, verbal or physical, toward any person.
We will maintain an attitude of openness and respect toward all we encounter in our actions.
We will not destroy or damage any property.
We will carry no weapons or any means of physical defense, including shields.
We will not wear masks or otherwise conceal our faces or identities.
We will exercise personal and collective responsibility to ensure that all participants adhere to this agreement.
Despite the involvement of groups active in opposing Trump, Democracy Spring’s website does not mention Trump by name. In December, Newkirk interrupted Trump at a CNN-hosted GOP debate, saying, “The American people deserve free and fair elections, not billionaire auctions.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.