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July 10th Democracy Brigade... [DC]

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    From: ArtBrigade@aol.com Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2000 01:45:38 EDT Subject: Re: An update from DAMN TO: Comrads FROM: Jim Ace, Alliance for Democracy RE: Granny
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2000
      From: ArtBrigade@...
      Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2000 01:45:38 EDT
      Subject: Re: An update from DAMN

      TO: Comrads
      FROM: Jim Ace, Alliance for Democracy
      RE: Granny D to join July 10th Democracy Brigade...
      How about you?!
      DATE: June 29, 2000

      LAST CALL!!! for people willing to risk arrest in the next Democracy Brigade
      on July 10th. The Brigade is a part of the "launch event" for the Free
      Democracy Network (FDN) and Democracy In Motion Roadshow (DIM). We've got a
      handful of volunteers and we're looking for a few more. So if you're in the
      greater Washington, D.C. area and you'd like to plug into a great action with
      Brigade-veteran Doris "Granny D" Haddock, please contact me as soon as
      possible. There will be a nonviolence training and action preparation meeting
      on July 9th followed by the action on July 10th. The issue is campaign
      finance corruption and its links to corporate domination of the political
      system and public policy. All are welcome, especially those risking arrest
      for the first time! Tell a friend! We need YOUR help recruiting!
      Thanks, Jim Ace 510-548-1256



      TO: Ruckus alumni
      FROM: Jim Ace, Democracy Brigade Coordinator
      RE: Please RECRUIT for the Democracy Brigade
      DATE: June 26, 2000

      Next Democracy Brigade: July 10th
      Historic Rotunda, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

      Dear friends,

      On April 16, 1963, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a letter from
      inside the Birmingham City Jail, in which he asked his critics to, "see the
      need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that
      will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the
      majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood." So must we inspire our
      fellow Americans to rise up, to act as nonviolent gadflies and take
      responsibility for putting into practice the principles of democracy that we
      Americans hold dear. Our Democracy Brigade actions constitute a bold new
      initiative toward that end.

      This memo is to let you know that our next Democracy Brigade action is set
      for July 10th, just two weeks away. As with previous Brigade
      actions, this one will be a dignified, non-confrontational act of nonviolent
      civil disobedience, involving the unfurling of large banners, leafletting,
      and speaking aloud about the Crimes Against Democracy committed by Congress
      (not to mention the presidential candidates) under the guise of "campaign

      By "Crimes Against Democracy," we are referring to, and will be protesting,
      Congress' solicitation and acceptance of campaign contributions from the
      same wealthy individuals and giant corporations whose economic interests
      Congress is supposed to be regulating on the public's behalf. In short, we
      will be protesting a system of privately financed elections that is rife
      with legalized bribery, extortion, and gross conflict of interest -- a
      system that necessarily results in criminal neglect and malfeasance with
      respect to the welfare of people and the environment. These are indeed
      crimes against democracy.

      As before, this upcoming July 10 action will take place in the Capitol
      Rotunda in Washington, D.C. -- sometimes referred to as "the people's
      hall," which is situated between the U.S. Senate and House chambers. While
      we regard this action as an exercise of our First Amendment rights to free
      speech, free assembly, and the right to petition our government for a
      redress of grievances, such activity is prohibited in the Rotunda.

      Please consider taking part! And please ask your family, friends,
      neighbors, colleagues, roommates, partners, spouses, bosses, etc. if they
      would like to participate as well. And, if your are able, please do what you
      can to publicize the event locally.

      There will be three ways to participate in the July 10th Democracy Brigade:

      1) Risking arrest
      2) Providing direct support
      3) Bearing witness as a citizen observer

      If you would like to participate in any way, please contact me immediately.
      And I hope you will give any interested individuals my name and number, and
      I will contact them with further information. There will be more
      information and updates to follow.

      Finally, I've attached below the press advisory we sent out after our last
      (the 4th) action, involving the John Muir Democracy Brigade, to go give you
      an idea as to what these actions are like.

      Liberty and justice for all,

      Jim Ace
      Temporary e-mail: jimaceman@...

      April 24, 2000


      For more information contact Ronnie Dugger at the Alliance for Democracy,
      781-894-9726 or rdugger123@....

      Led by Doris Haddock ("Granny D") and the revered environmental writer Bill
      McKibben, the 32-member John Muir Democracy Brigade, a merger of
      campaign-finance and environmental activists, sallied forth in the Rotunda
      of the national Capitol on Friday, April 21 -- the day before Earth Day and
      the birthday of Sierra Club founder John Muir -- with banners and speeches
      for an end to the endangerment of the earth by oil, coal, and nuclear
      industries. All 32, including Granny D, McKibben, and leaders of various
      organizations, were arrested by the Capitol police for "demonstrating" in
      the Capitol contrary to a federal law which carries a maximum six- month
      jail term.

      "We no longer have proper representation," Ms. Haddock, the 90-year-old
      woman who walked across the continent for campaign finance reform, told a
      press conference on the Senate lawn before she led the group into the
      Rotunda. "Our elected leaders are consumed by the need to raise election
      funds from special interests, and they no longer are able to represent the
      needs of the people or of our ravaged earth.

      "We must declare our independence from the corrupting bonds of big money,"
      she continued. "Our right to alter our government must be used to sweep
      these halls clean of greedy interests so that people may use this
      government in service to each other's needs and the protect the condition
      of our earth."

      This was the fourth Democracy Brigade action, and the largest, since last
      Oct. 26th. Their enormous banners proclaimed that "Campaign Finance
      Corruption Leads to Environmental Destruction," "When Democracy is for Sale
      So Is the Environment," "Stop Global Warming--Ban Campaign Contributions
      from Global Warmers," and "Clean Elections Equal Clean Environment." The
      Brigades, a project of the Alliance for Democracy, are demonstrating on
      behalf of full public funding for public elections. They aim to obtain
      official congressional hearings on that proposal by the spring of next

      McKibben, the author of THE END OF NATURE, said that there is now a "strong
      consensus" in the scientific community that global warming is dangerous and
      that even some large companies, such as British Petroleum and Shell, have
      joined in the concern. "The only people that seem not to get it work in
      that building behind us," which "may have something to do with the millions
      and millions of dollars that flow in to that building from the interests
      that do not want to change the status quo," McKibben said.

      Referring to Granny D's walk, McKibben said, "When I'm 90 I plan to walk
      across the country, and hopefully it will still be as sweet and lovely a
      country as it is now."

      John Passacantando, executive director of Ozone Action, declared that "this
      type of peaceful civil disobedience is the new face of democracy. It's not
      just about voting any more because in some way that has been stolen from us
      by what's going on in this building behind us....It has ceased to be the
      people's house."

      At some point, said Randy Hayes, president of the Rainforest Action
      Network, democracy "becomes a democracy theme park," in which the two major
      parties represent "a distinction without a difference" and jeopardize "the
      earth itself." Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass
      Energy Project, told the press conference: "The Democracy Brigade is here
      today to demonstrate that people will not stand for this type of legalized
      bribery any longer."

      Representing the principal sponsor of the event, the Alliance for
      Democracy, Ronnie Dugger said, "We are a part of a general nonviolent
      uprising of the people against the sale of our government to the highest
      bidder." Congress and the White House, by "risking the killing of this
      green and pleasant earth and all that lives on it" to rake in campaign
      contributions, are committing "a crime so vast it has no name," Dugger also

      The speakers and allied activists then followed Granny D into the Capitol
      Rotunda and spoke out in six separate groups, which the Capitol police
      arrested one at a time. McKibben was arrested with the first group and Ms.
      Haddock with the third. Ms. Haddock was reading a passage from the
      Declaration of Independence when she was arrested and handcuffed. The
      demonstrators, including all the speakers at the press conference, were
      photographed and their thumbprints taken, and they were ordered to appear
      in District of Columbia court on May 24th to answer the charges against

      The press conference and Rotunda speak-out were carried at length on C-Span
      and were featured news on NPR's "All Things Considered." Ms. Haddock's
      arrest was the subject of an AP story and a feature article in Roll Call,
      the Capitol Hill newspaper.

      The Rotunda actions will continue throughout the year 2000. Those who wish to
      participate in the next action may contact Randy Kehler at telephone
      413-624-3836, or by email at randyk@.... Further information may be
      obtained from the Alliance national office at 781-894-1179.



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