Democracy Spring Protesters Stop in Baltimore En Route to DC
Kai Newkirk and actor Sam Waterston talk to the Real News about why hundreds have promised to be arrested in Washington next week if Congress fails to end the domination of money in politics
CROWD: One person.
SPEAKER: One vote.
CROWD: One vote.
SPEAKER: Money out.
JAISAL NOOR, PRODUCER, TRNN: I’m Jaisal Noor for the Real News Network here in Baltimore. Just a few minutes ago the Democracy Spring march that started in Philadelphia last week, it’s ending in D.C. on Monday, came to Baltimore. We spoke to some of the participants and we also spoke to Sam [Waterston], who’s taking part in the march.
KAI NEWKIRK: We’re walking from Philadelphia, 140 miles to Washington, D.C. to call on Congress to take action and end corruption, and give us a democracy that works for all.
SAM WATERSTON: Because everything turns on this. Every other issue that you care about, every other candidate that you care about, turns on this one question [of] how every voice is going to be heard in our democracy and what the balance of money is going to be in our democracy, and how our elections are going to be conducted, because the vote is the center of the democracy, so.
KAI NEWKIRK: Well, we’ve made a simple demand to Congress. You need to take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free and fair elections that give us all an equal voice, right? And if they don’t do anything, if they won’t take one step of among the solutions that are on the table that they can move right now, then we feel we have no choice but to sit in, nonviolently, in mass numbers, in a peaceful protest, and to reclaim the people’s house. They either have to listen to the people, do their job and save our democracy, and send us all to jail.
NOOR: And why do you think civil disobedience is the step right now, an escalation of the current, like, march?
NEWKIRK: It’s nonviolent people power. We’ve never made progress in our country and other countries around the world until people were willing to step up, put our bodies and our liberty on the line to take a stand and say, no, this has to change.
NOOR: And when you arrive in D.C., what’s your message to concerned citizens? Obviously, this has become a huge issue in this election campaign, and it’s been Bernie Sanders, independent senator from Vermont, that sort of took this in the forefront, and now other candidates have also said this is important.
NEWKIRK: Yeah. Well, this is a nonpartisan movement, right? And we’re calling on Americans across the political spectrum, progressive, conservative, independent to join us, to take a stand and say to members of Congress, anyone running for office, for any office, if you want to represent us, you need to make a decision. Are you with the people on the side of democracy, or on the side of big money and corruption? And if they choose the wrong side, we should take them out of office.
NOOR: So, obviously power concedes nothing without a fight. What is going to be your response if, after your sit-in, there’s still no action? What is the next step going to be?
NEWKIRK:: Well, there’s one of two things that are going to happen. Either Congress is going to come to their senses and listen to the people and take action, because there are solutions they can move on right now. This problem can be solved. We can protect the right to vote. We can get big money out of politics, right? But if they do nothing and instead they send us all to jail, day after day, patriotic defenders of democracy sitting in to demand an equal voice, it will be, we believe, from the numbers we’re seeing, the largest civil disobedience of this century, and it’s going to send a message that no one can ignore, that the American people are standing up.
We’re going to take our democracy back, and there will be a political price to pay for anyone who defends the status quo of corruption, and I think that will impact this election. So we’re going to win regardless of whether they take action now or we create a movement moment that’s going to push them to ultimately take action.
NOOR: Thank you so much.
NEWKIRK:: Thank you. Great to be here.
NOOR: Stay tuned to the Real News on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as we’re going to be live streaming the protests and demonstrations the Democracy Spring will be carrying out in Washington. As you’ve heard, they are prepared to carry out civil disobedience if their demands are not met. Thanks so much for watching.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.