The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Peter James Callahan, Democracy Spring Communications Director / (315) 430-6334

AFL-CIO All In Behind Democracy Spring

Nation’s largest labor federation joins over 100 organizations mobilizing their members to sit-in to save democracy at the U.S. Capitol in April.


The AFL-CIO has become the latest in a long line of organizations endorsing Democracy Spring, one of the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation.

More than 2,000 individuals from around the country, including Mark Ruffalo, Larry Lessig, and Zephyr Teachout as well as dozens of other civil society leaders, have joined Democracy Spring and pledged to risk arrest in a massive, peaceful sit-in in the U.S. Capitol. The protesters will demand that Congress immediately pass comprehensive legislation to end the era of big-money politics and ensure a democracy in which every vote counts, and every voice matters.

There's something in the air...

In a statement, the AFL-CIO Executive Council said, "Our members must be engaged as voters, activists, volunteers and stakeholders. Our unique infrastructure, which is in place in 50 states, allows us to catalyze organizing, mobilizing and resourcing democracy work with and through our affiliates, constituency groups and national strategic partners. Therefore, we stand firm with the principles of the Spring Democracy uprisings:

  • expansion and protection of voting rights at the federal and state level;
  • preventing corporations and the wealthy few from buying elections;
  • changing structural rules to ensure that every vote and every voice counts equally; and
  • reshaping the political debate to demand full democracy at every level of government.

The institutions of our government need to function on behalf of the people regardless of who has power--it is bigger than parties, politics or profits. That is why this spring, when thousands of Americans stand in solidarity to demand reform, the labor movement will call for the Senate and House, the nation's highest deliberative bodies, to act as the founders intended and ensure democracy for all."

The campaign will kick off on April 2, when a pioneering group of marchers from around the country will gather at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to issue a simple demand to Congress: take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure our elections are free, fair, and afford every American an equal voice.

In the spirit of Granny D, Cesar Chavez, the Selma marchers and others who have fought for equality, the marchers will then set out on a 10-day, 140-mile march from Philadelphia to the nation's Capitol. If Congress fails to act by April 11th when marchers arrive in D.C., they will conduct an historic, nonviolent sit-in in the Capitol to force Congress' hand.

"Democracy Spring is coming. This latest endorsement from the AFL-CIO and the enthusiastic public response to Democracy Spring demonstrates Americans' deep frustration with a political system that no longer hears our voices. Democracy Spring will turn widespread frustration into a powerful force to reclaim government of, by, and for the people," said lead organizer Kai Newkirk.

Immediately following the mass sit-ins, Democracy Awakening will build on the momentum of Democracy Spring as thousands more pour into the nation's capital for three additional days of direct actions, public education, and mass mobilizations.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) works tirelessly to improve the lives of working people. We are the democratic, voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women.