People from coast to coast, from big cities and small towns and from red states and blue states united the weekend of January 19 in a call for voting rights and to protest the overwhelming power of money in politics.

Rallies were held in 75 cities and towns across the country. Each had its own local flavor with creative demonstrations. All shared the common purpose of a growing movement seeking an end to voter suppression and the corrosive influence of big money on our democracy.

Public Citizen joined 56 other organizations in this nationwide “Money Out/Voters In” call to action that was supported by civil rights organizations like the NAACP, environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, faith groups like the Franciscan Action Network, labor groups like the AFL-CIO and even the founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company, among many others.

The rallies protested the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which opened the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. The last presidential election saw political spending rise to record levels, reaching $6 billion on federal elections alone.

The rallies also honored the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and decried recent attacks on voting rights. The last presidential election saw many eligible citizens discouraged from voting by new voter ID laws, misinformation and other scare tactics. Such efforts disproportionately impact young, old, minority and low-income voters; the NAACP has labeled them as “James Crow, Esq.,” and one Pennsylvania legislator openly bragged about the partisan motives behind that state’s ID requirement.

In the spirit of Dr. King’s work and memory, citizens called for a full democracy, where no one is kept from voting and all citizens have a voice.

In Olympia, Wa., activists joined in an organized day of lobbying at the Washington State Capitol to demand lawmakers stand with the majority of Americans and against Citizens United.

Meanwhile, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, concerned voters rallied in support of two resolutions that are currently before the Texas legislature calling for just such amendment. Attendees had reason to celebrate as the Austin City Council passed a similar resolution.

Wichita, Kas., was the scene of a mock trial reviewing the Citizens United case, with activists playing attorneys and witnesses."money out voters in"

In Chicago, Ill. citizens rallied to stop, in their words, the “theft of our democracy.”

The mayor of Richmond, Calif., joined 300 demonstrators up close and personal at the Chevron refinery gates. Organizers called the oil and gas giant “a poster child for the corrupting influence of corporate money” because of the millions of dollars it has contributed to influence elections in Richmond and nationally.

Georgians exercised their free speech rights at the state capitol in Atlanta this weekend, too.  Rally-goers honored MLK day by calling for the end of voter suppression, while simultaneously demanding big money out of politics.

Activists in Philadelphia had a big rally at LOVE Park, with speeches by elected officials, union leaders, and other notable speakers. Local organizations such as Philly Rootstrikers and PennPIRG joined national ones, along with former Philadelphia City Councilmembers and Pennsylvania State Representatives to make the case against Citizens United and for democracy.

New Yorkers saw an unusual wedding, between a natural person and a corporation, in an event highlighting the absurdity of equating a corporation with a person. There were speeches, teach-ins, a rally and a march, all culminating with the big wedding.

Check out our album of more photos from all over the country!

These were just some of the exciting events connected to this nationwide movement calling for “Money Out, Voters In” and putting voters back into the driving seat of government.

Public Citizen is helping lead a movement which is growing in force, with more than 350 cities and 11 states going on record in support of overturning Citizens United so far. After the most expensive campaign cycle in history, we’ve seen overwhelming support of voters across the country on Election Day for a constitutional amendment and the willingness of millions to stand in long lines in the face of efforts to limit voting.  We know that this movement can and will succeed in restoring democracy of, by and for the people.

Luis Mazariegos is an intern with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign. You can follow the campaign on Twitter @RuleByUs.

Missed the debrief call? No worries, you can listen to it here.

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Comments

  • This is The PEOPLES TIME!!! It’s NOW or NEVER! Every 4 years and a few other Votes in between is NOT OUR VOICE any LONGER!

  • This is an awesome campaign. Wish this had been in effect in 2000 and 2004. Money should never be a factor in a democracy.

  • pete keay

    It all comes down to what Sly & The Family Stone suggested that we all do decades ago : STAND !

    One voice is just a lonely sound lost in the wind, A thousand voices creates a disturbing echo, and a million an unmistakable roar.

    STAND !

  • Stanley B Fossett

    There appears to be much fragmentation on the progressive agenda. So many limited or even single issue groups. I get so many solicitations from so many groups that i sign the petitions,but do not contribute financially. The Koch brothers and other vultures are laughing.
    What needs to be done is to harness the power of the almost unregulated American capitalist system…organize effective, nationwide boycotts against companies which try to subvert the democratic process, which have bought and paid for laws creating special advantages for that company only or entire industries.
    I was a member of an AFL-CIO union. They purport to have boycott lists, but i never saw any posted or mailed or emailed to me. A serious effort must be made to punish the anti-social conduct of corporate management and directors.
    The deaths of 27 miners a few years back is an excellent example…by appealing safety violations in the mine that was the site of the tragic deaths, the managers and owners of that mine committed a criminal offense. ‘Depraved Indifference Murder’ is not a joke. Law enforcement, the legal profession, so called, the judiciary in that state are all guilty of ‘AIDING AND ABETTING THE COMMISSION OF A FELONY’. That is but one example of the putrefaction of any legal standards in the USA. If you wear a suit and tie, you can buy whatever you want from Senators, Congressmen or govt. regulators. If you can’t buy whatever you want from those corrupt groups, corporations only need to conceal illegal activities, after all…if they are caught they get only minor penalties, if held responsible at all. Such as selling strategic technologies to militant China and Russia.
    THIS MUST STOP !!!!! US regulators have one foot in their regulatory jobs and their other foot in the camp of the very corporations they are supposed to be regulating. Why? Because they look to the corporate groups they are supposed to regulate as their next employer.
    Boycotts, on a huge scale are needed. Politicians are bought and sold or just plain lie.

  • Kay Lang

    I love it! This is what it takes. People who are informed and involved taking to the streets to get the attention of many who are too busy just trying to survive. This one is really a clever idea:
    In New York City, a marriage was held between a person and a “corporate person.”

  • William Fenton

    Voters Power is greater than the Supreme Court Power. We must use it to defeat Big Money Power.

  • Richard Smith

    Are you crazy?!? None of these “exciting events” have accomplished a damn thing, and they never will other than to work in the plutocrats favor by defusing some of the energy of the demonstrators, which would be better directed to killing their enslavers rather than providing them with amusement by grovelling before and begging them. They have loaded guns pointed to our heads, and loaded guns pointed to THEIR heads is all they will understand, respect, or respond to. Until those kinds of events start happening, save the rest of the Pollyannish crap for the masses of American slaves as deluded as yourselves.

  • Cecile Heatley

    this is great, I am all in favor of voters in, money out.
    I hope you will have a rally in Washington DC soon. I will go as long as it’s not on the same day as a rally for reducing gun violence.
    I went to the rally on gun violence on January 26, we were about 2000 people at the Washington Monument.

  • Could it be? Is it really possible? Is there hope for democracy after all? FORWARD!!!

  • Sherry

    Reading this article is like waking up on the very best Christmas Day ever. I am so excited that there is, in fact, a growing, well organized movement to save American democracy as we know it by overturning the treason filled Citizen’s United ruling (which has been gaining momentum since it’s 2010 judicial stamp). This is a much needed confirmation that the people have a voice and actually DO GET IT. We are, according to this article, actually taking the necessary steps to stop the pestilence that looms large, today, because of the Citizen’s United ruling. YES!!! We must take to the streets at courthouses around the country. We must stand tall and demand an end to this repulsive Corporate bear hold over elections. We must stop allowing Corporations to bankroll deception and hate (and further the endless greed of so many mega-corporations. The hundreds of millions (billions) spent on hate ads and disinformation . . . and the whole Citizen’s United ruling . . . the underlying toxin, are very dangerous to American freedom, indeed. While we are still a free country, until the Citizen’s United ruling is ERASED, this country could easily be bought and sold to the 1%. (With that ominous political control, the carnage is unimaginable for the environment, ultimately, I fear.)

    This article shows that we still have a chance to save our democracy from tyranny and our planet from ruin. The oppression that looms, still, will not just go away, certainly. We must not take our eye off of the ball in this very tricky political climate. We must roll up our sleeves and begin to fix our broken political loop holes, while we still can do it. Who knew it could be so easily “rigged”.

    Though the grass roots GOP movement has used this ugly “loop hole ruling” to buy (steal) elections, we, the people, did manage to beat them in the Presidential election (THIS TIME). But, we are still loosing ground, The Congress is completely dysfunctional, and when Wall Street. dirty coal and oil and the mega-banks manipulate us for huge profits, we the people must take to the streets –and fast. I am so relieved this appears to be happening . . . finally. We certainly can do more, too. Everyone needs to get involved. We must STOP THE CITIZEN’S UNITED RULING FROM REACHING ITS FULL POTENTIAL, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE FOR US ALL.

  • Marilena Silbey

    WELL DONE! This is what Obama meant when he said “Show me the Movement!” And this is the only way real progress has ever been made…through public uprising!
    Please also show your support for the 1 Billion Rising on Feb 14th!
    I think it is time for regular demonstrations to keep the pressure on! I saw a 53 minute presentation titled, Beyond Me that culminates in a HUGE peaceful demonstration!
    Now is the Time!!

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