Letter from Ronnie Dugger
Forwarded by Tim Scanlon <parcival@erols.com>

A letter to DC-area Alliance for Democracy Colleagues from Ronnie Dugger

January 23, 2000

Dear Alliance for Democracy colleagues in the Washington, D.C., area,

This is to invite you to witness, support, or directly participate in
another Democracy Brigade action against crimes against democracy in the
Capitol Rotunda in Washington at 10 pm Monday, January 31st.  I ask that
every one of you who can help with this event do so.  Economic justice and
deep democracy need every one of you now.

The Capitol Rotunda has become the central location in the Alliance's plans
for bringing forth in the country this year a nonviolent citizens' revolt
against the corporate domination and campaign finance corruption which are
destroying our democracy, if it's not already destroyed.

So for any of you in the Washington area chapter who have wished there was
more for you to do in the local work of the Alliance, them wishin' days is
over.  We intensely need from this day forward not only every one of you but
many more activists whom you bring in to help save our country with mainline
direct action centered in the national Capitol.

Direct action edged in civil disobedience is the missing necessary
ingredient in all our efforts to arouse the country to stop the crimes that
are being perpetrated against the people day after day in the national

A good number of you turned up at a meeting last fall to help us plan the
first Capitol steps rally and Rotunda demonstration last October 26th for
full public funding of all public elections.  The outside rally, sponsored
by AfD and co-sponsored by Public Campaign and United for a Fair Economy,
was a rousing success.  Then, with the crucial advance help of many of you,
nine of us went into the Rotunda, began reading our "Citizens/ Address to
Congress," unfurled a banner, and were handing out pamphlets, when we were
arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.  Six received small fines in
November.  On March 13, Steve Shafarman of the DC chapter, Patricia Hammann
of the Baltimore chapter (she is from Gettysburg, Pa.) and one of the
Alliance's ombudspersons, and I will be tried for demonstrating in the
Capitol Rotunda.

The Democracy Brigadiers intended that that first action be the start of a
month-after-month series of actions in the Capitol Rotunda to culminate in a
nonviolent citizens' revolt against the betrayal of our democracy in service
to the giant corporations.

The January 31st action is the second in the series, based in the theme that
the true "State of the Union" is  the betrayal of democracy by campaign
finance corruption, the imperviousness of Congress and the entire political
class to the demands and interests of the people for clean elections no
longer polluted by corporate money.  Anyone directly participating in that
action will be expected to participate also in nonviolence training near the
Capitol from 4-8 p.m. the Sunday night before the action, January 30th.

On Sunday February 13th at the Old Hungarian Embassy , I will speak on this
project during the D.C. area Alliance chapter meeting and potluck supper,
and if you cannot attend or take part in the January 31st event in the
Rotunda, I hope to see and talk with you about all this on February 13th. We
need to meet and talk and listen to each other, and if and as we agree, then
to proceed in action in coordinated, intelligent, dignified, and determined

On or about Feb. 29th Granny D arrives at the Capitol after her 3,000-mile
walk across the continent for campaign finance reform, and on March 1st yet
another Democracy Brigade action is planned.  And then another, and another,
and another, building in numbers, at the same place, on the model of the
successful anti-apartheid demonstrations at the South African Embassy in

We need to act.  I hope tht everyone in on this in Washington will feel
called to help in some way, to build up the chapter for the taxing work
ahead, to be witnesses, monitors, support persons, and, for those who so
decide, to participate directly in the actions in the Capitol Rotunda. Never
before since we started out together five years ago has it been so important
that one chapter effectively network with other similarly-inspired
organizations and movements in their area, to cooperate with and participate
in their actions and bring them into ours.

This is a lot to digest suddenly, and it raises a lot of questions, and
above all it is a great challenge.  But we are ready for this challenge.

We have worked through the pains of founding a new organization whose
mission guaranteed difficulties in raising funds.  We have stayed with it
because we know that our mission is historic and if we can achieve it we
must.   Deep in my gut I know we are taking hold in the real work now and
are being put to the test.

SO:  If you can witness or support or participate in the Rotunda event
January 31st, please communicate at once with Randy Kehler, the director of
recruiting for the Democracy Brigades, at 413-624-3836 or
<randyk@javanet.com> (copy to me at <rdugger123@aol.com>).  And I hope to
see you Sunday afternoon February 13th to talk together as long as we need
to, and those of us who come together on what's needed, to do itóget ready
for Granny D, some of us go walk into Washington with her, get ready then
for March lst in the Rotunda -- go for broke for economic justice and deep
democracy in this our time in our country.

In Alliance,
Ronnie Dugger