On January 19, 2013, the people of Austin rallied on the South steps of our State’s Capitol to voice our displeasure with the state of our venal campaign finance system since the egregious Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, and supported proposed legislation in our State legislature to overturn Citizens United. My fellow campus team Rootstrikers from the University of Texas and I were present with fellow local activists from Wolf PAC, Moveon.org, the Justice Party, Common Cause, Progress Texas, Public Citizen, Move to Amend, Texans United to Amend, and Occupy. Representatives from each group gave a speech voicing their opposition to Citizens United. There were also performances by local musicians, poets, and comedians—there was even a puppet show with politicians as the puppets.
You can see my speech here:
While the rally was originally a protest against Citizens United, and it was that for sure, it became a rally to support legislation proposed in the Texas State legislature: SCR 2, HCR 21, and HCR 25. The first two call on the Congress of the United States to draft and pass an amendment to the constitution to overturn Citizens United and establish a publicly funded campaign financed system, and the last calls for an Article V convention for the people to draft an amendment to cure Congress’s dependency on special interest money.
It was encouraging to see the number of people passionate to save our republic. Over the course of three hours about 300 people attended. At one time there were over 100 people rallied at the South steps. While this was not as impressive as the rally by the gun activists on the North side of the capitol that occurred the same day, it was still a significant number of people to come out against Citizens United, and a few of those who attended the gun rally stopped by our rally in support—proving that campaign finance reform is a nonpartisan issue.
The rally was encouraging, but it is still an uphill struggle to fight against the “tyranny of mere wealth.” Rallies like this and the bills proposed in the state of Texas, and many states and cities around the nation, are only seeds being sown. The burden of change still lies with us, the people.
You can see a montage of speeches given here.
You can also see a great speech by Nelson Linder in its entirety here.