Announcing the NH Rebellion

Friend -- 

In just over one month, we will continue a march that New Hampshire’s Granny D began almost fifteen years ago. 

On the morning of January 11, the anniversary of the death of my friend, Aaron Swartz, and at the place where the voting in America’s 2016 presidential election will start, Dixville Notch, we will begin a march across the state of New Hampshire recruiting citizens to Granny D’s cause — what she called “campaign finance reform, “ and what I call corruption. 

185 miles. 

Across New Hampshire. 

In January.

We need your help (and I don’t mean psychological help!)

What Granny D understood when she began her march from LA to DC at the age of 88 is that our country faces a crisis — a crisis caused by the way politicians raise money to fund their campaigns. From the President on down, candidates spend an extraordinary amount of time — some more than half their time — raising campaign cash. But they don’t raise that money from all of us. Instead, they raise that money from the tiniest fraction of the 1%. Just over .05% of America— one twentieth of one percent — are the relevant funders of congressional campaigns. And as the politicians spend hours every day pleading with that tiny fraction of the 1%, they learn what they must do to keep those funders happy. 

The result is the government that we have — one incapable of addressing any important issue sensibly. Regardless of the question — the debt, or climate change, or real health care reform, or the financial crisis — our government cannot lead because our government is not free to lead. What Granny D saw 15 years ago is that unless we change this political reality, our government will fail — both us and our future. 

This is not a Left/Right issue. The corruption that she saw blocks reformers on the Right as much as it blocks reformers on the Left. Small government is not possible so long as large government makes it easier for politicians to raise campaign cash. And as Jim Hansen, the scientist who got the world to recognize the danger of global warming, put it: "the biggest obstacle to solving global warming is the role of money in politics.” 

That fact is not just true about global warming. The biggest obstacle to solving any important issue in America today is the role of money in politics.

Politicians believe America doesn’t get this. As I was told by one DC insider, “Americans are just too stupid to connect the dots.” We all have issues we care about passionately. But we don’t step back far enough to see that what blocks our issue is the same thing that blocks reform on every issue: the lobbyists and special interest get their way because they are the way campaigns get funded. 

We’re going to prove these politicians wrong. For two weeks in January — beginning on the day Aaron Swartz died, and ending on the day Granny D was born — we will march across New Hampshire recruiting citizens to her cause. And we will ask every citizen we recruit to help us by doing just one thing: At every event where a presidential candidate speaks, we want someone to stand and ask that politician just one question: How will you end the corruption in Washington?

We need your help. 

We need people to march. 

We need many more to support the marchers. 

And we need many many more to know about and support us if we’re going to make this work. 

So please do at least this: Share this email with as many as you can. 

Help us get a thousand times the supporters this cause has, focused on this opportunity to make this issue central. And then please visit our site, to give us whatever additional support you can. March with us, even for just a few hours. Volunteer to help the marchers, by sponsoring their march, or by giving them a place to stay, or some coffee to get warm. And please stay connected to us, so we can keep you informed about how this project develops. 

Granny D didn’t get to see victory in this cause. She died in 2010, at the age of 100, just a couple months after the Supreme Court decide the case that made SuperPACs possible — Citizens United. 

But we will see victory in the cause that she championed. Because without it, our nation will fail. And we cannot fail, if our children are to have a future as great as our past. 

Help us. Support us. And please spread this idea.

Thank you. 

Lawrence Lessig