Patriots Day

Last Saturday was Patriots’ Day, and the NH Rebellion celebrated in style - by walking the talk for democracy and asking the question at the biggest gathering of 2016 candidates yet.  Nearly 100 people participated along the 15-mile route, and between the historical reenactments and the hamburgers, a good time was had by all.  

A spirited group of walkers started the morning in Lowell, Massachussetts at the Pawtucket Congregational Church.  Paul Revere, played by our own Ellen Read, led them north from under the church’s ringing Revere bell.  We were all grateful for the hospitality of the Pawtucket congregation and their Reverend, Ruth Richards.

The walkers enjoyed sunny skies on their way to Nashua City Hall, where they were overjoyed by the crowd awaiting them.  At first, King George III tried to steal the microphone and praise how thoroughly the American campaign finance system concentrates political power in the the hands of an oligarchic elite, but he was soon put in his place when Paul Revere came riding into the square to raise the cry "The fat-cats are coming!" and call on the assembled patriots to put an end to systemic corruption once and for all in 2016. Paul Revere was followed by 15 year-old walker Ella McGrail, whose stirring adaptation of Henry Longfellow’s poem inspired the assembled crowd to continue Revere's patriotic cause in our time.  Jeff Clements, co-founder of Free Speech for People, also spoke about the growing national movement to stop the corrupting influence of money in politics after Citizens United.

When the group departed for the Crowne Plaza hotel, the walkers stretched for several blocks.  Some carried signs, others carried flags. Many wore patriotic Paul Revere hats, and all lent their voices as we approached the presidential summit.  Intrigued by the commotion, much of the local and national media attending the summit came out to hear us, and Paul Revere was able to deliver our anti-corruption message to a broad audience. 

After all that hard work, the walkers deserved a celebration, and they had one just across the street from the presidential summit.  We grilled burgers and hotdogs, enjoyed Ben & Jerry’s, and marvelled at the Stamp Stampede’s Amend-o-Matic Stanpmobile before packing up the flags and calling it a day.  A huge thank you to all of the walkers and drivers who made this latest march for democracy a success!  Check out pictures, video, and media coverage.

Get ready to march again on Memorial Day Weekend, July 4th, and beyond (details coming soon)!

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Ride Again - A poem by Ella McGrail

Ride Again

DMW_1945.jpegOne if by land and two if by sea,
And the die had been cast by the lamplight’s decree,
From the eye of the night in a cold belfry perch,
America burned from the peak of the church.

We were a line in an empire’s plan,
A pawn in the palm of Great Britain’s hand,
Yet in the most wretched and ragged of states,
We dealt England a blow and conquered our fates.

We were not impoverished, not wanting for bread,
Yet we would not settle to be sheltered and fed,
We demanded our freedom, where our spirit derives,
A dream for which thousands would lay down their lives.

And we’ve lived with that pride near three centuries in,
We showed to the world that the people could win,
We have fought to preserve through fire and brawl,
Liberty, freedom, and justice for all.

Yet here once again we have come under siege,
Though the enemy now does not lie overseas,
It is growing within us, a monster we’ve bred,
By greed and by excess it’s nurtured and fed.

The voice of the people and the power it’s owed,
Is being dismantled, dishonored, and sold,
And America’s choices, the people’s to make,
Now so grossly distorted for the wealthiest’s sake.

We look to our leaders in both of the wings,
And see nothing but puppets on the plutocrat’s strings,
The papers are lost, now made deaf to the truth,
And the high court’s decision has swept up the proof.

Bastardized now is the source of our pride,
The country split between two bitter sides,
It seems that to fight would be fruitless and yet,
The dream of this nation we must not forget.

Our most precious doctrine above any other,
Is that not one life is worth more than another,
Prestige and position don’t make one more whole,
And no wealth of no size can outweigh any soul.

They can muffle our cries but they are there still,
They can weaken our rights but they can’t touch our will,
No matter the odds, the length, or the strain,
We have conquered injustice and we’ll do it again.

We thank the brave others who fought to the last,
And remember the message that rings from the past,
The reason for fighting is stronger than fear,
For posterity’s sake and for those we hold dear.

This precious idea’s a perennial seed,
It’s only a matter of when it succeeds,
Under any condition it’s able to cope,
And the only defeat is giving up hope.

We must hold our faith and never lose sight,
That our cause is not easy but Lord is it right,
To keep us a country where freedom is sought,
And never a country where freedom is bought.

Liberty’s essence is our right to choose,
I pray we’ll not wait till we’ve nothing to lose,
For the sake of the future and the name of what’s been,
Nation, I ask you, to ride once again.

(written by Ella F.W. McGrail / April 2015 )

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NH Rebellion will be in Nashua April 18, but not allowed at the FITN Republican Leadership Summit

NHRebellion registered as a sponsor of the Republican Party’s First-in-the-Nation [FITN] Leadership Summit. We were disappointed to learn on Tuesday that the New Hampshire Republican Party decided to cancel our sponsorship.

Since it appears too late to urge the NHGOP to reconsider their decision, we will be relying on our conservative supporters and New Hampshire media attending the event to respectfully ask all candidates this one question: “What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?” and to share with us video or audio recordings of their responses so that what they say becomes a matter of public record.

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Why Pres. Obama's suggested Mandatory Voting plan wouldn't address corruption

President Obama, speaking at the City Club of Cleveland Wednesday, was asked what he thought he could do about the issue of money in politics. And his answer - for the short term, at least - is to suggest that America make voting mandatory, as they do in Australia.

Whatever advantages to mandatory voting, it wouldn't do anything to stop the flow of money in politics. Indeed, it may worsen the problem, as the most apathetic towards voting would be most likely to be affected by the expensive advertising campaigns that require politicians to sell out to the highest bidder.

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Our Next Act

Ours is no ordinary drama.

Act 1 [complete]: Walk 12,081 miles through the New Hampshire snow to show the nation that We the People are fed up with big money corrupting our politics, and we won’t stand by. Thanks to your incredible sacrifice, our January walk was the biggest and boldest demonstration of citizen support for reform in memory, giving hope to many and winning headlines around the nation. Check out this CNN story and read our Report to the Movement to see how far we’ve come. 

Act 2 [underway]Ask the Question of every presidential candidate until they commit to real reform of money in politics. Sign our petition today demanding the candidates answer our Question, What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics? While you're there, join a local team to question the candidates directly when they visit NH and other primary states – and be sure to request a free bumper sticker! 

AskTheQuestion2-1440.jpg

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Presidents Day

Happy Presidents Day. On this day, our message to the next President – fix the root problem first.

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Report to the Movement

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We've compiled our official "Walk for Reform" report.  You can download the full version as a PDF here, but here are some of the highlights from the report:

Over ten chilly days, nearly 500 registered walkers logged 12,081 miles carrying signs and American flags to raise awareness and demonstrate to the presidential candidates that the people demand reform of money in politics. The walkers held 34 public engagement events across New Hampshire involving over 2,000 citizens and caught the attention of thousands more Granite Staters and millions of Americans through 132 media reports in over 50 state and national publications. On January 21st, the four walks converged on the state capitol in Concord for an historic Rally for Democracy and “Granny D Gala: Walk the Talk” on the 5th anniversary of the Supreme Court Citizens United decision.

Building on the success of the inaugural 190-mile New Hampshire Rebellion walk from Dixville Notch to Nashua, NH in January 2014, the January 2015 walk added three additional routes totaling 300 miles. An estimated 500 walkers participated, including 441 registered walkers from 42 states and seven foreign countries; 132 individuals signed up to walk for multiple days. The walkers logged a combined 12,081 miles before arriving together in Concord for a State House rally and celebration on January 21st.

To maximize exposure and increase participation, the four simultaneous walks departed from four corners of the state in Dixville Notch, Keene, Portsmouth, and Nashua, NH. The walks covered between 40 and 150 miles each over 4 to 10 days, reaching 47 New Hampshire cities and towns home to 37 percent of the state’s population. Each walk featured daily outreach, educational, and/or theatrical events free and open to the public in libraries, churches, community centers, parks, etc.

The walks were organized by Open Democracy’s team of field managers and pro-bono partners, and supported by over 100 volunteer drivers, hosts, and community organizations. Volunteers provided meals and accommodation in churches, community centers, home-stays, and motels. Walkers wore safety vests and carried signs, American flags, and educational materials for general public distribution. Participation in the walks was open to the public and free of charge.

NH Rebellion Walks Overview, 2014-15
  Launch Walk,
January 2014
Independence Walk,
July 2014
Cross-NH Walk,
January 2015,
Total
Results
Route Distance (mi.) 190 16 300 506
Distance Walked (mi.) 6,581 8,352 12,081 27,041
Total Walkers 207 520 500 (est) 1,227
Multi-Day Walkers 19 n/a 132 151
NH Cities/Towns 22 5 47 51
NH Population Covered 29% 4% 37% 40%
Media Exposure (hits) 115 35 132 282
Temperature Range -3°F to 40°F 65°F to 74°F -37°F to 39°F -37°F to 74°F
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Lawrence Lessig Talk at NHRebellion Granny D Celebration

Celebration marking the end of the second NHR walk across New Hampshire in January and the 105th birthday of Doris "Granny D" Haddock. 

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Congressman Sarbanes Speaks to the NH Rebellion

Message from Congressman Sarbanes to the NH Rebellion walkers. 

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Our community is stronger than political corruption

Feb. 3 — To the Editor:
Last month nearly 100 residents of the Seacoast area helped complete the NH Rebellion’s Granny D Walk to end systemic corruption in elections. After marching through the ice and snow for 50 miles down Route 4 from Portsmouth to Concord, they arrived at the State House on Jan. 21 for a day of festivities, joining hundreds of other walkers who had traversed the state from Keene, Nashua, and Dixville Notch.
I had the distinct privilege of being part of our local walk from Portsmouth to Concord. This movement is about connecting with our local communities and empowering each other, and I was humbled by the participation of so many dedicated individuals and community-minded local businesses. Along the four-day walk, very many local organizations and businesses participated, either by assisting the walkers or cheering us on from the sidelines.
Many heartfelt thanks go out to all those organizations that opened their doors to the walkers as we passed by. Overnight housing for us was graciously provided by the Community Church of Durham, Epsom Public Library, and Northwood Congregational Church — and we were kept well-fed by South Church of Portsmouth, Newmarket Community Church, Bow Lake Baptist Church, and Northwood Advent Church. And amazingly, all of the students of the alternative school The Penn Program in Newmarket not only walked the whole way, but volunteered in many other roles. Other local business partners along Route 4 between Portsmouth and Concord include Susty’s Restaurant, Mary’s Dogs Rescue, Country Hills Gifts, Cole Gardens, Emery Farm, Camping World, JW Precision Co Inc, Purdy Funeral Home, and Happy Homes for Dogs.
We walked to give a voice to everyday people in our communities — so, without the cooperation of the small businesses and organizations in our communities, the walk would not only have been impossible, but meaningless. Thank you to all of you, for caring about your community, and standing with us!
Ellen Read
Newmarket
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