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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/14/16

Democracy: The Continuing Fight Against Factions

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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

More Arrests at Democracy Spring, Still NO Media Coverage!
More Arrests at Democracy Spring, Still NO Media Coverage!
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On Sunday, thousands of activists from around the country arrived right here in Washington, DC, after a 10-day long, 140-mile march from Philadelphia.

The marchers are part of a movement called Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening, and today they staged a sit-in at the Capitol building. They plan on camping out there through the end of the week.

All of this is part of a massive, nonviolent campaign to save our democracy from oligarchy.

Democracy Spring activists are calling on Congress to take action right now on a group of different bills that would take money out of politics once and for all.

Kai Newkirk, one of the organizers of the march, appeared on this program and told me about its goals.

The fight against corporate control over our democracy is, of course, the same fight that Bernie Sanders is fighting right now in his presidential campaign.

But it's also the same fight that the founders fought more than 200 years ago when they rebelled against the British empire and created our constitutional republic.

They just called it something different -- they called it the fight against "faction."

James Madison, the author of the US Constitution, talked at length about the dangers of faction in "Federalist Paper Number 10."

First defining faction as, "[A] number of citizens ... who are united and ... adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community," he then warned that, "The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced [by faction] into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished."

Many historians have interpreted Madison's words as a warning about the dangers posed by political parties. And while that's probably partially true, it's not the whole story.

A faction, as Madison understood the term, was any special interest that was "adverse [in opposition to] to the... interests of the community."

This could mean a political party that cared about its own success more than the success of the republic as a whole, but it could also mean a pressure group like the shipping industry or, to pick a more modern example, the fossil fuel industry.

This fear of faction was well-grounded in historical fact.

Madison was a student of history, and he didn't want our fledgling republic to go down the road of ancient Rome and ancient Greece, which both collapsed after being taken over by powerful special interests.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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