Announcing Rootstrikers' Merger with Demand Progress

**In addition to the announcement below, Lawrence Lessig was on Reddit taking questions live on July 2nd. You can still read the AMA here.

You all know me as the founder of Rootstrikers. But I was not the first among us #Rootstrikers.

It was Aaron Swartz who initially persuaded me that none of us were going to make progress on a wide range of issues — from Internet freedom to climate change — until we found a way to address the corruption of our government. As I recounted in a lecture after Aaron's death, that was in January 2007. Six months later, I announced that I was putting my work on Free Culture aside, and taking up the challenge of building a movement to fight that corruption.  

For the first couple years, Aaron worked with me — first, as a founding board member of Change Congress, and then with Fix Congress First! But the urgency and opportunity of an Obama presidency led him away from a fight focused on corruption alone. That led to the birth of Demand Progress; Fix Congress First! then became Rootstrikers.

Today, I am incredibly honored and happy to let you know that these organizations have now joined leadership to become allies in our respective fights for a better, truer democracy.

Rootstrikers will be the campaign finance reform project of Demand Progress, continuing to do the work to bring more people into the movement to end the corruption in our politics. Demand Progress will help support that work, as it continues its own.

This does not mean that you're going to start receiving emails from both organizations (unless, of course, you choose to do so). But it does mean that our capacity is growing, and along with it, your impact as a member of our communities.

You can get a quick update on (what some call) "campaign finance reform" (and what I call "corruption") in this TED talk of mine, which just this weekend crossed the 1 million views mark on YouTube and TED.

And after you've seen that, I'd be grateful if you could help us build the infrastructure with Demand Progress that we will need to make this merger work. Even $5 will go a long way, and as everyone knows, we have a long way to go if we're going to end this corruption.

Finally, if you'd like to join the Demand Progress list (please do!), click here.

I had always hoped that Aaron and I would conspire again to take on this corruption. Joining Demand Progress is as close to that dream as I will come, but it is a step in honor of his work, and his friendship.

Thank you for all you do, always.

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Showing 4 reactions

George Dokoupil commented 2013-07-02 21:03:06 -0400 · Flag
It has always been a contention of mine that organizations with similar goals, in this case restoring Democracy and demanding reform in Government, are less then sincere in their agenda’s then with their fund raising goals.
If they were truly sincere in accomplishing their goals, the best chance for that would be to grow their respective movements. Other wise they are out to scam for donations or vanity is more of a priority then progress.
What better way to grow a movement and make it go viral then to merge with similar movements and combine both membership and resources to achieve common goals.
To this end, I congratulate you on this merger. Perhaps it will be the beginning of many more.
None of us will accomplish a thing if we do not have significant numbers of people demanding the reforms we seek, nor the experienced talent that already exists, too often attempting to achieve independently, what could more readily be accomplished collectively.
Maybe this is the start then of something really big? And eventually a whole new political force for Democracy and the will of the majority? I’m hoping.
Albert Bechtel commented 2013-07-02 15:21:50 -0400 · Flag
This seems to be a very beneficial alliance and most certainly will increase the chances of success in their endeavors.
Szelena Gray commented 2013-07-02 15:03:26 -0400 · Flag
Thanks for your comment, Michael. Corruption remains our singular focus, which is why our infrastructure is joining, but our campaigns will remain distinct.
Michael Perez commented 2013-07-02 14:59:51 -0400 · Flag
To be honest, my first reaction to this announcement is negative. Any time a singular-focused organization merges with an organization that has a broader agenda, there is the distinct possibility that the singularity of focus will get watered down. In my perhaps no so humble opinion, one of the great challenges faced by organizations with a multi-pronged agenda is in getting agreement over PRIORITIZATION.

I’m the first person to admit that I do NOT know the agenda of “Demand Progress” and how it will mesh with the stated goal of the Rootstrikers organization. It is my sincere hope that corruption, whether it be in campaigns or in lobbying, remain front and center in the agenda universe.