The Democracy Initiative

CWA has a leading role in the Democracy Initiative, as progressive groups are banding together to build a national campaign around three goals: getting big money out of politics, voting rights and reforming the broken Senate rules.

The idea grew out of discussions in recent years among CWA President Larry Cohen, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, NAACP President Ben Jealous and Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford.

The meeting was held on International Human Rights Day, with 100 organizations joining together to move forward, Cohen said. "CWA leaders and members know that we can't end the frustration of current collective bargaining without a real movement for bargaining and organizing rights and social and political change. Working together is how we'll win economic justice," he said.

From the Mother Jones article:

The four leaders bemoaned how the dysfunctional political process was making it impossible for their groups to achieve their goals. "We're not going to have a clean-energy economy if the same companies that are polluting our rivers and oceans are also polluting our elections," Brune said. Greenpeace's Phil Radford notes that for decades conservatives have aimed to shrink local, state, and federal governments by reforming the rules so they could install like-minded politicians, bureaucrats, and judges. Radford calls it "a 40-plus-year strategy by the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the take over the country."

So last spring Brune, Cohen, Jealous, and Radford called up their friends on the left and, in June, convened the Democracy Initiative's first meeting. A handful of groups attended, and they began to focus on the triad of money in politics, voting rights, and dysfunction in the Senate.

Other attendees at the December meeting included top officials from the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, Public Campaign, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, Common Cause, Voto Latino, the Demos think tank, Piper Fund, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, People for the American Way, National People's Action, National Wildlife Federation, the Center for American Progress, the United Auto Workers, and Color of Change.