Reducing the corrosive influence of money in politics
Rootstrikers is a self-described nonpartisan grassroots activist organization run by Demand Progress and created by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig and political activist Joe Trippi (a Democraticcampaign worker and consultant) for the purpose of fighting political corruption in the United States and reducing the role of special interest money in elections. According to Lessig, the idea is not to hack at the branches of the problem but rather focus on its root, which Lessig views as a corrupt campaign finance system, and hence he named the organization rootstrikers.
The name "Rootstrikers" is based on a quote from the first chapter of Henry David Thoreau's book Walden: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". In December 2011, Lessig appeared on The Daily Show starring Jon Stewart and suggested that the public needs to strike at the root of money in politics; Stewart advised Lessig "You need a better term than rootstriker." Lessig credits the line quoted above from Henry David Thoreau's book Walden for inspiring the name.
In his 2012 book One Way Forward, Lessig proposes what he termed the Anti-Corruption Pledge. Lessig launched the Pledge as a project of Rootstrikers on February 24, 2012 on MSNBCâs show Morning Joe. The pledge is available for people to sign to show their support for the fight against corruption. The Pledge has four provisions:
Over the weekend of October 29, 2011, a coalition of Rootstrikers and the conservative Tea Party Patriots held a "Conference on the Constitutional Convention" in hopes of generating support for the calling of a national convention to propose proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Such a convention, also called an "Article V Convention", is one of two ways processes authorized by Article Five of the United States Constitution whereby the Constitution, the nation's frame of government, may be altered, and must be called by the United States Congress upon the request of two-thirds (presently 34) of the state legislatures. Amendments may also be proposed by Congress itself with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution have been approved by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. (Twenty-seven of them have been ratified and are now part of the Constitution.) As of 2016 the convention process has never been used for proposing constitutional amendments.",
Rootstrikers is one of 15 organizations in the Money Out / Voters In coalition that sponsored "A 28th Amendment" conference at the UCLA School of Law, Saturday, November 17, 2012.Lawrence Lessig was the keynote speaker. The agenda included presentations by other experts, including Greg Colvin, who provided a dozen questions that he thought should be answered for any proposed amendment on this issue. The conference web site also includes a comparison chart of 21 alternative amendments, 18 that have already been introduced in the US congress plus language proposed by Free Speech for People, Greg Colvin, and Move to Amend. Of the proposed amendments, five were identified as primarily attempting to limit the constitutional rights of corporations; the other 16 were described as dealing more with campaign finance, though there is overlap. The conference ended with breakout sessions and a call to further action.
^Stempeck, Matt (February 27, 2012). "Lawrence Lessig on Politics and Awakening a Sleeping Giant". PBS. Retrieved June 5, 2012. ...Lessig led with this Thoreau quote that inspired the name of his Rootstrikers campaign: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."...Â
^Mornin, Joseph (16 November 2011). "Rootstrikers and United Republic: A letter from Lawrence Lessig". United Republic. Again and again, I have been driven back to a favorite line in Thoreauâs Walden ...Â Missing or empty |url= (help)
^Antle, W. James III (2 November 2011). "Rebooting the Republic". The American Conservative. Ron Unz/The American Ideas Institute. Rootstrikers, a left-wing group dedicated to the proposition that corporate money has a malign influence on American politics, and the conservative Tea Party Patriots had banded together to organize a Conference on the Constitutional Convention. The progressive left and the populist right would spend two days together studying Article V of the U.S. Constitution.Â