Publications & Talks

Teleconference on the Global Wave of Resistance

October 12, 2011
Liberty Tree

On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, the Liberty Tree Foundation convened a special briefing, the Teleconference on the Global Wave of Resistance. This global conference featured over 100 participants, and updates from leading organizers of the global wave of student and labor strikes, occupations, and revolutions. Panelists include core organizers from the UK, Germany, Israel, and Chile, as well as Wisconsin, Boston, Oakland, Washington D.C., and Wall Street, among others. This was the second such teleconference on corporatization and austerity org

Additional Information: 

Panelists included Nicolas Valenzuela, Uri Gordon, Mo Gas, James Sevitt, Adam Porton, Sarah Manski, Nadeem Mazen, Elaine Brower, Matt Nelson, plus moderator Ben Manski.

MANSKI: The Protest Wave: Why the Political Class Can’t Understand Our Demands

October 3, 2011
Ben Manski

The protests that began in Wisconsin this year, and which now also fill the streets of Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, and this week, Washington D.C., have gotten the attention of the American political class. And how could they not? 2011 is becoming a remake of the 1999 Battle of Seattle, except this time the protests are ongoing, national and global, and the target is not just the World Trade Organization, but the entire edifice of corporate capitalism.

WILLIAMSON and ALPEROVITZ: Community Stability and the Challenge of Climate Change

May 3, 2010
Thad Williamson and Gar Alperovitz

Additional Information: 

Community-Wealth.org, a project of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland.

Rebuilding America's Communities: A Comprehensive Community Wealth Building Federal Policy Proposal

April 27, 2010

From the report's introduction:

Fostering community wealth in today’s economy requires going beyond a traditional federal government “service delivery” mode of operation to develop programs that connect capital with low-income communities. Largely unnoticed in the media, over the past few decades, there has been a steady build-up of new forms of community-supportive economic enterprises.

Forty years ago, there were fewer than 200 employee-owned companies in the United States. The community development finance industry did not yet exist. Likewise, few community development corporations (CDCs) and no significant community land trusts existed. State public pension funds did not employ economically targeted investments.

Additional Information: 

community-wealth.org, a project of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland.

Documentary Beyond Elections takes a look at grassroots democracy in the Americas

March 31, 2010

Traveling from Venezuela's Communal Councils to Brazil's Participatory Budgeting, from Constitutional Assemblies to grassroots movements, recuperated factories to cooperatives across the hemisphere, Beyond Elections takes us on a journey across the Americas, to attempt to answer one of the most important questions of our time: What is Democracy? The two excerpts below give an introduction and discuss Brazil's participatory budgeting process.

Beyond Elections Part I: Introduction

Additional Information: 

The Beyond Elections documentary here...
U.S. Participatory Budgeting Network here...

ZEPERNICK: On the history of corporate personhood and a strategy for overturning it

March 31, 2010
Mary Zepernick


Mary Zepernick, of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy and Womens International League for Peace and Freedom delivered a history of corporate personhood and observations on the need for ending all corporate appropriation of personhood rights through a Constitutional amendment to the organizers of a panel discussion on the Supreme Court's Citzens United Discussion. The organizing groups included North Bridge Alliance for Democracy joined with Concord Carlisle League of Women Voters, Concord CAN, and the Carlisle Climate Action Network.

Additional Information: 

Mary Zepernick is the Director of POCLAD (Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy).
Move To Amend is pushing forward with the Constitutional amendment Ms. Zepernick refers to.

VIDEO: March to Overrule the Court

February 16, 2010
Ben Manski and Lisa Graves

NICHOLS & MCCHESNEY: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again

February 5, 2010
John Nichols & Robert W. McChesney

The founders of the American experiment were even by their own measures imperfect democrats. But they understood something about sustaining democracy that their successors seem to have forgotten. Everyone agrees that a free society requires a free press. But a free press without the resources to compensate those who gather and analyze information, and to distribute that information widely and in an easily accessible form, is like a seed without water or sunlight.

Additional Information: 

The article is excerpted from John Nichols and Robert McChesney's new book The Death and Life of American Journalism and appeared in the January 25, 2010 edition of The Nation. Nichols is president of the Liberty Tree Foundation; McChesney is a member of its board of advisors.

MANSKI: Public Radio's Week in Review

December 4, 2009
Joy Cardin and Ben Manski

Liberty Tree Fellow Ben Manski is a regular guest on, "The Week in Review," Wisconsin Public Radio's Friday morning weekly news debate show. Every week, policy-makers and politicos field questions from host Joy Cardin and her callers on a wide array of timely state, national and international topics.

Hear Ben Manski on public radio on January 15th:
http://clipcast.wpr.org:8080/ramgen/wpr/jca/jca100115c.rm

PROGRESSIVE STATES: Community Policing as an Alternative to Local Enforcement of Immigration Law

November 9, 2009
Caroline Fan

by Stateside Dispatch

http://www.progressivestates.org/node/23942

VALUING-FAMILIES
BY CAROLINE FAN
cfan@progressivestates.org

Community Policing as an Alternative to Local Enforcement of Immigration Law

Additional Information: 

For the original edition, see: http://www.progressivestates.org/node/23942

SHUMAN: Localization is way to redefine globalization

November 5, 2009
Michael Shuman

Location:
Madison, Wisconsin

The Capital Times

Additional Information: 

Michael H. Shuman is author of "The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition" and a keynote speaker at the Future Cities 2009 Conference this weekend in Madison. For more information on the conference, visit www.FutureCities2009.org.

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/guest/article_02d13201-bb85-5717-89fc-8b3c24467098.html

WADE: When Will Your Neighbor Join the Movement?

September 2, 2009
Megan Wade

For POCLAD's By What Authority?

"In Americas mass resignation represents a public manifestation of a private loss, a decline in what people think they have a political right to aspire to - in essence, a decline of individual political self-respect on the parts of millions of people."
---Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment

Do you ever wonder why everyone around you isn't screaming in outrage? How do they go on with their lives as though the earth isn't burning, as though wars are not being waged across the globe, as though people's lives aren't harmed by mass injustices every day?

Additional Information: 

References:
Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, Labor's Untold Story. Pittsburgh: United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, 2003 [1955].

--------------------------
Megan Wade works with Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC), PO Box 610, Eureka, CA 95502-0610. Website: www.DUHC.org

CHIEF COUPER: Seven Seeds for Policing

May 5, 2009
David Couper

David Couper was a leader in the movement toward community policing. He wants to see seven seeds planted in the field of policing--leadership, knowledge, creativity, problem solving, diversity, control of force, and community policing. He is the former police chief of Madison, Wisconsin (1972-1993) and is now an Episcopal priest. This presentation was given in 1994.

In my over 30 years of police service, I have seen some changes of which I am proud, specifically, the higher education levels of police recruits and the larger number of women and minorities in police departments. At the same time, I confess that all I hoped for did not happen.

Additional Information: 

The original transcript from FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,The.

VIDEO: Manski, Farsetta, Alexander Gray on Extending Democracy

May 2, 2009

Founded in 1909 as La Follette's Weekly, on May 1-2, 2009, The Progressive magazine celebrated its 100th anniversary with a major conference and festival. Major speakers included Robert Redford, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Barbara Ehrenreich, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the editorial staff of the Progressive Magazine. Liberty Tree's Ben Manski, together with various members of Liberty Tree's Board of Directors and Board of Advisors -- John Nichols and Robert McChesney, among them -- also spoke at this exciting event. Following is Ben Manski's contribution:

VIDEO: Manski, Farsetta, Alexander Gray on Extending Democracy

May 1, 2009

Location:
Madison, Wisconsin

Founded in 1909 as La Follette's Weekly, on May 1-2, 2009, The Progressive magazine celebrated its 100th anniversary with a major conference and festival. Major speakers included Robert Redford, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Barbara Ehrenreich, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the editorial staff of the Progressive Magazine. Liberty Tree's Ben Manski, together with various members of Liberty Tree's Board of Directors and Board of Advisors -- John Nichols and Robert McChesney, among them -- also spoke at this exciting event. Following is Ben Manski's contribution:

Wisconsin votes for immediate withdrawal!

April 4, 2009
Ben Manski

George Bush recently defended Donald Rumsfeld on the basis that responsibility for matters of war and peace are his and his alone, saying, "I'm the decider and I decide what's best." On April 4, the people of Wisconsin begged to differ.

Voting in the tiny villages of the North Woods and the Door Peninsula, in the regional urban centers of Madison and La Crosse, and in the small cities that are the heart of this heartland state, three-fifths of voters cast ballots for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Wisconsin voted "no" to the occupation, and as importantly, "no" to Bush's self-elevation from presider to decider. Small town America voted, and the world sat up and took notice.

The Roots of the Campaign

How did it happen?

Additional Information: 
A version of this article appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of Green Pages

Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. Manski is a Wisconsin attorney, and provided legal counsel to the Wisconsin troop withdrawal campaign.

COLERIDGE: Keeping Public Assets Public

March 13, 2009
Greg Coleridge
Reprinted from By What Authority?

The dominant culture does not look kindly on most "public" systems. From housing to hospitals, schools to sewers, parks to prisons, or water to welfare, publicly owned or run systems are frequently portrayed as inefficient, ineffective, expensive, and/or dangerous. "Public" is dark, drab, cold, and old.

The word "private," by contrast, brings forth images of modern, clean, efficient, cheap, and safe. The corporate media, think tanks, and many elected officials perpetually tout the supposed benefits of "private" societal institutions.

But what is "public" and "private" when applied to government and economy? Are existing municipally operated systems best kept under public control or should they be "privatized"?

Additional Information: 

This article was written by Greg Coleridge of the Program on Corporations Law and Democracy for their newsletter, By What Authority?
See it in its original here: http://www.poclad.org/?pg=By_What_Authority&show=b090301.txt

Prospects for Participatory Democracy in the U.S.A

December 1, 2008
Ben Manski

Location: Barcelona, Spain Presented at the International Seminar on Participatory Democracy "Participatory Democracy. Political Actors and Social Movements" Abstract Diagnosing Democratic Collapse The U.S. political system suffers from a potentially fatal condition, a malady that can be diagnosed as "Democratic Collapse." The causes of this collapse are known: First, the consolidation of corporate control of the establishment political parties. Second, the sacrilegious enshrinement of corporations as persons under law, entitled to constitutional protections against citizens and governments.

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution in its Local Democracy and Democratizing Education program areas. He served as Co-Chair of the Green Party of the United States from 2001 through 2004, and was active in the U.S. student, labor, peace, and environmental movements throughout the 1990s. Ben has a degree in law from the University of Wisconsin, and has written on the corporatization of higher education in the United States.

MANSKI: The New U.S. Democracy Movement

October 9, 2008
Ben Manski

Around the world, Americans are often maligned as self-serving, ignorant, and conservative. Yet Americans are generally a progressive people.

Public opinion research tells the story:

  • Most Americans favor creating a federal universal single payer health care system.
  • Most support trade policies based not on property rights, but human rights, environmental protection, and popular sovereignty.
  • Majorities believe that the U.S. should not act as the “world’s police force,” and large majorities support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • Americans, by and large, believe that access to quality education is a basic right, and are willing to raise taxes to pay for it.

Additional Information: 

This article was written for Movement Vision Lab. Click here for the original edition.
~ Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the executive director of Liberty Tree

GLOBAL GREENS: Sustainable Cities Declaration

May 4, 2008

We, the representatives of green parties from more than 80 countries at the Global Greens Congress 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, agree the following declaration for the development of sustainable cities.

Additional Information: 

For the original, see http://www.globalgreens.org/

Measure T Bans Corporate Campaign Financing

September 3, 2007
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap

In 2006, Humboldt County, California, became the latest, and largest, jurisdiction to abolish the legal doctrine known as “corporate personhood.”

Measure T was successful because our all-volunteer campaign came together to pass a law that bans non-local corporations from participating in Humboldt elections. The referendum, which passed with 55 percent of the vote, also asserts that corporations cannot claim the First Amendment right to free speech.

By enacting Measure T, Humboldt County has committed an act of “municipal civil disobedience,” intentionally challenging “settled law.” But voters also recognize that Measure T is an act of common sense. We polled our community and found that 78 percent believe corruption is more likely if corporations participate in politics.

Additional Information: 

See more articles from the Fall 2007 issue of Yes Magazine and learn about what other communities are doing to stand up to corporate power.
Learn more about Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County and Measure T.

We are on the offensive: Make the most of it!

December 31, 2006
Ben Manski

Manski responds to Independent Politics News' question, "How can progressives get off of the defensive in 2006?"

What a change from four years ago. We're finally off the defensive. Impeachment talk has moved from beer halls to the halls of Congress. Opposition to the war is widespread. Confidence in the federal government is at historic lows. And the diverse strands of the broad progressive movement have begun to come together toward common, not cross, purposes.

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. He was coordinator of the No Stolen Elections! campaign, and is a former co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

This article originally appeared in the Independent Politics News.

Z Magazine interviews Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap about Measure T

December 2, 2006

Last June voters in Northern California’s Humboldt County approved a ballot initiative that banned non-local corporate money in elections. The referendum, dubbed Measure T, also rejected corporate personhood, the legal doctrine that grants corporations the same rights and protections as persons. Measure T’s passage represents the most explicit challenge to corporate “rights” and political power in the country at this time.

Video from the Local Democracy Convention

December 1, 2006

Want to know more about participatory budgeting? Taking on City Hall? Home rule? Rebuilding New Orleans? Municipal foreign policy? Ballot initiatives?

Interested in local democracy?

This footage from the 2006 Local Democracy Convention is for you! Short video clips are available for viewing on YouTube, and full length, edited DVDs documenting the major panels, keynote talk, and some workshops are available for order from Liberty Tree.

To order a DVD, please send a check for $10 (postage included) to Liberty Tree, P.O. Box 260217, Madison, Wisconsin 53726-0217.

Check out the following 3-8 minute video clips online:

Keynoter: Gar Alperovitz 05:57

Additional Information: 

Thank you to On the Earth Productions (Karen Chin, Todd Price, Ginger Price, Sarah Grace Turner), Brazen Video (Luciano), and WYOU Community Cable (Eric Allin) for their filming and editing help.

The Local Democracy Convention took place September 27-October 1, 2006, in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information on the convention, see http://www.LocalDemocracy.org

For more information on Liberty Tree's Local Democracy Program, click here.

Participatory Budgeting: From Porto Alegre, Brazil to the U.S.

September 1, 2006
Mike Menser and Juscha Robinson

Throughout the U.S. left, but in particular among those groups participating at the first U.S. Social Forum and the global justice movement more generally, “participatory democracy” is a phrase one encounters in all kinds of different movements and organizations, from anti-war meetings and environmental justice organizations, to direct action affinity groups, to community-sponsored agriculture outfits, international solidarity organizations and prison abolitionists. It is certainly a central feature of the solidarity economy.

Additional Information: 

Corporatization: An Internal Clash of Civilizations

July 1, 2006
Ben Manski and John Peck

Published in TNI's "Beyond the Market: The Future of Public Services" In January, 2006, Liberty Tree's Ben Manski and Patrick Barrett travelled to the Social Forum of the Americas in Caracas, Venezuela, where they made presentations on the state of the democracy movement in the United States. Ben Manski also participated in the international release of a new yearbook on public services, to which he and John Peck were contributors. Read their survey of corporatization in the United States, together with their analysis of what can be done about it, below.

Manski, Dolan: Has Your Town Declared Peace Yet? Tired of being ignored by the feds, citizens pass city laws declaring peace.

June 16, 2006
Ben Manski and Karen Dolan

The heartland spoke; the world listened. On April 5, 2006, hundreds of newspapers across the globe, from Italy’s Il Manifesto to the Los Angeles Times, shared a similar headline: “Wisconsin votes for troop pullout.”

One day earlier, citizens in 32 Wisconsin cities, towns, and villages had cast ballots for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Voters in tiny villages in the North Woods and the Door Peninsula, in the regional urban centers of Madison and La Crosse, and in the small cities that are the heart of the Badger State, sent a clear message. As Green Party activist Steve Burns told newspapers, the vote meant that “opposition to the war [has] become the majority sentiment,” winning over communities that had voted for George Bush only months earlier.

Additional Information: 

For the original, please see http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=2699

MANSKI & PECK: Corporatization: An internal clash of civilizations

January 1, 2006
Ben Manski and John Peck

Hurricane Katrina destroyed as yet uncounted lives, communities, and ecosystems. The hurricane also destroyed popular visions of the US state, sweeping away the last vestiges of federal paternalism, revealing the costs of corporatization in its wake. Years of budget cuts, cronyism, and corporatization rendered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) incompetent to manage this greatest of national emergencies.

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is Executive Director of Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. John Peck is Director of Family Farm Defenders.