Missoula City Council to Consider Placing Corporate Personhood Resolution on Ballot

August 18, 2011
Keila Szpaller

When Missoula City Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken knocked on doors in her ward this year, she heard a disappointing theme among constituents.

"I heard an overwhelming sense of despair about government," Wolken said Wednesday.

People don't believe their voices are heard, especially at the state and federal levels, she said. And they believe campaign dollars are distorting democracy.

"A lot of people feel what they say doesn't matter because somebody with more money will come along and drown out their voices," she said at a Committee of the Whole meeting.

At one time, Wolken, who represents Ward 2, said she could have convinced them otherwise. But not since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United.

NICHOLS: Mitt Romney, Dark Prince of Oligarchy, Battles the Demons of Democracy

August 20, 2011
John Nichols


The gaffe-prone candidacies of Michele “Elvis” Bachmann and Rick “C’mon, Men, Let’s String Us Up Some Bernanke” Perry, and the slapstick non-candidacy of Sarah “Two If by Sea” Palin, are merely the cheap theater of an ill-defined Republican presidential race. The real drama of the 2012 race continues to come from the CEO party’s CEO candidate: Willard Mitt Romney.

Missoula City Council Puts Corporate Rights Measure on Ballot

August 23, 2011
Keila Szpaller

The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing from Missoula.

At its regular meeting, the Missoula City Council voted to place a referendum on the 2011 ballot that urges federal and state lawmakers to amend the U.S. Constitution "to clearly state that corporations are not human beings and do not have the same rights as citizens."

The council voted 9-1 with one abstention to move forward on the resolution presented by Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken. Councilwoman Renee Mitchell abstained; Councilman Dick Haines voted no and tried to shush the mayor from voicing his support.

Welcome to the 2011 Democracy Convention

August 23, 2011
Ben Manski


The Isthmus previews the Democracy Convention

August 23, 2011
Judith Davidoff

The timing could not be better, but organizers say plans for this week's Democracy Convention in Madison were set before Gov. Scott Walker's introduction of his collective bargaining bill and the ensuing protests that led some to compare the uprising in Wisconsin to democratic rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia.

WULF: How Citizens United Twisted Decades of Legal Precedent to Empower Corporations

August 23, 2011
Mel Wulf

In its now notorious 5–4 ruling in Citizens United v.

ISTHMUS: Democracy Convention kicks off, boosted by Wisconsin Capitol protests

August 23, 2011
Judith Davidoff

The timing could not be better, but organizers say plans for this week's Democracy Convention in Madison were set before Gov. Scott Walker's introduction of his collective bargaining bill and the ensuing protests that led some to compare the uprising in Wisconsin to democratic rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia.

MJS: Democracy Convention under way in Madison

August 24, 2011
Bill Glauber

The first Democracy Convention got under way Wednesday, and the five-day gathering is expected to draw up to 1,000 political and social activists from across the country.

The convention brought together at least two generations of left-wing activists ready to hash out such issues as voting rights, access to education and U.S. constitutional reform.

Tom Hayden, a key figure in anti-war demonstrations during the Vietnam era, was among the scheduled keynote speakers. The convention was organized by Ben Manski, a 37-year-old Madison attorney and former co-chairman of the national Green Party.

WSJ: Madison convention focuses on strengthening democracy

August 24, 2011
Deborah Ziff

There may be no other convention where you can learn about the history of civil disobedience, go to a class called Organizing 101, and discuss how to make a general strike succeed.

The first ever Democracy Convention will be held in Madison Wednesday through Sunday.

"It's the first national gathering in my lifetime that has focused on the underlying question of who rules," said Ben Manski, former co-chair of the Green Party of the U.S. and an event organizer. "[It] is not just interested in criticizing the lack of democracy in the United States but is devoted toward strengthening the movement to achieve the American promise of democracy."

WRN AUDIO: Event Focuses on Democracy

August 25, 2011
Brian Moon

AUDIO: Soglin full speech (14:30)

Labor supporters go from the streets and into breakout sessions at the Democracy Convention in Madison. Mayor Paul Soglin kicked off the event reflecting on this year’s massive protests and continued fight against changes by Governor Walker and the Republican majority. He says until then the public was not paying enough attention.

“We cannot rest and assume that others are going to take care of our society,” says Soglin.

TCT: Cheri Honkala rallies audience at Democracy Convention

August 26, 2011
Pat Schneider


Say what you want about Take Back the Land-Madison, whose members have occupied a handful of foreclosed properties to protest public policies that put families out on the street. Their tactics are audacious, if nothing else. It's a brand of activism with the power to rally the allies and antagonize opponents.

Democracy Convention draws 1,000 to Madison, plans next steps

September 1, 2011
Judith Davidoff
Clad in a tiara, long dress and sash reading "Do You Miss Democracy?" Mary Zepernick approached a table at the Memorial Union Terrace Saturday night with a question clearly on her mind. "Do you miss democracy?" she asked the group. "I do."
It was a bit of street theater, Zepernick, 71, explained the next day in a phone interview. "It's a way to catch the attention of people, to just shake up their minds a little."

SEPTEMBER 10-21: Move to Amend California Barnstorming Tour

September 2, 2011

David Cobb, a fiery speaker, and former Green Party presidential candidate, is touring California giving his talk "Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule." This presentation is part history lesson and part heart-felt call-to-action! 

More Info: 

If you are interested in bringing a Move to Amend speaker to your community, please email us at

MJS: WI leads nation in cuts to public education

September 6, 2011
Jason Stein

Madison - Wisconsin leads the country so far in cuts to state aid for schools, a new report shows.

The study by the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities looked at the 24 states where the budget data is available.

Wisconsin cut school aid by $635 per pupil this year, topping other states including New York, California and Ohio, according to the report. Over the past four years, the state's annual aid to schools is down $776 per pupil after adjusting for inflation, putting Wisconsin at fourth in the country so far in cuts.

KC ACTIVE: On hand at the Democracy Convention in Madison

September 9, 2011
Mary Lindsay

For some, there wasn’t a better venue for America’s first Democracy Convention than the in-your-face capitol of local democracy, Madison, Wisconsin — a state with a long history of progressive sensibilities. Earlier this years thousands of protesters converged upon the capitol in response to Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislative majority’s decision to end collective bargaining for public employees — a fight that is not over and one leading to a test of Walker’s reelection capability.

The Wisconsin Wave to host rally Tuesday to “Welcome the Legislature Back to the Capitol”

September 13, 2011
Wisconsin Wave

[Click here to read more about this event on facebook]

For Immediate Release

What: Tuesday is the first day state lawmakers will be back in session, and to mark the occasion the Wisconsin Wave is hosting a rally to demand that the legislature halt their divisive agenda, “recall” their two year budget, and begin a new budgeting process that truly reflects the values and priorities of Wisconsinites, not corporate and special interests.

HUFFINGTON POST: Wisconsin Worker Fired for Email on Free Voter IDs

September 13, 2011
Mary Bottari



A Wisconsin worker was fired last Thursday for reminding fellow workers that photo IDs required for voting are free under Wisconsin law.

A man identifying himself as Chris Larson called into "Sly in the Morning," a popular Madison radio program on WTDY-AM, and said he had been fired and escorted out of his workplace earlier in the day for sending out an email to remind employees to tell the public that they can obtain a state license for free. Larson said he worked for the Department of Safety and Professional Services, which is under Secretary Dave Ross.

BOYER: Stewart Acuff is fighting for labor and our democracy

September 14, 2011
Joanne Boyer

"The only thing we can do is to choose whether we fight for rights of people, freedom and democracy or whether we sit it out on the sidelines."  ~ Stewart Acuff, Utility Workers Union of America

The discussion of workers' rights, the assault on organized labor, and the conversation of what it all means has never been a hotter topic as we approach Labor Day 2011.  

PRWATCH: Local Ordinances and Land Grabs: Democracy Convention Panels Discuss Food Sovereignty

September 14, 2011
Rebekah Wilce

Attendees of the Democracy Convention in Madison in late August were treated to panels on a host of different issues, from democratic media to racial inequality. The Center for Media and Democracy was one of the sponsors of the convention, and our own Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischeraddressed democracy activists.

ALPEROVITZ: America's Massive Wealth Disparity

September 15, 2011
Karen Rybold-Chin

In the United States, the richest 400 people own more collective wealth than the bottom 150 million. As historian and writer Gar Alperovitz puts it, this is quite literally medieval. America's distribution of wealth is controlled by corporations and the extremely wealthy—if there is to be real social change, this gaping inequality needs to be addressed and radically altered. The people need to take the pain of the laborers affected by politicians such as Governor Scott Walker and unite around this as something to replace with progressive reforms. 

ALPEROVITZ: The Environmental Movement's Civil Disobedience

September 15, 2011
Karen Rybold-Chin

Civil disobedience is a transformation of consciousness, a sudden revelation that something new must be done. It is the knowledge that there are two options: disrupt and change the system or remain silent in the face of injustice. Right now, civil disobedience is emerging from the anti-war and environmental movements in significant ways, most notably around opposition to the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

HONKALA: No American Should Be Poor

September 15, 2011
Karen Rybold-Chin

It's easy to subscribe to the belief that America doesn't have enough resources for everyone to enjoy a high standard of living. But Cheri Honkala, one of the leading figures in the movement against poverty, said at the Liberty Tree Foundation's Democracy Convention in Madison, Wisconsin that this is a false message.

VIDEO: The Uptake & WORT provide video from the Democracy Convention

September 16, 2011
Cristalyne Bell, Patrick Waring, Norm Stockwell, Sarah Manski & more

For video coverage of the 2011 Democracy Convention, recorded by volunteers and convention staff, and posted at The Uptake, click here:

More Info: 

These videos range in quality, but most are easy to follow. Additional videos are posted, and will continue to be added as they become available, at

VIDEO & AUDIO: Extensive coverage of Democracy Convention by WisconsinEye

September 16, 2011

WisconsinEye is the C-Span of Wisconsin's civil society. The folks at WisconsinEye video recorded 18 different sessions at the 2011 Democracy Convention. They may be watched or listened to for free on their website, or purchased for download, here:


TENNESSEE: By the People, For the People: Rally Against Corporations’ Growing Power Set for Saturday

September 20, 2011
Kate Prahlad


Loren Chapman wants corporations and politicians alike to hear the will of the people — a will he hopes will be made loud and clear at a rally that is set to take place this weekend.

The Johnson City resident is the main organizer behind “Rally For the Humans,” a demonstration scheduled for Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., in the 2000 through 2200 blocks of North Roan Street in Johnson City.

Much of the rally’s purpose is to educate East Tennesseans about the push to get a certain resolution on local ballots; the resolution would state that corporations are nonpersons and should be treated as such under U.S. law, and that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to reflect that, Chapman explained Monday.

More Info: 

Contact Loren Chapman to get involved: 423-677-6896 or

NEW YORKER: Special interest money dominated Wisconsin recall elections

September 23, 2011
Dan Kaufman

This week, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a non-partisan organization, announced that nearly forty-four million dollars had been spent on the nine Wisconsin State Senate recall elections that concluded last month—offering a glimpse of the spending that might be expected in the general election. The recall effort began in mid-February, days after Governor Scott Walker’s proposed eliminating most collective bargaining rights for public workers. There had previously been only four recalls of state officials in Wisconsin since 1926, when the process first became possible. The recalls cost several million dollars more than the state’s most expensive campaign to date, the 2010 governor’s race that Walker won.

MJS: Prosecutors investigating possible right wing voter bribery during recall elections

September 25, 2011
Daniel Bice

Milwaukee County prosecutors have opened a John Doe investigation into voter bribery allegations stemming from last month's state Senate recall elections, according to sources.

Details of the secret investigation are sketchy, but it is clear the Milwaukee County district attorney's office is investigating charges that Wisconsin Right to Life offered rewards for volunteers who signed up sympathetic voters in the recall races. Several people familiar with the investigation said subpoenas were being distributed "like candy."

Prosecutors had earlier acknowledged that they also were looking into complaints about get-out-the-vote block parties sponsored by a liberal group, Wisconsin Jobs Now.

DEFEND WISCONSIN: Lower-paid workers are taking twice the pay cut of higher-paid workers

September 25, 2011
Defend Wisconsin

Lower-paid state workers will have to contribute a higher percentage of their salary to comply with Walker’s union stripping law raising pension and health care costs, according to a new analysis by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.  The analysis shows that lower-paid workers are taking twice the pay cut of higher-paid workers.

Grassroots anti-mining group Waters Edge blasts Dem. Sen. Jauch for pro-mining statement

September 26, 2011
Frank K. Koehn

As WE (the Water's Edge) read the recent press releases from state Sen. Robert Jauch and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce the similarities on content are striking. Neither press statement addressed the mentions or uses the terms open pit strip-mine which why this committee is being organized.

Jauch and WMC either "hail" or "laud" the creation of the Senate Select Committee on Mining. Their shared support for a bipartisan committee coming from the current political abyss in Madison is nothing to hail or laud. WE think a better term is appalling!

OCTOBER 2-10: Move to Amend Texas Barnstorming Tour

September 30, 2011

David Cobb, a fiery speaker, and former Green Party presidential candidate, is touring Texas giving his talk "Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule." This presentation is part history lesson and part heart-felt call-to-action! 

All events are free and open to the general public, donations appreciated. Click the red links below for more info.

REUTERS: Occupy Wall Street protests grow as hundreds block Brooklyn Bridge

October 1, 2011
Ray Sanchez

NEW YORK - Police reopened the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday evening after more than 500 anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested for blocking traffic lanes and attempting an unauthorized march across the span.

Protesters react as police begin to make arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge during an Occupy Wall Street march in New York October 1, 2011.  The arrests took place when a large group of marchers, participating in a second week of protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement, broke off from others on the bridge's pedestrian walkway and headed across the Brooklyn-bound lanes.

AP: Protests Against Wall Street Spread Across US

October 4, 2011
Chris Hawley

NEW YORK - Protests against Wall Street entered their 18th day Tuesday as demonstrators across the country show their anger over the wobbly economy and what they see as corporate greed by marching on Federal Reserve banks and camping out in parks from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine.

THE BIG PICTURE: The 99ers - tipping point for revolutionary changes?

October 5, 2011
Thom Hartmann

"Daniel Halper, Weekly Standard & Ben Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation join Thom Hartmann. The" Occupy Wall Street" protests are showing NO signs of letting up! Millions who make up the "99 Percent" are rallying in cities across the nation...but the big show was in New York City - with tens of thousands in the streets. So where does this movement go now? And the corporate media has weighed in the legitimacy of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. And so too have politicians and policymakers. We'll debate what people are saying - coming up."

View the video here:

THE WASHINGTON POST: ‘Occupy DC’ Protesters Rally in Freedom Plaza

October 6, 2011
Annie Gowen

They’re out of work. They’re from out of town. And they’re fed up.

Many of those who “occupied” Freedom Plaza on Thursday said they had never been to a protest before but were inspired to come to downtown Washington by the Occupy Wall Street movement that began last month in New York and has spread to cities across the country.

PRESS TV: US in a Revolutionary Period

October 6, 2011
Interview with Edward Spannaus



Press TV:  Edward Spannaus, why don't you tell us your impression of these movements? I mean, they are obviously gaining momentum. Tell us why? And of course we see Occupy Wall Street as being one of them that has inspired other movements.

 Spannaus: Well, I would actually go back to the spring when you had the mass protests in Madison, Wisconsin, in Indiana, in Ohio and at that time also you had demonstrations in hundreds of cities in support of the trade unionists and when you had governors of those states trying to break the unions.

COUNTER PUNCH: Corporate Greed is on the Table

October 7, 2011
Dave Lindorff


As I headed out in my ’94 Volvo to drive from Philadelphia to Washington for the first day of , the occupation of Washington, I spotted some trouble: the ABS warning light on my dashboard panel was lit. Stopping at my neighborhood mechanic to get his okay for the drive, I found him busy inflating the tire of a new white Mercedes. As the driver, a well-dressed middle-aged woman, looked on, he asked me what my problem was. I told him the ABS  light was staying on and asked if it was safe to drive the car to D.C.

WPR: Manski versus Halpern on the Occupy Movement

October 12, 2011
Joy Cardin

After seven, it's this week's Big Question: Do you support or oppose the Occupy Wall Street movement? Joy Cardin gets two answers to that question. Guests:

- Ben Manski, Executive Director of Liberty Tree
- Daniel Halper, Deputy Online Editor, The Weekly Standard

Listen in here: