Publications & Talks

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Factsheet

September 3, 2013
Wisconsin Wave

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is Wisconsin's biggest and most powerful corporate lobbyist group. Learn more about WMC's spending on elections and lobbying, positions on issues and policies, and the effects of WMC's agenda on Wisconsin.

BRENNAN CENTER: The hurdles that 1 in 10 eligible voters will have to face to obtain a voter ID

October 17, 2012
Keesha Gaskins and Sundeep Iyer

Originally published on July 17, 2012

Ten states now have unprecedented restrictive voter ID laws. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin all require citizens to produce specific types of government-issued photo identification before they can cast a vote that will count. Legal precedent requires these states to provide free photo ID to eligible voters who do not have one. Unfortunately, these free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters. This report is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID.

View the PDF version here.

BRENNAN CENTER: 2012 voting laws will make it more difficult for 5 million racial minorities, students, renters, seniors, and low income citizens to vote

October 17, 2012
Wendy R. Weiser and Lawrence Norden

In the past two years, states across the country passed a wave of laws that could make it harder to vote. The Brennan Center chronicled these laws in our report, Voting Law Changes in 2012 (originally published on October 3, 2011)

UPDATED 10/16/2012: Voting Laws in effect for the 2012 election

Fourteen states have passed restrictive voting laws and executive actions that have the potential to impact the 2012 election, representing 185 electoral votes, or 68 percent of the total needed to win the presidency.

A breakdown of laws and executive actions in effect in 2012:

Voter advocacy groups look at how prepared states are to ensure that our votes are counted

October 17, 2012
Pamela Smith, Michelle Mulder, Susannah Goodman

This report reviews how prepared each state is to ensure that every eligible voter can vote, and that every
vote is counted as cast. Because we cannot predict where machines will fail during the upcoming national
election, every state should be as prepared as possible for system failures.

The Verified Voting Foundation, the Rutgers Law School Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic and
Common Cause surveyed states’ voting equipment and ranked the states according to their preparedness.
The rankings are based on how states laws and practices compare to a set of best practices already being
used in some places.

BRENNAN CENTER: Electronic voting machines record higher rates of residual votes among poor and racial minority populations

October 16, 2012
Lawrence Norden, Jeremy M. Creelan, David Kimball, Whitney Quesenbery

Originally published August 28, 2006

On August 28, 2006, the Brennan Center released a report and policy proposals regarding the performance of various voting systems and their ability to allow voters to cast valid ballots that reflect their intended choices without undue delay or burdens. This system quality is known as usability. Following several high-profile controversies in the last few elections including most notoriously, the 2000 controversy over the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach voting system usability is a subject of utmost concern to voters and election officials.

BRENNAN CENTER: States put more restrictions on community-based voter registration drives

August 21, 2012
Diana Kasdan

At a time when political operatives are trying to make it harder for some Americans to participate in the democratic process, community voter registration drives continue to increase the numbers of eligible Americans registered to vote. But, in recent years, state legislatures have attempted to make it harder for voter registration drives to operate. More than half of the states have some laws governing community-based voter registration drives. State Restrictions on Voter Registration Drives is the first comprehensive review of those laws.

Stealing America: Vote by Vote

July 11, 2012
Concentric Media

A groundbreaking feature-length documentary made after the 2004 election about the enormous security flaws present in the machines that count our votes, and why only hand-counted paper ballots can protect our democracy. 

For related reading see the book Brave New Ballot.

ACLU: Know Your Voting Rights in Wisconsin

June 5, 2012
ACLU of Wisconsin

The Recall Election is Tuesday, June 5, 2012.  Polls are open from 7am-8pm CST.

COLERIDGE: The Country is Broken Because the System is Fixed

November 12, 2011
Greg Coleridge

Nine US Senators, led by Tom Udall of New Mexico, have introduced a joint resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 29, or SJRes 29) calling for a constitutional amendment to limit money in elections. It's presented as an effort to "Reverse Citizens United ," the 2010 Supreme Court decision expanding the never-intended constitutional free speech "rights" of corporations to spend money from their treasuries to influence elections -- without having to report it. 

Citizens United resulted in an estimated $300 million spent on political ads in the 2010 mid-term elections, a four-fold increase from the 2006 mid terms. This is pocket change compared to the projections for the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.

MN STAR TRIBUNE: Corporations and People

November 10, 2011
Lori Sturdevant

The conventional criticism of the Occupy Wall Street movement – that it is long on complaints about income inequality, but short on proposed remedies – may need revision.

A number of “occupations,” including ones in Minnesota, have latched onto a constitutional amendment proposal that would deny corporations legal status as persons with full First Amendment rights.

COLERIDGE & HOUSER: Why ‘Occupiers’ Must Confront Fallacy of Corporate ‘Personhood’

November 3, 2011
Greg Coleridge & Gary Houser

Even from the mainstream media perspective, the "occupy" movement has been amazing to observe. Those outraged by the concentration of wealth and power have finally found their voice. They see a government that's been corrupted and captured by corporate money to the detriment of We the People's welfare.

But to those who've devoted lifetimes fighting corporate greed, something even deeper is happening. If "midnight" represents when the forces of greed triumph and the miraculous human experiment ends through global catastrophe, then we're surely in the last minute before. We may be witnessing a primal force deep within the heart of humanity, realizing — perhaps only subconsciously — how close we are to the precipice.

HIGHTOWER LOWDOWN: Citizens United Against Citizens United: A Grassroots Campaign to Restore Democracy

October 20, 2011
Jim Hightower

Thank you Mitt Romney! Thank you for standing tall, speaking so forthrightly, and rallying so many democracy-loving Americans to join together in THE political fight of our time.

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.

REBECCA MANSKI: What Liberty Square Means

October 7, 2011
Rebecca Manski

A year ago, New Yorkers watched in horror as voters in the progressive heartland of Wisconsin replaced progressive standard-bearer Russ Feingold with a Tea Party mega-millionaire, and the state’s capitol came under the control of self-described Tea Party Republicans. Months later, the impact of that electoral change became clear. Governor Scott Walker unleashed attacks on the right to organize, to engage in collective bargaining, to access health care, food, shelter, a quality education and even on the right to vote.

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.

SILVER: Wall Street Protests: A Right-Left Movement Must Emerge

October 3, 2011
Josh Silver

The Wall Street protests represent the most potentially transforming political movement in generations: finally a revolt against the root problem that corrupts and paralyzes U.S. government. And the nascent movement might actually succeed if we stop turning ordinary Americans against each other along the tired and destructive battle lines of left vs. right.

For the past forty years, the expansion of unchecked corporate power has taken over Washington and state capitals. Armies of industry funded lobbyists, PR firms, think tanks, fake "Astroturf" groups and billions in campaign contributions have quietly corrupted a vulnerable system of government and seized control.

BRINTON & SCHULTZ: Big Sky Populists Fight Back Against Big Corporate Money

September 29, 2011
Shane Brinton and Britney Schultz

Corporate Attack on Democracy in Montana: Communities Do Battle with Modern-Day “Copper Kings”

A year and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that corporations are “people” with expanded constitutional rights, the impacts of the ruling continue to reverberate. 24 states have been forced to re-examine their legal limitations on campaign financing by corporations. Among them is Montana, a state with some of the country’s strongest campaign finance laws. 

TRUTHOUT: Local Resistance to Corporate Personhood Wages Crucial Battle

September 25, 2011
Britney Schultz

In the 2010 US Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal ElectionCommission, the judges of the highest court in the land narrowly ruled that corporations were "people" with First Amendment free speech rights. The corollary of this judgment is that corporations, as "persons," have the right to contribute unlimited funds to political campaigns as an exercise of their free speech.

ROTHSCHILD: Citizens Rise Up Against "Citizens United"

September 23, 2011
Matt Rothschild

I was speaking in Milwaukee the other night to a great group of peace activists, and in the question and answer period, we started talking about what could be done to change our foreign policy and bring about peace and social justice.

One thing I said we needed to do was to amend the Constitution to overturn the horrible Citizens United decision of 2010 that said corporations are persons, and corporations can spend unlimited funds to influence the outcome of an election.

The October 2011 Movement Call to Action

September 9, 2011
October 2011 Movement

[Note- The Wave is working with progressive leaders from around the state to organize a caravan that will travel from Wisconsin to D.C. for the start of the October 2011 Movement on October 6th.  Click here for more information!]

October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.

SCHALLER: We, the corporations of the United States, in order to form a more profitable union…

August 23, 2011
Thomas F. Schaller

If businesses are people, as Mitt Romney says, perhaps we should rewrite our Constitution to reflect that

Finally, Mitt Romney admitted publicly what too many Republican politicians — and plenty of Democrats, too — really think about we, the people. "Corporations are people," the former Massachusetts governor pronounced.

BAKAN: The Kids Are Not All Right: Corporate Interests Threaten Children's Welfare

August 21, 2011
Joel Bakan

When I sit with my two teenagers, and they are a million miles away, absorbed by the titillating roil of online social life, the addictive pull of video games and virtual worlds, as they stare endlessly at video clips and digital pictures of themselves and their friends, it feels like something is wrong.

Boulder Should Vote on Corporate Personhood

August 14, 2011
Dan Gould, Judy Lubow and Carolyn Bninski

Large multinational corporations today wield enormous power. They determine whether our oceans are filled with oil, whether we get more floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes and other signs of an accelerating climate crisis, whether Americans have jobs or our jobs are outsourced to low-wage countries, whether our military budget keeps expanding, and whether our economy implodes, to name a few of the thousands of ways that mega corporations impact us on a daily basis.

The fundamental question here is, who is in charge of our country -- the big corporations or the people and their elected officials? Who should make the decisions about our well being, our future, our environment and our jobs?

SALON.COM: Why Mitt Romney Was Right About Corporations: The Ever-Expanding Definition of Corporate Personhood

August 13, 2011
Justin Elliott
coroporate personhood

In an instant-classic flub at the Iowa State Fair this week, Mitt Romney proclaimed, "corporations are people, my friend."

Romney, of course, was speaking in the context of tax policy, making the point that to raise taxes on corporations is to raise taxes on the owners -- people -- of that corporation.

POOLE: The People Beg to Differ, Mr. Romney: Corporations Aren't People

August 12, 2011
Isaiah J. Poole

The political world is abuzz with a heat-of-the-moment comment by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that is starkly revealing.

Here's how The Huffington Post reported it [4]:

Pressed by an attendee at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday as to why he was focusing on entitlement reforms as a means of deficit reduction over asking corporations to share part of the burden, the GOP frontrunner shot back:

MARGE BAKER: Too Many Rulings are Supremely Courteous to Corporations

July 27, 2011
Marge Baker

The Walmart case is only one example of the Supreme Court's growing tendency to side with the interests of big corporations over the rights of ordinary citizens.

Americans realize that our rights and liberties depend on having a system of justice that we can trust. We know we should be able to show up in court to contest anything from a parking ticket to felony and make our case — whether we're rich or poor.

SOPOCI-BELKNAP: Movement to Abolish Corporate Personhood Gaining Traction

July 1, 2011
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap

In the year and a half since the Citizens United decision, Americans from all walks of life have become concerned about corporate dominance of our government and our society as a whole. In Citizens United v. FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court (in an act of outrageous “judicial activism) gutted existing campaign finance laws by ruling that corporations, wealthy individuals, and other entities can spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. 

Throughout the country people have responded by organizing against “corporate personhood,” a court-created precedent that illegitimately gives corporations rights that were intended for human beings.