Publications & Talks

The Essence of the Corporation

January 10, 2010
Ben Manski

The corporation is the subject of a growing, spiraling conflict. The streets of Seattle, Quebec, Washington D.C., Cancun, La Paz, Genoa, Seoul, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Zurich, Miami, Hong Kong, and many another city, hold the footprints of the contestants over the status of corporations in international law. As is often the case, myriad differences among the many parties have faded in the light of a defining conflict. Two camps remain. One camp, gathering in the World Social Forum process born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, raises as its banners the sanctity of the natural world, and the sovereignty of people over corporations.

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is an attorney with Manski Law & Communications, LLC, and the editor of the Liberty Tree Journal. He is also a member of the Speak Out! speakers bureau:

PRICE: Milwaukeeans vs. the Privatization Pandemic

December 6, 2009
Todd Alan Price

"In the 21st century countries that out educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.” Thus spake President Obama in announcing that his administration would award a total of $4 billion to states demonstrating seriousness of commitment to education reform. Imagine that that tired mantra, some fifteen years after NAFTA and the outsourcing of the U.S. manufacturing, service, and information economies, is a proclamation still being rolled out as a constructive commentary on the state of education and pretext, in the name of reform, for ending its public character.

Additional Information: 

Todd Alan Price is Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and Inquiry at National-Louis University in Chicago, Illinois. He teaches in Illinois and in Wisconsin. In 2009 he was the Wisconsin Green Party candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He is a Liberty Tree Associate.

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:

BACON: A constitutional right to an education

November 29, 2009
David Bacon

Is there a “constitutional right to education”?

Legal scholar and civil rights advocate Erwin Chemerinsky says there is. “There has to be a right to education in the Constitution,” he declares, “and equal protection is a Constitutional imperative.”

But according to Chemerinsky, this right has been fundamentally undermined by the Supreme Court. With the retirement of Justice David Souter, and the posible retirement in the next few years of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens, the role of the court in defending the right to education will be thrust into the national spotlight. What role might their replacements play in guaranteeing education to American children, and reversing the conservative momentum of the last three decades?

UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT: Statewide audit of optical scan machines

November 18, 2009
Tigran Antonyan, Seda Davtyan, Sotirios Kentros, Aggelos Kiayias, Laurent Michel, Nicolas Nicolaou, Alexander Russell, and Alexander A. Shvartsman



COBB: The Case Against Judicial Review

November 15, 2009
David Cobb


"Judicial Review" is not a term familiar to most Americans, but it should be. The concept is a profoundly important operational underpinning of the United States legal system. Anyone working to make this country a more peaceful, just, ecologically sustainable, and democratic place should be eager to examine this basic doctrine.

Additional Information: 

David Cobb is a Liberty Tree Fellow and a member of the POCLAD Board.

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

November 9, 2009
Caroline Fan

by Stateside Dispatch


Community Policing as an Alternative to Local Enforcement of Immigration Law

Additional Information: 

For the original edition, see:

SHUMAN: Localization is way to redefine globalization

November 5, 2009
Michael Shuman

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

MAHIN on HARPERS FERRY: Courage and clarity changed history once – and will do so again

October 16, 2009
Chris Mahin

Harpers Ferry, WV

October 16, 2009 will mark exactly 150 years since 21 brave revolutionaries launched an attempt to seize the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, and spark a slave uprising in the United States.

After 36 hours of hard fighting, most of the raiders were killed or captured. The raid failed – in the military and tactical sense. In the moral and strategic sense, it was ultimately a resounding success.

The raid and the subsequent execution of John Brown and six of his comrades deepened the split between the North and the South, a situation which led directly to the Civil War. Given this, it is important that we ponder the lessons of Harpers Ferry for today.

Additional Information: 

Chris Mahin wrote this article for Rally Comrades!, the newspaper of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America.

BURNS: The strategy behind the Guard Home movement

October 14, 2009
Steve Burns

"Bring the Guard Home - It's the Law!" is a national campaign, now active in more than 20 states, that is raising a legal challenge to the Federal Government's use of our National Guard troops for deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Wisconsin, the campaign is promoting AB 203, a bill in the Wisconsin state assembly which would give the Governor the authority to examine the legality of any federal order for deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard and to challenge in court any orders determined to be unlawful.

Additional Information: 

Steve Burns, Outreach Director
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice

SWANSON: A Second Bill of Rights

October 11, 2009
David Swanson

This is the second of three excerpts from Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union (Seven Stories Press) by David Swanson published here by the kind permission of the publisher. David Swanson is a member of Liberty Tree's Board of Advisors

In places where we are not already protected, or where we have been shown to be vulnerable over the last eight years or before, legislation and amendments can be used to expand our existing rights and establish entirely new ones. All of our rights, new and old, should be properly protected by placing violations of them in the criminal code.

1. The Right to Vote

FIRST VIDEO: Who Decides About War?

October 3, 2009

Georgetown Law School

You don't have to wait any longer: The initial video is in from Who Decides About War?, the National Conference on War Powers, Law, and Democracy. This exciting conference took place on October 2nd and 3rd at the Georgetown School of Law, and featured over one hundred participants from 18 states.

Participants included veterans, military family members, journalists, lawyers, law students, professors, and other advocates of a more democratic, peaceful system of national defense.

SWANSON: Who SHOULD Decide About War?

October 3, 2009
David Swanson

Georgetown Law School

Remarks at conference

Who actually does: the media, weapons companies, the permanent government, presidents (including simply by decreeing a "war on terror", through misspending, lying, simply acting, signing treaties), political parties, culture (the one Biden lives in, in which Israel's sovereign right to attack Iran is uncontroversial), soldiers who obey illegal orders and the culture that leads kids to that place.

Who should decide: we the people of the world, through democratically created and enforced international and national and state laws.

FRIEDMAN: Democracy's Gold Standard

September 14, 2009
Brad Friedman

Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.

Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court's unambiguous, landmark finding:

"No 'specialized technical knowledge' can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts."
There is a "constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count."

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: 

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:

La FOLLETTE: July 4, 1897 on the Dangers Threatening Representative Government

July 4, 2009
Bob La Follette

Location: Mineral Point, Wisconsin

PRICE: Ohio. Birthplace of Charter Education ... and Opposition to It

June 30, 2009
Todd Alan Price

As Ohio education reformers aim ahead toward the new century and prosperity through remaking of the public school system, the Obama administration reform plan takes us back to the “choice,” “free market,” and “small government” mindset of the 1980s, of the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush:

Executive order 12803 issued by President George H. W. Bush, April 30, 1992: Sec. 3. Privatization initiative: To the extent permitted by law, the head of each executive department and agency shall undertake the following actions:

Additional Information: 

Todd Alan Price is author of The Myth and Reality of NCLB: Public Education and High Stakes Assessment. He is a Liberty Tree Associate.

BERNE: The Showdown at Schottenstein

June 22, 2009
Geoff Berne

On May 1, 2009, Michigan's Board of Education, like boards in most of the other states across the U.S., issued a resolution "recognizing that teachers are vital to the very fabric of our society" and declaring the week of May 4-8 Teacher Appreciation Week.

Additional Information: 

In Part II of this Counterpunch series, Liberty Tree Associate Todd Alan Price reports on his interviews with key players in the battle to which Ted Strickland has dedicated his governorship, to rebuild Ohio public education and stave off the charter phenomenon.

Antiwar Radio interviews Ben Manski

June 18, 2009's Scott Horton interviews Ben Manski, Executive Director of Liberty Tree. They discuss the Bring the Guard Home! campaign that, "seeks to end the illegal use of national guard units deployed abroad, the historical U.S. change from a republican system of state militias to an imperial army, and the reassertion of state control over the guard."

Additional Information: 

To listen to the interview, go to

Update on Efforts to Block Deployment of National Guard Troops to Iraq and Afghanistan

May 29, 2009

KBOO's public affairs host William Seaman interviews Dan Handelman about the campaign to keep Oregon's National Guard troops from deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan ... how close is the vote in the Oregon House and Senate on legislation aimed at challenging the federalization of the Oregon Guard? Also in the conversation by telephone is national campaign coordinator, Ben Manski, with an update on other state campaigns challenging guard deployments.

Additional Information: 

The interview can also be found at

LETNAR CERNIC: Corporate abuses require stronger international, national legal regimes

May 14, 2009
Jernej Letnar Černič

The US government published in February 2009 its decision that it will not renew its contract with the private security corporation formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide. Such a decision comes as no surprise given the allegations of killing 17 civilians by Blackwater guards, coupled with the Iraqi government's refusal to extend Blackwater's operating license. This case, however, opens again a number of conundrums relating to legal accountability for corporations and its employees for human rights violations. In short, how do we provide effective legal remedies to victims for human rights violations by or involving corporations? This comment therefore briefly explores the weaknesses of the current framework for corporate accountability for human rights.

Additional Information: 

Jernej Letnar Černič, JURIST HOTLINE
Researcher, Institute for European, Constitutional,
International Law and Law of Economics

Corporate Personhood and the "Right" to Harm the Environment

May 13, 2009
Jan Edwards and Alis Valencia

Concerned with the environmental threat posed by factory hog farms, nine townships in Pennsylvania have passed ordinances banning corporate ownership of farms. Opponents have filed a lawsuit, however, claiming that such laws are unconstitutional because they violate a corporation's rights under the First and 14th Amendments and the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.1

Why is it that corporations can claim constitutional rights? Wasn't our Constitution written in the name of "We the people"?

Additional Information: 

Jan Edwards and Alis Valencia, members of the Womens International League of Peace and Freedom and of the Campaign to Abolish Corporate Personhood, live on the Mendocino coast in Northern California. You can learn more about WILPF's "Challenge Corporate Power; Assert the People's Rights" campaign at WILPF's website.

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

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:

Democratizing Defense: A Discussion from the Liberty Tree Journal

May 1, 2009

A former congresswoman, a radio host, a military spouse, and a historian make up the participants of this Forum’s discussion on “Democratizing Defense.”

Stacy Bannerman is a prominent contemporary anti-war activist whose husband is an active duty member of the National Guard. We connected with Bannerman on the Troops Home Now! Tour of 2006, which Liberty Tree co-sponsored.

Paul Buhle is a historian, a veteran of the 1960s era SDS, and a mentor to the new SDS. Buhle is also known as a widely published cartoonist and author.

Barack Obama's War: Afghanistan's Failing Army

April 22, 2009
Ben Swales

Dear friends,

I am writing to you from Guardian Films; we are the film making arm of the Guardian Newspaper. Today, in time with President Obama's new strategy for the Afghan war, Guardian Films released a short video that documents the progress of the US army's training of the Afghan army. I have included a link to the video on the Guardian website, and would greatly appreciate it if you would watch the video, and embed a link to the video on your websites.

Additional Information: 

See the movie at

King Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU
Tel: 00 44 203 353 2910 (direct line)

Center for Campus Free Speech: Facts Still Count

April 13, 2009
Megan Fitzgerald

Campus Free Speech proves with its new report, Facts Still Count, that David Horowitz's recent books are not honest in their criticisms of campuses and faculty. The Center for Campus Free Speech is affiliated with the Democratizing Education Network, and a great source of information regarding important academic freedom and campus free speech issues.

As part of the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition, Campus Free Speech has just released a new report: Facts Still Count.

Additional Information: 

You can read the report at
Campus Free Speech can be found at
Campus Free Speech page on Protecting academic Freedom:

CCR: Restore. Protect. Expand The Constitution: Amend the War Powers Resolution

April 9, 2009

Executive Summary

At the heart of American constitutional democracy is the concept of checks and balances: limits on the reach of each branch of government so that none can act unilaterally or exercise power without accountability. The power to initiate warfare, because of its grave and potentially long-term consequences for the entire republic, is rightly assigned to the entire Congress under the American system, rather than to the President, a single individual. Wisely, the Constitution provides that the decision to go to war should be debated thoroughly and openly in Congress, rather than carried out by a secretive order, on the judgment of one person.

Additional Information: 

666 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY 10012
Phone (212) 614-6489 Fax (212) 614-6422

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.