If you are interested in getting involved in organizing for democracy amendments in Wisconsin, please contact us.

Adopt a resolution to protect Wisconsin's Guard

May 11, 2010

Please download this sample resolution and bring it to our organization, local government, union, faith community, business -- you name it -- and get them to put their name on record in support of Wisconsin's National Guard.

www.democracysquare.org/files_public/WI Guard Resolution Letter.doc

Tips for Effective Guard Home Petitioning

July 29, 2009
Leah Bolger
  1. Provide good training to your petition gatherers. Make sure they can explain the basic legal argument of the campaign. Give them info sheets and FAQs.
  2. INSIST that signers print. Consider making blocks for each letter to help people be legible. Because this is not a ballot measure petition, you do not need a signature.

Wisconsin National Guard Petition

June 22, 2009

Please help the Wisconsin campaign by circulating this petition (PDF):

Wisconsin Guard Petition

Call for a Wisconsin Wave of Resistance

February 14, 2011

the WISCONSIN WAVE against Corporatization and Austerity and for Democracy and Shared Prosperity

We recognize the rising Wisconsin wave of resistance to corporatization and austerity and call on our fellow Wisconsinites to join it.

BADER: Review of The Lost Soul of Higher Education

June 1, 2010
Eleanor J. Bader

Ellen Schrecker, a history professor at New York City's Yeshiva University, starts "The Lost Soul of Higher Education" with a blunt assessment: "In reacting to the economic insecurities of the past forty years, the nation's colleges and universities have adopted corporate practices that degrade undergraduate instruction, marginalize faculty members, and threaten the very mission of the academy as an institution devoted to the common good."

Additional Information: 

SCOTCH: Legal memo on Wisconsin Safeguard the Guard Act

March 13, 2010
Benson Scotch

Memo to the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs
2009 Assembly Bill 203
You have asked for my views about the validity and enforceability of AB 203, and I am happy to respond to this request. Please note that I am not a member of the Wisconsin Bar, and the comments I offer relate solely to the United States Constitution and laws as well as conventional rules and practices relating to statutory construction.

Additional Information: 

Benson Scotch is retired attorney living in Montpelier, Vermont, and is general counsel to “Bring the Guard Home—It’s the Law!” Ben is a former executive director of the Vermont ACLU, former Chief Staff Attorney of the Vermont Supreme Court, and former staff counsel to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Constitution Subcommittee. Ben is a 1956 graduate of Yale College and a 1961 graduate of Harvard Law School. He served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958.

VIDEO: March to Overrule the Court

February 16, 2010
Ben Manski and Lisa Graves

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:

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 www.FutureCities2009.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 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:

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.

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

ISTHMUS: WI tech leaders get little help from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

September 18, 2014
Marc Eisen
news photo

This is a problem.

The state's most powerful business voice has conspicuously little contact with Wisconsin's rising technology industry.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which claims more than 3,500 businesses as members, brags that "the success of the WMC government relations team in projecting and accomplishing a proactive business agenda has been second to none."

Well, yeah. On the surface, WMC has never been stronger. The support WMC has thrown to small-government, pro-business Republicans has paid off big time, to say the obvious.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL: Walker falling far short of promise to create 250,000 new jobs

September 12, 2014
James B. Nelson

Perhaps the most important number coming out of the state's July jobs report is this: 29,437.

That's how many jobs Wisconsin employers would have to add each month for the remaining five months of the year in order for Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise --  creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WKOW: WMC head: Don't ban state subsidies to companies that outsource jobs

September 12, 2014
Greg Neumann

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top executive at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) says a proposal being considered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ban financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs should be approached with caution.

"We don't want taxpayer funds going to subsidize the movement of jobs elsewhere," said Kurt Bauer, WMC Chief Executive Officer.  "Having said that, it is the political season and we think its not maybe the best time to establish a policy that maybe, ultimately, comes back to bite us as far as job creation and job attraction."

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Wisconsin Supreme Court hears Act 10 case involving their biggest financial backers

November 12, 2013
Jack Craver
news photo

If the Wisconsin Supreme Court does not rule in Gov. Scott Walker’s favor by reinstating the entirety of Act 10, the governor’s signature law that restricts public sector collective bargaining, it's likely a small group of very wealthy people will feel ripped off.

The court is considering a ruling by a Dane County Circuit Court judge last year that key parts of the law were unconstitutional.

The four justices who make up the Supreme Court’s conservative majority owe their positions largely to the help of Republican Party allies, notably Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business group.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

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: http://www.wpr.org/cardin/index.cfm?strDirection=Next&dteShowDate=2011-10-12+06%3A00%3A00.0

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.

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.

Voter Intimidation and Surveillance In Wisconsin

August 6, 2011
Noise of Rain

Imagine that you are a new voter. Perhaps you aren't too clear on all the rules, the picture I.D. thing, even what you are supposed to do in the voter's booth. But by God, you're going to do it. You are going to become a voter! And you do. You accept a ride to the polls in a van driven by Wisconsin Jobs Now as part of their GOTV campaign in your underrepresented neighborhood. You are not letting the rightwing pundits, politicians and policies silence your voice. You are a Voter!

LIU: Manski Wins Democracy on Campus

May 6, 2010
Alexander J. Liu

Making the drive up to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point once again on Monday, pro-democracy advocate and attorney Ben Manski returned to the campus he had visited in his college career. Only this time the faces had changed, but the message was the same. At 8 p.m. in the Dreyfus University Center’s Theatre, Manski delivered a multimedia presentation on “Winning Democracy,” in the hopes that it would inspire students to do just that.

“I hope that I helped to broaden some perspectives about what other students are doing around the world: what they’ve done in recent generations, that it wasn’t all just in the 60’s. I’m a little bit older, but in my generation student activists, we accomplished a lot,” said Manski. “In my experience, when people think big, they dream big and they work to accomplish those big goals. They sometimes succeed, and if you don’t try at all, then they’re not going to happen and that’s not acceptable.”

More Info: 

Original article here...

STEVENSON: This education is ours, so act like it

May 5, 2010
Sam Stevenson

Want to travel back in time? Drive 80 miles east to Milwaukee, park on Downer and Kenwood and walk a block west. Complementing the anachronistic architecture crowding around, the tenor of student body activism pulsating across the UW-Milwaukee campus could easily fool the most well-informed Madisonian into thinking he or she had traveled to another era, one where college students fought hard to protect and nourish their education.

The impassioned and fair demands made by UWM students last March precipitated last Thursday’s revealing panel discussion with embattled UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago. Previously, UWM’s participation in a national day of action in defense of higher education on March 4 met a rude end when administrative officials called in police to break up a passionate though peaceful demonstration. Campus and city police aggressively targeted students with pepper spray and physical violence in an effort to neutralize vociferous demands for an audience with Santiago.

More Info: 

Sam Stevenson is a graduate student in public health.

Original article here...

BURNS: Tuition-hike roundup for April 2010

May 3, 2010
Steve Burns

According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 28 states have implemented cuts to public colleges and universities and/or large increases in college tuition to make up for insufficient state funding, and four more states have proposed cuts but have not yet carried them out. Full report here...

Vermont: A proposal to raise University tuition by 4.8 percent brought an angry response by the state's Governor, Jim Douglas, who called the increase "excessive, and an unfair burden on struggling Vermont families." Under the proposal, tuition at Vermont State Colleges would rise 4 percent. Read more...

ROTHSCHILD: Corporations Aren't Persons

April 10, 2010
Matthew Rothschild

ON FEBRUARY 16, ABOUT 200 people gathered on the steps of the Wisconsin state capitol. “It’s fitting that we stand out in the cold,” said Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

“That’s where the Supreme Court has left us.”

He was referring to the court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which granted corporations the right to spend unlimited funds on so-called independent expenditures to influence the outcome of elections. The crowd heartily agreed with McCabe. Signs said: “No Corporate Takeover of Elections,” “Free Speech, Not Fee Speech,” “Money Is Not Speech, Corporations Are Not Persons.” And a chant went up: “Overrule the Court.”

Ben Manski, executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation, drew the crowd in with a historical analogy.

More Info: 

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

More information on Move to Amend here.

Green Policy Conference

June 1, 2005 - 1:00pm


Madison, WI

The Green Institute, the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution and the Havens Center sponsored a conference at the University of Wisconsin in Madison to discuss officeholder coordination, education and assistance.

For more information, read the full report at the Green Institute's Website or visit the Green Policy Conference website

Frances Moore Lappé in Madison

November 5, 2007 - 1:15pm


Barrymore Theatre
2090 Atwood Ave
Madison, WI

A public talk by FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ on her new book, "Getting a Grip." Followed by a fundraising reception for Liberty Tree.

UW Together Part II: Unite For Students at the Capitol

October 17, 2011 - 12:30pm - 3:30pm


Wisconsin State Capitol; 411 South Hearing Room Madison, WI

Last month, the Center for Equal Opportunity launched an attack on the students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, trying to pit Badger against Badger to further their partisan goals. However, we resisted, we united, and we stood together in support of the holistic admissions practices at UW-Madison, reminding the CEO that we're more than our scores!

Now, our defense continues as Representative Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater) has invited the CEO to the Capitol for a closed hearing to waste time they should be spending working on job creation or lowering the cost of higher education scrutinizing our legal admissions practices at UW-Madison.

ACLU: Support the Wisconsin Democracy Restoration Act

What's happening: 
PUBLIC HEARING: Committee on Corrections and the Courts on AB 353 (WI Democracy Restoration Act) - Madison. 417 North (GAR Hall), State Capitol, Thursday, August 27, 10am.
The Restore the Vote Wisconsin Now Coalition is a group of activists, citizens, organizations, faith leaders, legislators and other cool people who are working to restore the right to vote to over 42,000 ex-offenders immediately upon release from incarceration in Wisconsin.
Current law in Wisconsin restricts the right to vote to individuals until after their sentence. This means US citizens can be living, raising families, going to school, working, and paying taxes in our communities and not have the right to vote.
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