Law of Democracy

The will of the people shall be the law of the land. Constitutions, statutes, and ... government are but instruments to carry out the will of the people, and when they fail ... they must be changed to carry out and express the ... will of the people. For over all and above all, and greater than all, and expressing the supreme sovereignty of all, are the people.
~ Fighting Bob La Follette
No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time.
~ Emma Goldman Liberty Tree is committed to raising up and renewing a crucial area of the law: the law of democracy. Read here for resources on new approaches to making the law more accessible, transparent, and above all, directly accountable to the people.

Judge rules detaining asylum-seekers in order to deter others is illegal

May 5, 2016
Molly Hennessy-Fiske for LA Times
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Claudia Velasquez, a Honduran immigrant held with her 7-year-old daughter since October in a federal detention facility, looked at the judge Monday via a video hookup as he considered her request for bond.
 
Velasquez and nearly 1,000 mothers and children were being held at three family detention centers around the country, part of a massive federal effort to stem the influx of immigrants on the southern border last year by keeping those who succeeded in crossing illegally locked up.
 

REPORT - UN study highlights crisis for refugee women fleeing Central America and Mexico, calls for international border protection due to forced displacement

May 5, 2016
The UN Refugee Agency
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Women in Central America and Mexico are fleeing their countries in rising numbers to escape a surge in deadly, unchecked gang violence, fueling a looming refugee crisis in the Americas that demands urgent and concerted action by the states of the region, the United Nations refugee agency warned Wednesday.
 
View the full report "Women on the Run" from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees by clicking here
 

Group of kids sue Obama, federal agencies for supporting the destructive fossil fuel industry

April 11, 2016
Zoë Carpenter for The Nation
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 On Wednesday, a group of kids and teenagers will face off in an Oregon courtroom against the US government and the fossil fuel industry. The young people, from states as far away as Florida, Arizona, New York, Hawaii, and Alaska, are suing President Obama and several federal agencies for inaction on climate change.

Climate activists challenge using eminent domain for fracking with “Pancakes Not Pipelines” protest

March 27, 2016
Lee Ziesche for AlterNet
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Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox (Gasland) and others from the activist group Beyond Extreme Energy were arrested today protesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its role in continuing to permit fossil fuel projects that will greatly accelerate climate change.

GMO labeling victory in Senate may be short-lived, but sheds light on successful pushback against corporate interests

March 27, 2016
Zoe Lister-Jones for The Huffington Post
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Last week, a bill to pre-empt states’ rights to label GMOs was overturned in the Senate. With over 90% of Americans in favor of labeling foods containing Genetically Modified ingredients, this outcome lends hope at a time in which many of us might feel the weight of corporate interest too often impacting legislation.

Preemption being used to block local democracy measures including minimum wage laws

March 27, 2016
The Huntington News
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August, the Birmingham, Ala. local government took a significant step toward supporting low-wage workers in the city by raising minimum wage to more than $10 from the national floor of $7.25. The move constituted a strong victory for labor rights and community activists, who had spent months rallying support and talking to lawmakers in an effort to make Birmingham the first city in the South to raise its minimum wage. By August, the decision had garnered a broad base of support that included workers, activists, city officials and a large segment of residents.

Maryland bill would restore voting rights to ex-felons

April 30, 2015
Ari Berman
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Freddie Gray’s neighborhood in Baltimore had the highest incarceration rate of anywhere in the city. More than 450 adults from Sandtown-Winchester are in state prison, and one in four juveniles were arrested from 2005 to 2009.

Participatory budgeting empowers communities of color in New York

April 10, 2015
Sondra Youdelman
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NEW YORK — Today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and New York City Council Members kicked off the voting period for New York City’s 2014-2015 participatory budgeting cycle — now the largest such process in the nation. This year, 24 Council Districts will allocate nearly $30 million citywide for residents to collaboratively develop into local capital projects through a year-long process of neighborhood assemblies, delegate meetings, and project expositions.

The Democratic Turn of the Century: Learning from the U.S. Democracy Movement

March 18, 2015
Ben Manski

Originally published by the journal Socialism & Democracy. Contact the author for permission to reprint.

Democracy movements arose in most regions of the globe during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Students of social change have studied many of these movements, but, remarkably, have so far failed to look at that of the United States.

Glen Ford on what true black community control of the police would look like

February 13, 2015
Glen Ford
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A key activist in the early Sixties grassroots movement to overthrow American apartheid recently asked if the current Black Lives Matter campaign will be able to sustain itself. In the near term, the answer is almost certainly, yes. The momentum of the mobilization will be propelled forward by the dogged determination of a new generation of activists, building on the skills and experience of previously vetted organizers and the quickening, soul-wrenching drumbeat of police murder and repression.

Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor: The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US

December 6, 2014
Mumia Abu-Jamal and Johanna Fernandez

This volume is a leap into the abyss that is the American Gulag. Our purpose is to explore the origins of the current system of carceral punishment, which began to mass-incarcerate poor and working-class African Americans and Latinos living in urban centers beginning in the late 1970s. We link the new characteristics of imprisonment as it then emerged to the campaign of state repression unleashed against the civil rights and black power movements in the 1960s. Some of those imprisoned are veterans of these movements, and are political prisoners.

More Info: 

This essay appears in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Socialism and Democracy.  To read more click here.

RYDER and HAYDEN: Importance of the War Powers Resolution

November 10, 2014
Paul Ryder and Tom Hayden

[Research by Paul Ryder]

The nation needs a full public debate and a Congressional vote on whether to authorize the current American military interventions in Iraq and Syria and, if so, under what conditions. The past is prologue:

April 4, 1956: President Dwight Eisenhower’s news conference --

Q: Sarah McClendon, El Paso Times: Sir, would you order those Marines that were sent over to the Mediterranean and over in that area, would you order them to war, without asking the Congress first?

Tom Hayden: Letter to Congress on Escalation in Iraq & Syria

November 10, 2014
Tom Hayden

Dear Members of Congress,

The New War has escalated since we sent this letter November 3, 2014. President Obama has dispatched another 1,500 US troops and requested $5 billion in new funding. The president also has requested a congressional authorization. It is time for Congress to act and widen the public debate.

One of the bitter lessons of Vietnam, learned again in Iraq, is that it is relatively easy for Congress to authorize a war, but far more difficult to end one. Instead, there comes quagmire, suffering, cost, regret and political fallout.

How emergency management in Michigan subverts democracy

November 2, 2014
Jake Blumgart - Next City
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Originally published on July 3rd, 2013

If you haven’t been following the goings-on in Detroit, this should bring you up to speed: Its elected leadership has lost control of the city. In April a state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, signed an order effectively relegating city officials to the sidelines and placing himself in full control of Detroit’s policy apparatus. Nothing can be enacted without his approval.

The struggle for democracy in D.C. moves forward

November 2, 2014
Scott McLarty - Firedoglake
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Originally published on September 16th, 2014

“The capital of the nation is the last plantation!” “Free D.C.!”

For decades, residents of “America’s last colony” have clamored for the same irrevocable rights as other citizens of the United States.

Join Liberty Tree at the We are Woman Rally!

September 13, 2014

On Saturday, September 13th the We are Woman coalition will be
rallying on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to call for:

WATCH: New documentary about Move to Amend

October 22, 2013
Move to Amend
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Move to Amend is thrilled that our brand new mini documentary about Move to Amend is FINISHED!

Arizona’s recent primary election was a disaster, especially in ‪Maricopa County‬. TAKE ACTION - help restore democracy in Arizona!

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has done it again.
 
As the top official in charge of making sure every eligible person can vote and that every vote is counted in Arizona’s most populous county, Helen Purcell created and presided over another disaster of an election. For the good of the country, and to ensure the integrity of upcoming elections, it’s time for her to resign. #AdiosHelen
 
From: 
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