Local Democracy

Underlying society, and superior to constitutions are equality, and certain unalienable rights, inherent in all people in virtue of their very humanity, and it is only when this democracy is a living idea in the community that it can become a living fact in the state.
~ Racine Advocate, 1854 Liberty Tree's Local Democracy Program works with elected officials, political parties, and community organizations in the United States to democratize local governments and to unite them as agents of democratic change. This program prioritizes the growth of strong participatory cultures in local government, implementation of democratizing policy reforms at the local level, and the emergence of an alliance of democratic local governments as a force in national politics.

Community Democracy, and the Future of Broadband

September 3, 2014
David Morris
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Map shows municipal and locally-controlled broadband networks nationwide. Communities invest in telecommunications networks for a variety of reasons - economic development, improving access to education and health care, price stabilization, etc. They range from massive networks offering a gig to hundreds of thousands in Tennessee to small towns connecting a few local businesses. (Image: Institute for Local Self-Reliance)

Center for Social Inclusion maps the movement for Energy Democracy

July 24, 2014
Center for Social Inclusion
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This map pinpoints communities across America that are innovating how to build their local economies while taking into their own hands the fight against climate change by developing community-scale renewable energy projects.

Denmark town achieves true Energy Democracy

July 24, 2014
Paul Kando
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Ballen, Denmark, is one of 18 small villages on Samsø, an island of 4,000 residents. The new Energy Academy with its 11 new jobs is located here, doubling as a meeting house and visitor center for those who come here from the world over to learn how to become 100 percent energy-independent. The island has 21 huge wind turbines generating over 104 million kW h/year, enough to power 26,000 homes. Sixty percent of the island’s buildings are heated by 4 solar district heating systems, with straw-burning back-up boilers; the rest use electric heat pumps. Cars run on electricity.

Nigerian communities challenge corporate power in quest for Energy Democracy

July 24, 2014
Boldwin Anugwara
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That Nigeria is facing power supply challenge is an understatement. But the Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, in this interview with CHARLES OKONJI, says the epileptic power supply has an exit date if only Nigeria embraces energy democracy. Excerpts:

You have been advocating energy democracy. Can you explain to us what you mean by energy democracy?

San Diego fights for Energy Democracy

July 24, 2014
John Farrell
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San Diego and its community choice energy district would be able to offer a diverse energy mix with all of the solar, biodiesel, biogas, and energy storage resources that we have in San Diego.  A product that is price competitive and yet at the same time would strive for and achieve a higher level of renewable content.”

See how this southern California city is striving for more clean energy and more local control in this interview with Lane Sharman, co-founder and chair of the San Diego Energy District Foundation. This podcast was recorded via Skype on May 21, 2014.

UK's largest union calls for fracking ban and "democratic control of the energy industry"

July 24, 2014
Unite policy conference 2014
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At UNITE’s 2014 policy conference, the following resolution was passed:

Composite C6 (Incorporating Motions D1, D3 & D4)

Standing in the names of:

North West/Merseyside AAC

North East, Yorkshire & Humber/300/22 Wm Morrison Distribution Stockton Branch

South West/001401 Bristol Finance & Legal Sector Branch

D. Environment

(i) Hydraulic Fracturing

Conference notes:

Gar Alperovitz on the cooperative economy's enormous potential

May 22, 2014
Orion Magazine

IN THE MID-1960s, when author, historian, and political economist Gar Alperovitz was working as legislative director for Senator Gaylord Nelson, change was in the air. Ink had dried on an early version of the Clean Air Act, the civil rights movement had won major victories, and the first Earth Day was in the works. The U.S. still faced plenty of serious challenges, but many Americans felt their country was capable of dealing with them successfully.

Participatory Budgeting in NYC: Governing at the Grassroots

May 21, 2014
Mike Menser and Ron Hayduk
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Like much of the rest of the globe, New York City is beset by two crises: economic instability and the changing climate. Any hope of making our intensely unequal and unsustainable city more equitable and resilient requires fundamental changes in the relationship between the government and its people, and between the economy and its infrastructure. This requires more than a change of administrations; it requires a reconstruction of the governance process itself.

Public Banking & Economic Democracy

May 21, 2014
Gwendolyn Hallsmith
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Private banks have not always been accepted institutions, fixtures of commerce, and purveyors of most of our economic transactions. Throughout US history, there have been robust public conversations about banks, largely due to their propensity to derail the economy when their business models fail. One example of this was in rural Vermont in 1806, when the state established their first public bank. Testimony on that bill, from Governor Tichenor lays out the problem:

Jackson, Miss. using worker-owned cooperatives to advance economic democracy

May 17, 2014
Gracie Davie
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When Iya’Falola Omobola first crossed the Mississippi state border 10 years ago, she felt uneasy. A friend told her that she was “feeling the energy from all those bodies hanging in the trees.” Yet, Omobola’s feeling soon changed. Born into a family of civil rights and labor organizers in Cleveland, Ohio, Omobola came to see Jackson as the Phoenix that rises from the ashes.

Participatory Budgeting continues to grow in NYC

April 4, 2014
Jay Cassano
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It would be tough to find something people like to complain about more than politicians. Now, thanks to New York City's Participatory Budgeting project, we get to do part of their job for them.

With the fast flow of information these days, the average citizen can easily be just as informed as any local politician or policy wonk. So why do we need politicians to spend our tax dollars for us? Especially when it comes local communities, people have a visceral and intuitive understanding of the changes they want to see.

WATCH: Ben Manski, Leland Pan, Jolie Lizotte and more on the future of student organizing

November 7, 2013
Liberty Tree Foundation

Last August hundreds of people from across the country convened in Madison, WI for the  2nd Democracy Convention.  Made up of nine individual conferences, the Convention was an extraordinary space for individuals and organizations to network with and learn from one another in the service of building a larger, more dynamic democracy movement.

Liberty Tree hosting Gar Alperovitz in Santa Barbara, CA

Date: 
May 1, 2014 - 12:00pm - May 2, 2014 - 1:00pm

Location

Santa Barbara, CA

Community Democracy: America Beyond Capitalism?

For more information visit: www.democracysb.org

CommonBound: Moving Together Toward a New Economy

Date: 
June 6, 2014 - 9:00am - June 8, 2014 - 5:00pm

Location

Northeastern University Boston, MA

This June 6-8, more than 500 movement leaders, activists, practitioners, and newcomers will come together in Boston for CommonBound, the New Economy Coalition’s largest and most significant convening yet.

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