The way the two major parties control the presidential debates is a perfect microcosm of how political debates are restricted in general. Though typically shrouded in secrecy, several facts about this process have recently come to light and they are quite instructive.
Liberty Tree Fellows
Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney. He serves Liberty Tree as Executive Director and is the organization's founder. Ben received his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 2005, and a B.A. in Sociology with a focus in Rural Sociology from the UW-Madison in 1999. He is Liberty Tree Fellow and an Associate Fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies.
Ben Manski served as co-chair of the Green Party of the United States from 2001 through 2004. He was employed on the staffs of a number of environmental, social justice, pro-democracy, and education advocacy organizations throughout the 1990s, and played leadership roles in many others. Ben currently serves as President of the Press Connection Foundation. He is a member of the Speak Out! Speakers and Artists speakers bureau.
David Cobb was the 2004 Green Party nominee for President of the United States. He served as General Counsel for the national Green Party until declaring his candidacy in 2003. His legal career is dedicated to challenging illegitimate corporate power and to creating democracy.
In addition to his service as a Democratizing Elections Program Director and a Fellow with Liberty Tree, David is a member of the Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County Steering Committee, a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors for the Green Institute, and a member of the Sierra Club's national Corporate Accountability Committee.
George Friday is the National Coordinator for the Independent Progressive Politics Network; an organization she has been active with since 1995, and is a co-chair of United for Peace and Justice. George grew up in a rural low income community in North Carolina in the 60s. She holds degrees in Political Science, Economics, and African American Studies from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
George Friday has worked with Liberty Tree on key voting rights and local democracy campaigns. She has served on boards of The Institute for Southern Studies (current), the Grassroots Policy Project, the Economic Human Rights Project (current), the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and the New World Foundation.
Sarah Manski is a social entrepreneur and the CEO of a green business technology start-up, PosiPair.com. She has worked as a producer and news reporter for Air America radio, Pacifica radio network, and as the New York Bureau Editor for Workers Independent News radio. She is a specialist in public relations and has worked for various organizations and unions such as the AFSCME international, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, National Labor Committee, American Kennel Club, and others. Sarah received a master’s degree in Life Sciences Communication with a focus on Environmental Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.A. in Sociology from the same school.
Matt Nelson- With over 15 years of experience as a community organizer, campaign strategist, and communications expert, Matt has led dozens of community anti-oppression efforts and has trained and mentored hundreds of community leaders and organizers around the country. As a social justice entrepreneur, Matt has started four successful small businesses promoting alternative economic structures including the first fair trade, worker collective café in Milwaukee, WI. He has worked as a freelance journalist as well as the editor of a bilingual weekly newspaper. Matt is also a co-founder of the Freedom Now! Collaborative, and his work related to housing justice, corporate racism, food justice and police brutality has appeared in CNN, the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Black Commentator, WireTap, the Food Network, Hispanic Vista, and the Nation magazine.
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap is the Executive Director of Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County. In November 2004 she was elected to serve on the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water Board, becoming one of the youngest elected officials in California. She is a founder and Secretary to the Board of the California Center for Community Democracy.
Kaitlin also serves as Project Co-coordinator for the Humboldt Exchange Community Currency Project, she belongs to the SmartMeme STORY board, is a member of the Steering Committee of the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights and the Housing Advisory Board for the City of Eureka. She was a member of the leadership team of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's national campaign to Challenge Corporate Power/Assert the People's Rights campaign from 2002-2004.