Majority rule rests on numbers; democracy rests on the well-grounded assumption that society is neither a collection of units nor an organism but a network of human relations.
"The American War is over, but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed." ~ Benjamin Rush
Liberty Tree is a new organization with old roots. From our origins in a revolution over two centuries ago, Americans have engaged in a relentless struggle for democracy. The heroic efforts of individual people working together in the abolitionist, women's, labor, civil rights, student, treaty rights, and environmental movements, among others, have taken our country a long way toward achieving its democratic promise. Yet that sterling promise remains far from fulfilled, and worse, it has been severely damaged by the corporate takeover of U.S. elections, education, foreign policy, services, corrections, and law.
The world changed radically with the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, and American social movements changed with it. The end of the Cold War created new opportunities for U.S. progressives to build ties with progressives in other countries. At the same time, it also created a new opening for corporate elites to impose their global economic agenda. Liberty Tree is one of the thousands of efforts which emerged in the United States out of the global resistance to corporate rule. Early discussions about Liberty Tree occurred in 1999, in the buildup to the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle. Over the next five years, those who were to found Liberty Tree coordinated three projects:
Cities for People! was a national coalition of twenty seven community, youth, labor, religious, political, and other civic organizations dedicated to offering an alternative, democratic agenda for the nation's largest cities. Cities for People! organized mass demonstrations protesting corporate involvement in setting the priorities of the June, 2002, annual national meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Cities for People! Also organized a conference on progressive municipal policy as an alternative the official mayors' meeting.
Community Power 2002: First International Conference on Local Democracy. Held over three days in October 2002, this conference drew participants from 25 U.S. states and six countries. Panelists described the lessons of experiments in local democracy conducted in Montevideo (Uruguay), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Manchester (England), San Francisco, Arcata (CA), rural Pennsylvania, Hartford, and Madison.
No Stolen Elections! In the Summer of 2004, Liberty Tree initiated the No Stolen Elections! campaign and the Nov3.US website, a broad-based mobilization to defend voting rights and protest attempts to manipulate the outcome of the 2004 presidential elections. After election day, the No Stolen Elections! campaign coordinated protests in scores of cities across the United States, and lent support to the Cobb-Badnarik recount in Ohio. The campaign succeeded, among other things, in seeding local voting rights groups across the United States.
The Liberty Tree Fellows formally incorporated the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution as a non-stock corporation in October of 2004. Our most recent work appears in the pages of this website.