THIS MEETING STARTS AT 6pm AND ENDS AT 8:30pm. APOLOGIES FOR WEBSITE PROBLEMS THAT INDICATED OTHERWISE.
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Executive Director of Democracy Unlimited - a founding coalition partner of the Campaign to Legalize Democracy/Move To Amend - will be in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Wednesday, May 5th for a community action meeting.
The forum will focus on how residents of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico can join the national movement against Corporate Personhood.
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.”
MINNEAPOLIS — Amy Goodman, host of the syndicated "Democracy Now!" news program, and two of her producers filed suit against the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and other defendants Wednesday over their arrests while covering the 2008 Republican National Convention.
The three were among an estimated 40 to 50 journalists who were arrested covering street protests at the convention in downtown St. Paul, along with about 800 demonstrators and bystanders.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Minnesota, alleges that authorities violated the First Amendment freedoms of Goodman, her producers and other journalists by interfering with their right to gather news.
Goodman's daily program airs on over 750 radio and TV stations in North America.
If George W. Bush – notorious for skipping his Texas Air National Guard drills during the Vietnam War – were in the Guard today, he’d be up in the air without a propeller.
That’s because today’s National Guard has become virtually indistinguishable from the nation’s active-duty forces in the war zone. The majority of these so-called part-time soldiers have served combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, with many– if not most – deployed more than once.
As of April 24, 622 members of the Guard have been killed [.pdf] in the two-front war since 2001. Forget the whole bit about “weekend warriors” – reservists have become indispensable to the ongoing overseas operations since Bush himself launched the country into war nine years ago.
Fremont County must stop using its existing at-large system to elect commissioners because it violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the strength of the Indian vote, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
Instead, county officials must submit a voting plan to the court by June 30 to create five districts in the county so residents on the Wind River Indian Reservation can better achieve fair representation on the five-member commission, U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson wrote.
The ruling comes more than three years after a nine-day bench trial in February 2007 before Johnson in which five enrolled members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes stated their case against Fremont County, its commissioners and the county court clerk.
Three weeks ago, attorneys for the Indians asked the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to force Johnson to make a decision.
Fostering community wealth in today’s economy requires going beyond a traditional federal government “service delivery” mode of operation to develop programs that connect capital with low-income communities. Largely unnoticed in the media, over the past few decades, there has been a steady build-up of new forms of community-supportive economic enterprises.
Forty years ago, there were fewer than 200 employee-owned companies in the United States. The community development finance industry did not yet exist. Likewise, few community development corporations (CDCs) and no significant community land trusts existed. State public pension funds did not employ economically targeted investments.
Something important is happening in Cleveland: a new model of large-scale worker- and community-benefiting enterprises is beginning to build serious momentum in one of the cities most dramatically impacted by the nation's decaying economy. The Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL)--a worker-owned, industrial-size, thoroughly "green" operation--opened its doors late last fall in Glenville, a neighborhood with a median income hovering around $18,000. It's the first of ten major enterprises in the works in Cleveland, where the poverty rate is more than 30 percent and the population has declined from 900,000 to less than 450,000 since 1950.
"I never thought I could become an owner of a major corporation. Maybe through Evergreen things that I always thought would be out of reach for me might become possible."
Since 2003, the organization Reclaim Democracy has pushed the ACLU to rethink its claim that money = speech regarding investments in political campaigns and its position equating corporate communications with free speech, beginning when the ACLU took Nike Corporation's side in the infamous "corporate right to lie" dispute (Nike v Kasky).
As many writers and activists have declared for some time now, Canadians -- and citizens in all English-speaking developed countries -- are facing a crisis in democracy. Another way of putting it is that we face a democratic deficit. That term harkens back to a book written 35 years ago called the Crisis in Democracy, commissioned by the Trilateral Commission (TLC), an international neo-liberal forum of CEOs, former and current heads of state and free market academics. The crisis they were talking about was different. As Samuel Huntington, a prominent American neo-liberal wrote in the book, there was "an excess of democracy." Too many people were asking governments for too many things -- and, even more dangerous, beginning to believe they were entitled to them.
On January 21st, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. An avalanche of criticism from grassroots organizations, members of Congress, and the President of the United States followed. Hundreds of thousands of Americans signed motions calling for action to overrule the Court -- including amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
GRIT tv host Laura Flanders takes up the topic of the Supreme Court, corporate power, and the Citizens United ruling. Guest John Bonifaz, the director of Free Speech for People discusses the results we're already seeing from that ruling, how it impacts corporations, unions, and real flesh-and-blood people, (including how it has already impacted our thinking) and what needs to be done. Bonifaz explains how we can amend the Constitution to reclaim our first amendment, and the kind of popular movement that will be required to do it. He describes what people are doing at the local level in their free time to advance this agenda. (Discussion begins at 10:22)
The newspaper industry is struggling. According to a March 2010 report from the Pew Research Center’s annual Project for Excellence in Journalism, the American newspaper industry has lost $1.6 billion in annual reporting and editing capacity since 2000. In the last three years, the newspaper industry has cut thousands of full-time reporting and editing jobs.
The rapid decay of traditional for-profit news media is not because the public is less hungry for news. Indeed, the Pew study shows that Americans are avidly interested in news. What has changed is that Americans for the most part aren’t willing to pay for news, mostly because they believe they can get all the news they want without paying for it.
So how will America fill the growing void in journalism as traditional for-profit media models fail?
The Spring 2010 issue of Justice Rising (.pdf), the quarterly newsletter of Alliance for Democracy, is entitled: Courts and Corporations vs. Our Common Good, and takes on the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision and the growing popular movement to guarantee free-speech rights for people and not for corporations.
Justice Rising offers a thematic guide for everyone dedicated to ending corporate rule and establishing true democracy, and can be dowloaded as a full newsletter or as individual articles.
On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule. Join Liberty Tree and our many partners in this movement, as we move to overrule the Supreme Court. Go to www.MovetoAmend.org right now and sign the motion.
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.”
In its ten months of existence, California Watch, an offshoot of the Center for Investigative Reporting, which is located in Berkeley, has placed 21 stories with the San Francisco Chronicle. One of those stories, on seismic safety in California’s public colleges and universities, was distributed to more than 80 news outlets, Robert Rosenthal, the center’s executive editor, said.
It has become one of the most prominent examples of the Bay Area’s new growth industry: the non-profit news organization.
As regional newspapers have shed reporters over the years — a recent count said there are now 500 journalists covering news compared with 900 a few years ago — non-profit news groups have stepped in to cover the gap.
Mary Zepernick, of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy and Womens International League for Peace and Freedom delivered a history of corporate personhood and observations on the need for ending all corporate appropriation of personhood rights through a Constitutional amendment to the organizers of a panel discussion on the Supreme Court's Citzens United Discussion. The organizing groups included North Bridge Alliance for Democracy joined with Concord Carlisle League of Women Voters, Concord CAN, and the Carlisle Climate Action Network.
Mary Zepernick is the Director of POCLAD (Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy). Move To Amend is pushing forward with the Constitutional amendment Ms. Zepernick refers to.
Traveling from Venezuela's Communal Councils to Brazil's Participatory Budgeting, from Constitutional Assemblies to grassroots movements, recuperated factories to cooperatives across the hemisphere, Beyond Elections takes us on a journey across the Americas, to attempt to answer one of the most important questions of our time: What is Democracy? The two excerpts below give an introduction and discuss Brazil's participatory budgeting process.
Beyond Elections Part I: Introduction
The Beyond Elections documentary here...
U.S. Participatory Budgeting Network here...
One day last November, I spent the morning at Garry Wills's elegant brick home along the main street of Evanston, Illinois, pondering the Promethean scale of presidential power in the atomic age. Wills's startling new book, Bomb Power (Penguin Press, $28), argues that the prototype of the modern president is not Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan. It's General Leslie Groves—the administrator of the Manhattan Project, which Wills says was the inadvertent template for today's secret government and imperial presidency. And his reasoning will scare the hell out of you.