Democracy Conference in Democracy-Deficient Wisconsin
The EON team recently traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to participate in and document the Election Integrity/Representative Democracy conference of the nine-stream ‘Democracy II’ Convention organized by the Liberty Tree Foundation in coalition with a long list of progressive groups (see below).
There were nine different conferences within the convention: Media, Economic, Local, Defense, Constitutional Reform, Education for Democracy, Earth, Race and Representative Democracy.
There we were, citizens from across the country converging to passionately discuss threats to various aspects of democracy and how to respond, while just around the corner in the Wisconsin Capitol Building Gov. Scott Walker’s police were brutally arresting elderly Veterans for Peace and their supporters for daring to sing in the Peoples’ House despite Walker’s orders to the contrary. [see here and here and here.] This brutality continues the Wisconsin oppression that ensued with Walker’s election and questionable recall vote. [see this]
Walker is largely carrying out the ALEC agenda. Wisconsin, together with 26 other states such as North Carolina, is being controlled by legislatures dominated by extreme right wingers. Though the extreme right wing is a minority and would never win in honest elections, they are taking over many states through a variety of complex manipulations and distortions of our electoral systems. That’s exactly why many of us have focused on Election Integrity issues and came together at this convention to assess what is needed and possible now.
EON co-director Jim Heddle was on the Univ. of Wisconsin faculty in Madison for seven years back in the late’60s/early’70s when it was known as ‘the Berkeley of the Mid-West.’ [Remember the ‘Dow Demonstrations‘ and the bombing of Stirling Hall? and here.] It was a sleepy college/state capitol town then, with a radically progressive aura in politics and the arts. [Remember Paul Soglin and Ben Sidran?] Quite a change to the over-built bastion of chic consumerism and corporate fascism it appears to now be becoming.
Legendary Wisconsin progressive Sen. Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette must be turning in his grave at current developments in Wisconsin. But ‘Fighting Bob’ would be proud that the grassroots pushback is strong and persistent.
Some of that is shown below in a series of our video reports (more to come if we receive funding).
For more on this topic visit our Election Protection playlist.
Fighting Democracy’s Hidden Threats – Election Integrity Panel – Pt. 1
From ‘Democracy Convention II,’ held in Madison Wisconsin Aug. 7-11, 2013, this is Part 1 of a panel in Election Protection section of the Convention, organized by Victoria Collier and Ben Ptashnik.
Speakers: Ben Ptashnik, Victoria Collier, Jonathan Simon, Mimi Kennedy.
From the program: The Election Integrity (EI) movement is working non-stop behind the scenes against loss of citizen control over U.S. election and therefore self-government. The right to vote and to oversee the ballot chain of custody, the ability to watch the vote-count, has disappeared inside the electronic processes of a privatized electronic election system whose accountability to election officials, law enforcement, or citizens is negligible. What is the state of EI today? How threatened are American election by insider/outsider fraud and hacking? Why did Karl Rove insist there’d be a GOP victory in the 11th hour of vote counting in Ohio in 2010? What does the plan for nationwide Internet Voting mean for America? Leading EI activists discuss their recent work, immanent threats to democracy, and building the movement to demand transparency and citizen oversight of elections.
For more information:
Fighting Democracy’s Hidden Threats – Election Protection Panel – Pt. 2
From ‘Democracy Convention II,’ held in Madison Wisconsin Aug. 7-11, 2013, this is Part 2 of a panel in the Election Protection section of the Convention, organized by Victoria Collier and Ben Ptashnik.
Speaker: Bob Fitrakis
The FIGHT of OUR LIVES – Representative Democracy Plenary
From ‘Democracy Convention II,’ held in Madison Wisconsin Aug. 7-11, 2013, this is the closing plenary of the Election Protection section of the Convention, organized by Victoria Collier and Ben Ptashnik of the National Election Protection Coalition.
Speakers: Ben Ptashnik, Mike McCabe, Cindy Sheehan, Jonathan Simon, Bob Fitrakis, Jill Stein, Richard Monje and Greg Palast.
From the program: We face an unprecedented crisis in American democracy; attacks against community self-government, undermining of government accountability, the reign of Big Money over representative politics, total lack of transparency in how we process our own votes, and a choke-hold on the electoral system by two major parties increasingly under the control of nefarious corporate interests. How did we get here, and how do we get out? Leading democracy activists discuss the need for a citizen-driven Democracy Movement to bring our society back from the brink.
For more info:
No Secret Trade Deals for the 1%! – No TPP!
Excerpts from the ‘Rally to Derail Fast Track and Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),’ held on the steps of the Capitol in Madison, WI, Saturday, August 10, 2013 as part of the ‘Democracy Convention II’ organized by the Liberty Tree Foundation and a coalition of progressive organizations.
Speakers expose the anti-democratic details of a trans-national trade agreement being secretly negotiated behind doors so closed that even U.S. Congress Members are blocked from oversight – in effect, an international ‘corporate bill of rights’ about to be railroaded through Congress on a ‘fast track’ allowing no changes to the secret draft legislation.
For more information:
Post-Constitutional America – Bob Fitrakis
From ‘Democracy Convention II,’ held in Madison Wisconsin Aug. 7-11, 2013, this is Bob Fitrakis’ address at the closing plenary of the Election Protection section of the Convention, organized by Victoria Collier and Ben Ptashnik.
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