GOP's 2013 agenda for WI: mining, school voucher, tax cuts, sandhill crane hunt

November 8, 2012
Todd Richmond


Meet the new Legislature, same as the old Legislature.

Republicans rolled back into control of the state Capitol in Tuesday's elections, reclaiming the majority in the Senate and defending their advantage in the Assembly. With Republican Scott Walker in the governor's office, the GOP can push through just about any proposal it chooses when the next legislative session begins in January.

VIDEO & AUDIO: Extensive coverage of Democracy Convention by WisconsinEye

September 16, 2011

WisconsinEye is the C-Span of Wisconsin's civil society. The folks at WisconsinEye video recorded 18 different sessions at the 2011 Democracy Convention. They may be watched or listened to for free on their website, or purchased for download, here:



VIDEO: The Uptake & WORT provide video from the Democracy Convention

September 16, 2011
Cristalyne Bell, Patrick Waring, Norm Stockwell, Sarah Manski & more

For video coverage of the 2011 Democracy Convention, recorded by volunteers and convention staff, and posted at The Uptake, click here: 


More Info: 

These videos range in quality, but most are easy to follow. Additional videos are posted, and will continue to be added as they become available, at http://democracyconvention.org/press

PRWATCH: Local Ordinances and Land Grabs: Democracy Convention Panels Discuss Food Sovereignty

September 14, 2011
Rebekah Wilce

Attendees of the Democracy Convention in Madison in late August were treated to panels on a host of different issues, from democratic media to racial inequality. The Center for Media and Democracy was one of the sponsors of the convention, and our own Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischeraddressed democracy activists.

KC ACTIVE: On hand at the Democracy Convention in Madison

September 9, 2011
Mary Lindsay

For some, there wasn’t a better venue for America’s first Democracy Convention than the in-your-face capitol of local democracy, Madison, Wisconsin — a state with a long history of progressive sensibilities. Earlier this years thousands of protesters converged upon the capitol in response to Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislative majority’s decision to end collective bargaining for public employees — a fight that is not over and one leading to a test of Walker’s reelection capability.

Democracy Convention draws 1,000 to Madison, plans next steps

September 1, 2011
Judith Davidoff
Clad in a tiara, long dress and sash reading "Do You Miss Democracy?" Mary Zepernick approached a table at the Memorial Union Terrace Saturday night with a question clearly on her mind. "Do you miss democracy?" she asked the group. "I do."
It was a bit of street theater, Zepernick, 71, explained the next day in a phone interview. "It's a way to catch the attention of people, to just shake up their minds a little."

TCT: Cheri Honkala rallies audience at Democracy Convention

August 26, 2011
Pat Schneider


Say what you want about Take Back the Land-Madison, whose members have occupied a handful of foreclosed properties to protest public policies that put families out on the street. Their tactics are audacious, if nothing else. It's a brand of activism with the power to rally the allies and antagonize opponents.

WSJ: Madison convention focuses on strengthening democracy

August 24, 2011
Deborah Ziff

There may be no other convention where you can learn about the history of civil disobedience, go to a class called Organizing 101, and discuss how to make a general strike succeed.

The first ever Democracy Convention will be held in Madison Wednesday through Sunday.

"It's the first national gathering in my lifetime that has focused on the underlying question of who rules," said Ben Manski, former co-chair of the Green Party of the U.S. and an event organizer. "[It] is not just interested in criticizing the lack of democracy in the United States but is devoted toward strengthening the movement to achieve the American promise of democracy."

MJS: Democracy Convention under way in Madison

August 24, 2011
Bill Glauber

The first Democracy Convention got under way Wednesday, and the five-day gathering is expected to draw up to 1,000 political and social activists from across the country.

The convention brought together at least two generations of left-wing activists ready to hash out such issues as voting rights, access to education and U.S. constitutional reform.

Tom Hayden, a key figure in anti-war demonstrations during the Vietnam era, was among the scheduled keynote speakers. The convention was organized by Ben Manski, a 37-year-old Madison attorney and former co-chairman of the national Green Party.

ISTHMUS: Democracy Convention kicks off, boosted by Wisconsin Capitol protests

August 23, 2011
Judith Davidoff

The timing could not be better, but organizers say plans for this week's Democracy Convention in Madison were set before Gov. Scott Walker's introduction of his collective bargaining bill and the ensuing protests that led some to compare the uprising in Wisconsin to democratic rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia.

Thom Hartmann & Ben Manski: Fighting Back Against Citizens United

August 10, 2011

Radio talk show host Thom Hartmann meets Ben Manski, Chair-Democracy Convention / Executive Director of Liberty Tree / Spokesperson for Move to Amend. They show us how to fight back against plutocrats who want to buy elected officials.

FOR YOUR EARS ONLY: "Democracy, U.S.A."

August 7, 2011
David Alpern & Kathryn Herzog

Ben Manski discusses the 2011 Democracy Convention with "For Your Ears Only." To download this radio interview, see: http://gatewave.org/sites/gatewave.org/files/fyeo/fyeo_110807_complete.mp3 . . . Or listen online at http://gatewave.org/fyeo/lineup/110807

Segment comes on at 19:30 . . .


Ben Manski, Executive Director, Liberty Tree Foundation, Democracy Convention chairman

Show Date: 

RELEASE: As faith in system crumbles, organizers to announce launch of new U.S. Democracy Movement

August 1, 2011
Liberty Tree


As faith in U.S. political system hits historic lows, organizers announce that

(MADISON, WI) ~ The eyes of the nation will return to Madison, Wisconsin, August 24-28, as nearly 1,000 community, labor, and student organizers gather at the first Democracy Convention to launch a movement to bring democracy to the United States.

Cheri Honkala to keynote Democracy Convention

August 1, 2011
Liberty Tree
Cheri Honkala photo

With the Democracy Convention beginning in 23 days, we are please to announce our second keynote speaker: Cheri Honkala. She joins Tom Hayden and Michelle Shocked in headlining five days of celebration, strategy, and community-building. 

PR WATCH: Wisconsin Positive Buisness Alliance organizes protest to save Wisconsin beer

June 4, 2011
Jessica Opoien
WBPA Beer Protest

Check out the WPBA's action sheet for more info about how to get involved!

“This is the Wisconsin revolution, and it’s powered by beer!”

John Nichols, associate editor of the Capital Times and Washington correspondent for The Nation, gave a rousing introduction to Friday’s “Save Our Craft Beers” rally, held on the State Street side of the Capitol at 5 p.m.


Walker budget breaks Wisconsin

May 29, 2011
news photo

The biennial budget proposed by Walker affects us all.

Here's the many ways it breaks small business owners and the people of our state:

1) Ending the Impartial Justice Act which would have leveled the playing field for Supreme Court races. 

2) Killing the Wisconsin Election Campaign Fund.

3) Completely eliminating state funding for new bike paths around the state.

4) Robbing the state’s recycling fund, and instead giving the money to big business through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

5) Reopening the Las Vegas loophole allowing corporations to shirk their civic duty to pay taxes. 

Memorial Day weekend brat-loving Wisconsinites will be attending the first ever People’s Bratfest

May 28, 2011
news photo

The WPBA supports business working to create positive change for the state of Wisconsin.

Stop Miller/Coors from tapping out local breweries

May 27, 2011
news photo

Check out the WPBA's action sheet for more info about how to get involved!

Taking away Wisconsin's small and medium sized breweries is like removing small farmers from this great state.

May 14th Rally - The Fight is Not Over

May 14, 2011
news photo

We've stopped Governor Walker's plan to take away public employee's rights for three months - but he is not done. Walker and the WMC have an even larger plan to expand their attacks to seniors, college students, public schools, local services, and the environment. 

Walker's new business claim inaccurate on both ends, numbers are 'basically flat'

May 9, 2011
Bill Lueders
unemployment chart


Last week the office of Gov. Scott Walker put out a press release (PDF) crowing about "the surge in new businesses" since he took office. It said new business formations totaled 9,553 in the first three months of this year, compared to 7,603 for the first quarter of 2010, a 25% jump.

"The first quarter new business filings are welcome news," said Walker, "and as these new businesses take root and grow, they will add jobs to our economy."

Feds turn Walker down on passenger rail funding request

May 9, 2011
Mike Ivey
Hiawatha Train Logo


Wisconsin has been shut out on the latest round of federal passenger rail funding. As a result, Gov. Scott Walker will not get $150 million to upgrade the Milwaukee to Chicago Amtrak line.

U.S. transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Monday announced some $2 bilion in high-speed rail funding that had been earlier rejected by Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The largest recipients include the Northeast at $795 million, the Midwest ($672 million) and California ($300 million). Among the projects getting funding are upgrades to provide 110 mph service from Chicago to Detroit.

BREAKING: Legislative committee recommends cuts to WI Arts Board

May 6, 2011
Patti Wenzel
news photo

The Joint Finance Committee voted today to end the independent agency status of the Wisconsin Arts Board, moving the oversight of arts to the Tourism Board. The proposal will now go before the State Assembly and Senate for final approval as part of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011-13 biennial budget. The vote was along party lines with 14 Republicans voting in favor and four Democrats voting against.

The committee did restore some of the cuts Walker proposed, returning over $350,000 to the agency over the next two years. The Board was facing a drop from $3 million to $750,000; now it will have just over $1 million in the next budget period.

The JFC also reversed Walker by allowing the Arts Board the autonomy to select its own executive director in the future.

Another Company Passes Over WI for IL

May 6, 2011
news photo

Recently, Scott Walker got the news that a company he had hoped would locate in Wisconsin, Pastificio Rana, had instead decided to build a new plant in Illinois instead.

Pastifico Rana is a family-owned business from Italy and expects to hire 70 workers initially: “Our pasta company is thrilled to be launching our U.S. operations in Illinois starting later this year,” said Gian Luca Rana CEO of Pastificio Rana. “We feel Illinois and the Chicago region provide us a great location to recruit employees, and to market our products and deliver them to our customers across the United States.”

Whitewater business incubator opens to public

May 6, 2011
Kevin Hoffman
news photo

WHITEWATER — Wisconsin business and education leaders helped christen Whitewater’s Innovation Center on Thursday, praising the city’s latest project as a well-crafted model for the state’s economic growth.

Nearly 100 people attended the grand opening for the “business incubator”—a 38,000-square-foot building at Whitewater University Technology Park expected to serve as a development center for entrepreneurs.

“I look forward to being down here a little more often,” said Secretary of Commerce Paul Jadin, “and seeing that this kind of vision is carried out the way I think we were able to fulfill our vision of an incubator in Green Bay.”

Eliminating Sick Leave Not Good for WI Businesses

May 6, 2011
Sarah Manski
sick leave by wage

Wisconsin Gov. Walker has just signed a bill prohibiting local governments from passing ordinances guaranteeing workers' paid sick and family leave.

Eventhough Milwaukee voters overwhelmingly approved a city ordinance by referendum two years ago, Walker and the WMC came up with a bill stating statewide employee leave provisions trump local ordinances - prohibiting cities, villages, towns and counties from adopting their own.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett opposed the bill, saying it will drive jobs out of the city.

Mining bill could cut environmental review to 300 days

May 5, 2011
news photo

A bill that would dramatically speed up Wisconsin’s mining permitting process and threaten Wisconsin's wild resources is being considered by two Republican legislators. The bill would speed up environmental impact reviews from two years to 300 days.

Senator Rich Zipperer of Pewaukee wants to reduce the timeline for ferrous, non-sulfide mining like an open pit iron ore mine proposed in far northern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite will drill exploratory holes this summer in a four mile stretch in Ashland and Iron Counties.

WPBA Opposes Badger Partnership

May 4, 2011

The WPBA opposes the proposed Badger Partnership. Gov. Walker and WMC are encouraging UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin to move towards privatizing UW-Madison. 

Now, in an unfortunate move, The Wisconsin Business Council (WBC) has endorsed the Badger Partnership.

This will mean that Walker will appoint the majority of the university board. We believe the board of UW-Madison should not be partisan or used to reward large political donors - for either major political party.

Speakers at Democracy Convention

We are excited to provide the following list of confirmed speakers, session leaders, and artists at the 2011 Democracy Convention. This listing will be expanded and otherwise updated in advance of the convention: