Convention Aims to Reclaim Democracy

A coalition of progressive groups will hold a national convention later this month in Madison, Wis., the site of a hard-fought political battle to protect collective bargaining rights for public-sector labor unions.

Democracy Convention 2011 is scheduled for Aug. 24-28, and is envisioned as the inaugural session of what will become an annual event. It will feature several conferences on topics like community organizing, curtailing corporate influence in politics, economic democracy, independent media and constitutional reform.—-

The convention's motto is “Democracy is coming … to the U.S.A.” Nearly 1,000 community, labor and student activists are expected to attend.

Organizers of the convention say the timing for launching a democracy movement in the United States has never been more urgent.

"Because of the events of the past three years, the desire for real democracy is at an all time high," said Ben Manski, executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation and chair of convention, in a prepared statement. "Even so, we began laying the foundations for this new movement over a decade ago."

The Democracy Convention is a project of the Liberty Tree Foundation, a nonprofit group that collaborates with organizations and individuals to build strategic pro-democracy campaigns that “directly challenge illegitimate power, dismantle oppression, and develop the skills necessary to lay the foundation for a democratic revolution.”

Based in Madison, Liberty Tree sponsored the "Wisconsin Wave" of anti-austerity protests there.

Groups co-organizing the convention are the Alliance for Democracy, The Progressive magazine and Move to Amend.

More than 50 organizations, labor unions and businesses are sponsors or endorsers of the Democracy Convention, including the Center for Media and Democracy and the Coffee Party.