ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY CONFERENCE

Americans have less and less control over their economic lives and almost no say on the direction of the economy. Their jobs are insecure, wages are stagnating, debts are growing, retirement is underfunded and a health care crisis could wipe them out. At the same, the wealthiest are getting wealthier, controlling a greater share of the wealth than any time in U.S. history. Their connections to political leadership ensure that economic elites face little risk in our crony capitalist economy.

While many Americans are in a race to the bottom, the tiny percentage at the top of the economy is racing to the stratosphere of unimaginable wealth.

Around the world in Spain, Greece, Egypt, Tunisia . . . the people are revolting against austerity and oligarchs controlling wealth. In fact, the wealth divide in the U.S., where the top 1% has wealth equal to the bottom 95%, is even greater than in these other nations.

What is the next evolution of the U.S. economy? How can it be reshaped so that people gain greater control of their lives and greater influence over the economy? Democratizing the economy would move the United States away from crony capitalism and create an economy where wealth is more equitably shared. People are already putting in place programs that democratize the economy, giving them greater influence and control over their economic lives.

The Economic Democracy Conference will bring together people who are working on the front lines to:

  • Build sustainable local living economies
  • Democratize the money supply
  • Create publicly owned banks
  • Create worker and consumer owned and operated businesses
  • Develop participatory budgets
  • Fight and prevent foreclosures
  • Fight for health care reform and alternative health delivery systems

It's Our Economy and the Public Banking Institute are the principal conveners of the Economic Democracy Conference.  Contact Margaret Flowers at mdpnhp@gmail.com for more info.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to register now!

Full Conference Agenda Below:

CONVENTION OPENING PLENARY with Gar Alperovitz

KEYNOTE: Gar Alperovitz on “The Next American Revolution”

with Medea Benjamin as the MC and Wisconsin Welcome by Bryan Kennedy

Date: 
August 7, 2013 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Location

Madison Masonic Center
301 Wisconsin Ave
Session type: 
Keynote
Speaker(s): 
Bryan Kennedy
Speaker(s): 
Gar Alperovitz
Speaker(s): 
Medea Benjamin

The Emerging Shape of the Next System

Is there an America beyond capitalism? Something is brewing beneath the social and economic
distress—including thousands of worker-owned companies, co-ops with millions of members,
states taking up public banking, and other new forms of single-payer health care. Throughout
the U.S., we have already seen nationalizations, and likely future crises will produce more—
some in a much more democratized direction. This may be the prehistory of the next American
revolution, one that could democratize the current political-economic system and make it both
morally meaningful and ecologically sustainable.

Date: 
August 8, 2013 - 9:00am - 10:30am
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Gar Alperovitz

Powering up with Renewable Energy and Green Jobs for People and the Planet

It's time to make the break from "dirty, carbon-based fuels” for the sake of public health and the planet. Across the country, public support by Republicans, Democrats and Independents for solar and wind renewable energy is at an all-time high ranging from 60-80% respectively. Lacking strong federal policy, states are the laboratories for new public policy, innovative legal and financing solutions, and green energy production that are proven to produce green jobs. This workshop will highlight Wisconsin’s strategies, campaigns and success to meet mandated goals for CO2 reduction, as well as on-going challenges.

Date: 
August 8, 2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Don Ferber

Re-Imagining NOW: Taking The Next Steps Toward A New Society

It’s clear things are not going well for any but the 1%, but what to do about it is the fundamental
question we now need to face. While the present system is obviously failing us, a movement offering no coherent vision to replace it is no less doomed to failure. Presented by People For A New Society, this workshop will include a short powerpoint presentation and focus on how the changes already underway can create an effective strategy to transform and build a new vision of society based on a sustainable, grassroots democracy: post-capitalism, post-profit and post-wage. Imagination and creative thinking is invited; serious interest in building a new society is welcome.

Date: 
August 8, 2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Session type: 
Panel

B Corporations: Bringing Public Benefit into the Corporate Structure

Corporations are legally responsible to create maximum profit for their investors without regard to impact on people or the planet. That is changing with a new kind of corporate charter, the B Corp or Beneficial Corporation requires that businesses meet higher standards for social and environmental performance and accountability. Nineteen states have passed laws to permit B Corps so far. Learn more about B Corps, and how to make them a reality for your state or business.
 

Date: 
August 8, 2013 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Jim Armstrong

Planet Earth as an ATM: Fighting Commodification of the Commons

Date: 
August 8, 2013 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Location

Madison College
Session type: 
Panel
Speaker(s): 
Chris Williams
Speaker(s): 
Julie Byrnes Enslow
Speaker(s): 
Rachel Smolker

PLENARY: In the Crosshairs - How Corporations are Transforming Education and Work in America

This panel discussion will examine the relationship between the changing conditions of the economy and our public education system, at all levels. Our panelists will discuss how the corporate assault attempts to dismantle the educational system, and to remake it under corporate designs in order to conform to conditions of austerity via: turn around schools, school closures, voucherization and charterization of neighborhood schools, cuts to electives and remedial programs, vocationalization of adult education, and corporatization of research universities driving the transformation of education which leads to the disenfranchisement of faculty and staff, and students, especially first generation college students of color.

Date: 
August 8, 2013 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Location

Madison College D306
Session type: 
Panel
Speaker(s): 
Ben Manski
Speaker(s): 
Kimberly King
Speaker(s): 
Todd Price
Speaker(s): 
William "Bill" Watkins

Why Are We in Debt? What Are Our True Debts to One Another?

This workshop will discuss that the costs of our basic needs like healthcare, housing, and education are all rising rapidly, yet our means to meet these needs have flatlined. Although worker productivity has risen steadily since WWII, wages have remained the same since the late 1970s. This forces us in debt. Debt is a tool of oppression, and part of its power to oppress is that it isolates and atomizes us. I want to pose the question of what are true debts are to one another. We are defaulting on our true debts because we are forced to pay illegitimate debts to the 1%.

Date: 
August 8, 2013 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Thomas Gokey

CONVENTION ROUNDTABLE PLENARY

One delegate from each of the nine Democracy Convention conferences join in an animated discussion of the years ahead in the U.S. democracy movement.

Inn on the Park, 22 S. Carroll, Wisconsin Hall

Date: 
August 8, 2013 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Session type: 
Panel
Speaker(s): 
Ben Manski
Speaker(s): 
George Friday
Speaker(s): 
Jill Stein
Speaker(s): 
Leah Bolger
Speaker(s): 
Leland Pan
Speaker(s): 
Margaret Flowers
Speaker(s): 
Norm Stockwell
Speaker(s): 
Richard Monje
Speaker(s): 
Roshan Bliss
Speaker(s): 
Victoria Collier

Models for Permanently Affordable Housing: Community Land Trusts and Co-ops

As the housing market has revealed itself to be subject to the arbitrary winds of Wall Street and fraud in the banking industry, people are creating alternative ways to provide permanently affordable housing. Greg Rosenberg, Executive Director of the National Community Land Trust Network, will describe how land trusts across the country are promoting sustainable development through permanently affordable housing and the protection of working lands. Michael Carlson of the Madison Community Cooperatives, a federation of housing cooperatives that formed in 1968, will describe how co-ops create affordable housing for people with low-incomes and gives them greater control over their living environment.

Date: 
August 9, 2013 - 9:00am - 10:30am
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Greg Rosenberg
Speaker(s): 
Michael Carlson

Ending Foreclosure and Creating a Sustainable Local Economy

Date: 
August 9, 2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Nancie Koerber

Shutting the Chamber: The National Fight Against The U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest lobby group in the U.S. and spends hundreds of
millions of dollars each year to advance a platform centered on cutting public services, dismantling
workers rights, and denying climate science. Learn how you can get involved in Liberty Tree’s Shut the Chamber Campaign by taking part in days of action where you live and by encouraging your neighborhood small businesses and local chambers of commerce to divest from the U.S. Chamber (and its state affiliates) and instead join a business alliance that supports strong communities.

Date: 
August 9, 2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Session type: 
Panel
Speaker(s): 
Carl Gibson
Speaker(s): 
David Schwab
Speaker(s): 
Laura Brickman
Speaker(s): 
Omkar Sawardekar

Investing Locally: Moving Your Money From Wall Street to Main Street

Date: 
August 9, 2013 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Rebecca Ryan

Public Banking: Making It Happen

Are you tired of reading articles about how Wall Street is bankrupting us?  Do you despair about financing the transition to a green economy? Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and start changing the system but you don’t know where to begin?  Public banks are a way for us to take back control and to finance the transition to a green, sustainable economy.  You can organize to create a city, county or state public bank.  This interactive workshop will give you a chance to ask questions and will suggest tools and resources to use in organizing.  Let’s begin!

Date: 
August 9, 2013 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Marc Armstrong
Speaker(s): 
Ruth Caplan

How to Stop the World's Largest 'Trade Agreement'

The Trans-Pacific Partnership will fundamentally change the global economy in a way that further entrenches global corporate power and gives multinational corporations the power to challenge national environmental, labor and consumer protection laws in a rigged court system. The TPP will affect every aspect of our lives from wages to the environment to access to medicine and internet freedom. Rather than a trade treaty, the TPP is a corporate property protection act. A global campaign is underway to stop the TPP. Learn more about what it is and how you can join the campaign to “Flush the TPP.”

Date: 
August 9, 2013 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
David Newby
Speaker(s): 
Josh Wise
Speaker(s): 
Kevin Zeese
Speaker(s): 
Margaret Flowers

PLENARY: The End of Big Finance, Creating the New Economy

This plenary will examine the big picture of our financial system and why it results in a growing wealth divide, a race to the bottom in the wellbeing of most people and destruction of communities and the environment. A new system is growing within the current one that is based on values of shared prosperity, real democracy, cooperation and sustainability. Around the world, these new systems are designed to put the interests of people and the planet before profits. We will describe what is happening and what is ahead.

LOCATION: Wisconsin Hall, Inn on the Park (22 S Carroll St)

Date: 
August 9, 2013 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Session type: 
Panel
Speaker(s): 
Ellen Brown
Speaker(s): 
Jacqui Dunne
Speaker(s): 
Justin Wedes
Speaker(s): 
Kevin Zeese
Speaker(s): 
Rebecca Ryan

Evening Social at Osaka House

Evening Social at Osaka House (505 State St) hosted by the Economic Democracy and Representative Democracy Conferences

Date: 
August 9, 2013 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Session type: 
General

Enacting an Ecologically Sound Economy: Beyond Dirty Fuels and False Solutions

Date: 
August 10, 2013 - 9:00am - 10:30am
Session type: 
Panel
Speaker(s): 
Chris Williams
Speaker(s): 
Mike Ewall
Speaker(s): 
Rachel Smolker

Rethinking Money: The Quiet Evolution to a Diverse, Resilient and Sustainable Monetary System

For the first time in human history, it is possible to democratize the money creation process. We will see that it’s not the structure of the economy or the hue of the political solution, per se, that are the real problems but money and the monetary system itself, and not in the way one might first suspect. Since money is a human invention, it can be changed. Not only is there another way but a multiplicity of ways to rethink money. A quiet evolution already is underway, in which people and their communities are helping themselves and each other through a new understanding of money.

Date: 
August 10, 2013 - 9:00am - 10:30am
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Jacqui Dunne

Saving the People's Post Office

A presentation on the campaign to prevent the dismantling of the Postal Service and to reinvent it for 21st century to promote democracy, financial inclusion and sustainable development.

Date: 
August 10, 2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Jim Sauber

The Boulder Energy Future Municipalization Project

Date: 
August 10, 2013 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Alison Burchell

Nuts and Bolts of Co-operative Businesses: How to Empower Workers and Keep Wealth in the Community

The number of cooperative businesses is growing in the US as workers discover the benefits and challenges of running their businesses in a democratic way. John Conowall will discuss how and why cooperatives work, how to get started creating a cooperative business and will share his experiences of building Madison Worker Cooperatives and the Dane Cooperative Alliance. He will talk about what some of the keys are to success and how to avoid common pitfalls, as well as ways that co-operatives can work together to create a thriving local economy.

Date: 
August 10, 2013 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
John Conowall

Local Food Democracy Reception

Sample and purchase local produce from South Central Wisconsin

Madison College Downtown Patio ~ Organized by Family Farm Defenders

Date: 
August 10, 2013 - 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Session type: 
General

Evening Social at The Rigby

Evening Social at The Rigby (119 E Main St) hosted by the Earth Democracy Conference. Head-Roc and Ryan Harvey will be performing.

Date: 
August 10, 2013 - 7:00pm - 11:00pm
Session type: 
General
Speaker(s): 
Head - Roc
Speaker(s): 
Ryan Harvey

Public Banking Around the World, Building Economic Democracy

This workshop is designed to review movements to create public banks in communities and states across the US and explore paradigms of social banking and economic democracy from abroad for these efforts. Participants are encouraged to explore materials in the Public Bank Course wikispace http://publicbankcourse.wikispaces.com/home. Case studies from abroad will emphasize 1) the competitive advantages of public banks over private banks 2) the policy capacities of public banks, especially in terms of providing counter-cyclical credit and as agents of social inclusion and 3) how savings banks in advanced and developing countries have sustained and accelerated social inclusion.

Date: 
August 11, 2013 - 9:00am - 10:30am
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Kurt von Mettenheim

Essential Information for Starting a Public Bank

There are three alternative ways that people are taking to form a public bank -- forming a coalition (grassroots), forcing the issue (surgical strike), and running candidates (throw the bums out!). A review of each of these alternatives will be provided, along with the pros/cons and identification of what makes the best sense in your community.

Date: 
August 11, 2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Session type: 
Workshop
Speaker(s): 
Marc Armstrong

Shutting the Chamber in Wisconsin - The Fight Against WMC

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) is the largest lobby group in the Wisconsin and
spends millions of dollars each year to advance a platform centered on cutting public services,
dismantling workers rights, and weakening environmental protections. Learn how you can get
involved in Wisconsin’s Shut the Chamber! Campaign by taking part in days of action where you
live and by encouraging small businesses and local chambers of commerce to divest from WMC
(and the U.S. Chamber) and instead join a business alliance that supports strong communities.
While this workshop will focus on Wisconsin, the campaign is a national effort; all are welcome!

Date: 
August 11, 2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Session type: 
Panel
Speaker(s): 
Carl Gibson
Speaker(s): 
David Schwab
Speaker(s): 
Laura Brickman
Speaker(s): 
Omkar Sawardekar

CONVENTION CLOSING PLENARY: Call to Action

The keynote address will be followed by a facilitated discussion to give each conference a chance
to share the big ideas that came out of their event as well as the next steps everyone can take to further the democracy movement in the months and years ahead.

Date: 
August 11, 2013 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Session type: 
Keynote
Speaker(s): 
Debra White Plume

It's Our Economy

It’s Our Economy seeks to educate, organize and mobilize Americans to shift the power from concentrated capital to the people. We work to create an economy that is democratized, where people have greater control over their economic lives and greater influence over the direction of the economy. A critical ingredient for creating a real democracy where the people’s voices are heard requires creating a democratized economy in which people have more influence, crony capitalism that created the wealth divide is ended and the necessities of Americans are met.  We seek to empower Americans to organize an uncompromising independent movement that takes power from the economic elites and redistributes it to the people.

Liberty Tree Foundation

The Democracy Convention is a project of Liberty Tree. Liberty Tree is uniquely committed to building a new democracy movement for the U.S.A.. We provide vital support to grassroots campaigns for democratic reform in many areas of American life, and bring those campaigns together to form a united movement for democracy.

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ABOUT THE CONVENTION

If you want to strengthen democracy where it matters most -- in our communities, our schools, our workplaces and local economies, our military, our government, our media, our constitution -- you will find something inspiring in Madison this August. Learn More →

ABOUT LIBERTY TREE

The Democracy Convention is a project of Liberty Tree, a strategy center uniquely committed to building a new democracy movement for the U.S.A.. Liberty Tree supports and unites campaigns for democratic reform across many areas of life. Liberty Tree logo

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