“Today is the day that could become tomorrow.” ~ Victor Jara
We need a democracy movement for the U.S.A., we’ve long needed it, and that need is as immediate today as it’s ever been. But there is good news. Your presence here in Madison gives proof that the U.S. democracy movement has arrived. Thank you for your labors and leadership in participating and making this gathering a reality!
At Liberty Tree, we have been laying the foundations for a national Democracy Convention since our origins in 2004. But a gathering such as this —and the movement it represents— requires the participation of many more people and resources than any single organization, large or small, may muster. We thank especially our partners in the Move to Amend coalition, Alliance for Democracy, and Progressive Magazine, and the many organizations, unions, businesses, and individuals that stepped forward to sponsor and support the convention.
This has been a very difficult year for Wisconsinites. Downtown Madison looks utopian, but throughout the city and the state, thousands of people have lost income, aid, their job, their home, and more, because of the imposed austerity policies of the current government. The 2011 Democracy Convention was organized in the midst of mobilizing for the largest protests in Wisconsin’s history. Our crisis gives urgency to this gathering, but it also has been traumatic for many, and is a reminder that our common purpose here is to celebrate each other’s work and to find inspiration for our efforts in the coming months.
You will find much of what you need to know about the Democracy Convention in the pages of this program. The overall agenda is on page 3. The full program begins on page 4. Biographies of our artists and presenters are to be found beginning at page 24. A list of local food options and services is on pages 49-50. But please also look to the website at DemocracyConvention.org for the most accurate information, and also to see schedules for each of the nine separate conferences taking place.
Thank you to Dace Zeps, Convention Manager, for her incredible work under pressure. Thank you to Cristalyne Bell for stepping forward to execute the documentation of this gathering. And thank you for bringing the radical promise of American democracy that much closer to reality.