Democratic Culture

Democracy is like love in this: It cannot be brought to life by others on command. ~ Sidney Hook The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. ~ Ralph Nader Democracy is not merely legal or structural, it is a matter of art, relationships, and values. Look here for resources on democratic organizing, practice, and ideals.

CANNING AND REINSBORO: Re: Imagining Change: How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements, and Change the World

February 13, 2010
Patrick Reinsborough and Doyle Canning

What is "story-based strategy"? The people at smartMeme explain:

Storytelling has always been central to the work of organizers and movement builders. Narrative is the lens through which humans process the information we encounter, be it cultural, emotional, experiential, or political. We make up stories about ourselves, our histories, our futures, and our hopes.


Additional Information: 

Other SmartMeme resources for story-based organizing:

Re:Imagining Change (60 page full color booklet) (.pdf) A resource guide to smartMeme's story-based strategy approach providing tools, analysis, case studies and inspiration to change your campaign, your community and your world.

Re:Imagining Change (60 page printer-friendly black and white booklet) (.pdf)

Story-based Strategy Campaign Model Chart providing a step-by-step method for applying the story-based strategy approach to planning a campaign and taking creative action.

And more...

WADE: When Will Your Neighbor Join the Movement?

September 2, 2009
Megan Wade

For POCLAD's By What Authority?

"In Americas mass resignation represents a public manifestation of a private loss, a decline in what people think they have a political right to aspire to - in essence, a decline of individual political self-respect on the parts of millions of people."
---Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment

Do you ever wonder why everyone around you isn't screaming in outrage? How do they go on with their lives as though the earth isn't burning, as though wars are not being waged across the globe, as though people's lives aren't harmed by mass injustices every day?

Additional Information: 

Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, Labor's Untold Story. Pittsburgh: United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, 2003 [1955].

Megan Wade works with Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC), PO Box 610, Eureka, CA 95502-0610. Website:

MANSKI: The New U.S. Democracy Movement

October 9, 2008
Ben Manski

Around the world, Americans are often maligned as self-serving, ignorant, and conservative. Yet Americans are generally a progressive people.

Public opinion research tells the story:

  • Most Americans favor creating a federal universal single payer health care system.
  • Most support trade policies based not on property rights, but human rights, environmental protection, and popular sovereignty.
  • Majorities believe that the U.S. should not act as the “world’s police force,” and large majorities support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • Americans, by and large, believe that access to quality education is a basic right, and are willing to raise taxes to pay for it.

Additional Information: 

This article was written for Movement Vision Lab. Click here for the original edition.
~ Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the executive director of Liberty Tree

We are on the offensive: Make the most of it!

December 31, 2006
Ben Manski

Manski responds to Independent Politics News' question, "How can progressives get off of the defensive in 2006?"

What a change from four years ago. We're finally off the defensive. Impeachment talk has moved from beer halls to the halls of Congress. Opposition to the war is widespread. Confidence in the federal government is at historic lows. And the diverse strands of the broad progressive movement have begun to come together toward common, not cross, purposes.

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. He was coordinator of the No Stolen Elections! campaign, and is a former co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

This article originally appeared in the Independent Politics News.

May 1st 2012: No Work, No School, No Banking!

April 30, 2012
The Nation
news photo

Occupy Wall Street hopes to capture headlines once again next week with the May 1 “General Strike”, long advertised by the group as an event that will prove to the public and media that OWS is currently experiencing a resurgence. Whether workers, students or banking customers, OWS is calling on all Americans to stop offering their labor and money to corporations for one day and join their local Occupy chapter for a day of resistance.

The plan initially drew the ire of some labor leaders who quickly declared their members would not participate in the so-called strike.

TRUTHOUT: Occupy vs. 99% Spring Movement?

April 30, 2012
Arun Gupta
news photo

"The 99% Movement" has something for everyone, even the left, but is it Occupy?

By all measures the Occupy movement is a powerful brand. It has thousands of spin-offs such as Occupy Our Homes, Occupy Money, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Gender Equality and Occupy the Food System. It has powerful name recognition, snagging "word of the year" honors in 2011. And now, ardent supporters are manning the ramparts to defend its integrity.

Walker Heads to Florida Fundraiser, Finds More Protesters Than Supporters

February 8, 2012
Kristine Gill


NAPLES — Although he was more than 1,500 miles from home, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker encountered a familiar sight upon arriving in Naples - protestors.

"I'm used to protestors coming from other states to protest me," Walker told 150 attendees during a speech at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort Wednesday afternoon. At least that many people gathered outside to demonstrate against one of the country's most polemical political figures.

Scott Walker and the Secret "John Doe" Investigation Explained

February 7, 2012
Andy Kroll


A dark cloud hangs over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

A "John Doe" investigation launched in May 2010 has embroiled former Walker staffers and appointees from his time as Milwaukee County executive, his job before winning the governorship in November 2010. The investigation, led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, has led to home raids targeting former staffers with close ties to Walker and numerous felony charges for election law violations,embezzlement, and misconduct in office. 

DAILY KOS: Standoff Coming in Wisconsin Against Restrictions to Protest at Capitol

December 7, 2011
Harry Waisbren

Things may be coming to a head in Wisconsin soon, most interestingly, almost exactly when we will be doing a whole lot of analysis on the Wisconsin uprisings’ past and future at Netroots New York.

Jason Stein at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lays out the specifics on what is going on in terms of Walker’s attempt to hold protesters financially liable and compel them to apply for permits for any demonstrations of four or more 72 hours in advance.

AMY GOODMAN: The Brave New World of Occupy Wall Street

November 17, 2011
Amy Goodman

We got word just after 1 a.m. Tuesday that New York City Police were raiding the Occupy Wall Street encampment. I raced down with the “Democracy Now!” news team to Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Square. Hundreds of riot police had already surrounded the area. As they ripped down the tents, city sanitation workers were throwing the protesters’ belongings into dump trucks. Beyond the barricades, back in the heart of the park, 200-300 people locked arms, refusing to cede the space they had occupied for almost two months. They were being handcuffed and arrested, one by one.

Syndicate content