Monday, January 5, 2009

The Likes Of These Men Walk Among Us Today...

By Such men As Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry,  Thomas Paine And The Sons Of Liberty; This Nation Was Fashioned With Words And The Sword; And So It Shall It Be Reclaimed.


The Likes Of These men Walk Among Us Today.

The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!"

- Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) –


“History is power. ‘Sankofa’ is a philosophical, mythological bird passed down from generation to generation from the Akan people of Ghana. The name means [that in order] to move forward, you must reclaim the past. In the past, you find the future and understand the present.”


"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.  The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

-Thomas Jefferson-


The Liberty Tree Organization

The first Liberty Tree stood on the Boston Common, an American Elm with a political history.  The elm was a commons tree in the pre-Norman ‘English borough’ tradition:  A place for the people of the shire to gather on their own terms and for their own purposes.

In the decade of agitation that fed into the American Revolution, Boston radicals rallied beneath the tree’s canopy, speaking against imperial authorities and calling for home rule in the colonies.   

After the speeches, the people marched.  In one case, hundreds of marchers ended their protest at the docks, where they cheered on scores of activists as they dumped East Indies Trading Company tea into the harbor.  In another case, the march ended in a volley fired from imperial rifles, martyring Crispus Attucks and four others as the first casualties of the dawning revolution.

In the first months of the Revolutionary War, imperial troops occupied Boston, and cut the elm to the ground.  Yet the Liberty Tree lived on.  In hundreds of towns, and in every colony, the revolutionaries consecrated new Liberty Trees, and flew their likenesses on their flags. 

Thomas Paine wrote of the Liberty Tree in poetry and prose, and soon the tree was an international symbol.  The French revolutionaries hailed the tree, as did the Irish republicans.  In Haiti, the great Toussaint L’Ouverture prophesied:

By overthrowing me, you have succeeded in cutting down the tree of liberty of the blacks in Santo Domingo, but have failed to destroy the roots that are deep and strong. The tree will grow again.


The original Liberty Tree served as a physical and symbolic gathering place for revolutionary, democratic movements.  It is our intention that this new Liberty Tree serve in the same purpose.  

As an organization, the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution provides material support for the growth of a broad based, deeply rooted, aggressive democracy movement in the United States.  As a publication, Liberty Tree, the Journal of the Democratic Revolution turns its leaves over to news and discussion of democratic movements and possibilities. 

At Liberty Tree, we echo the sentiments of the abolitionists of the 1850s who wrote that:


Revolutions must be prepared for gradually, outrages must be resisted, and outrageous laws must be resisted and refused obedience to, before a revolution can be prepared for, long before it can be matured.  
~ The Racine Advocate, 1851


A song, written early in the American Revolution
by Thomas Paine, 1775

In a chariot of light from the regions of day,
The Goddess of Liberty came;
Ten thousand celestials directed the way,
And hither conducted the dame.

A fair budding branch from the gardens above,
Where millions with millions agree,
She brought in her hand as a pledge of her love,
And the plant she named Liberty Tree.

The celestial exotic struck deep in the ground,
Like a native it flourished and bore;
The fame of its fruit drew the nations around,
To seek out this peaceable shore.

Unmindful of names or distinctions they came,
For freemen like brothers agree;
With one spirit endued, they one friendship pursued,
And their temple was Liberty Tree.

Beneath this fair tree, like the patriarchs of old,
Their bread in contentment they ate
Unvexed with the troubles of silver and gold,
The cares of the grand and the great.

With timber and tar they Old England supplied,
And supported her power on the sea;
Her battles they fought, without getting a groat,
For the honor of Liberty Tree.

But hear, O ye swains, 'tis a tale most profane,
How all the tyrannical powers,
Kings, Commons and Lords, are uniting amain,
To cut down this guardian of ours;

From the east to the west blow the trumpet to arms,
Through the land let the sound of it flee,
Let the far and the near, all unite with a cheer,
In defense of our Liberty Tree.


Our Vision

The Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution envisions and works to create a society in which communities and individuals have the desire, skills and capacity to participate in the collective decisions that affect their lives.


Liberty Tree understands that in order to build such a society, a democratic revolution is necessary: One that focuses on deep structural and institutional change, dismantles oppression in all its forms, and is organized through the transformation of communities, institutions and local governments into conscious agents of democratic change.


Our Mission

Liberty Tree 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. 


Our Values

At Liberty Tree, our work is guided by the following values:

·         Feminist, democratic principles of collective and individual accountability, mutual responsibility, active power sharing, and non-hierarchical organizing.


·         Liberation and anti-oppressive principles that arise from collective deliberative analysis that challenges the root causes of injustice and oppression.


·         Effective movement building grounded in the real needs and experiences of people and communities struggling for democratic power and collective liberation.


·         Nurturing relationships and an organizing culture that is joyful, hopeful and celebratory.


·         The concepts of Sankofa  and the Seventh Generation: Sankofa reaches back into our history and carries it into the present; the commitment to the Seventh Generation means that decisions we make today must be evaluated by their impact on generations to come.


"The American War is over, but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed." ~ Benjamin Rush

Liberty Tree is a new organization with old roots. From our origins in a revolution over two centuries ago, Americans have engaged in a relentless struggle for democracy. The heroic efforts of individual people working together in the abolitionist, women's, labor, civil rights, student, treaty rights, and environmental movements, among others, have taken our country a long way toward achieving its democratic promise. Yet that sterling promise remains far from fulfilled, and worse, it has been severely damaged by the corporate takeover of U.S. elections, education, foreign policy, services, corrections, and law. 

The world changed radically with the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, and American social movements changed with it.  The end of the Cold War created new opportunities for U.S. progressives to build ties with progressives in other countries. At the same time, it also created a new opening for corporate elites to impose their global economic agenda. Liberty Tree is one of the thousands of efforts which emerged in the United States out of the global resistance to corporate rule.  Early discussions about Liberty Tree occurred in 1999, in the buildup to the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle. Over the next five years, those who were to found Liberty Tree coordinated three projects:

Cities for People! was a national coalition of twenty seven community, youth, labor, religious, political, and other civic organizations dedicated to offering an alternative, democratic agenda for the nation's largest cities. Cities for People! organized mass demonstrations protesting corporate involvement in setting the priorities of the June, 2002, annual national meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Cities for People! Also organized a conference on progressive municipal policy as an alternative the official mayors' meeting.

Community Power 2002:  First International Conference on Local Democracy. Held over three days in October 2002, this conference drew participants from 25 U.S. states and six countries. Panelists described the lessons of experiments in local democracy conducted in Montevideo (Uruguay), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Manchester (England), San Francisco, Arcata (CA), rural Pennsylvania, Hartford, and Madison.

No Stolen Elections! In the Summer of 2004, Liberty Tree initiated the No Stolen Elections! campaign and the Nov3.US website, a broad-based mobilization to defend voting rights and protest attempts to manipulate the outcome of the 2004 presidential elections. After election day, the No Stolen Elections! campaign coordinated protests in scores of cities across the United States, and lent support to the Cobb-Badnarik recount in Ohio. The campaign succeeded, among other things, in seeding local voting rights groups across the United States.

The Liberty Tree Fellows formally incorporated the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution as a non-stock corporation in October of 2004. Our most recent work appears in the pages of this website.



 National Launch of the Bring the Guard Home! Campaign  (January 21, 2009)

We are very pleased to invite you to the national launch of "Bring the Guard Home! It's the law." On Wednesday, January 21st, immediately following Inauguration Day, we will gather in Washington D.C. to begin a new era in American defense policy.



 2009 World Social Forum (January 27, 2009 - February 1, 2009)

The ninth World Social Forum is rapidly approaching, and prospective delegates are encouraged to start registering.  The WSF is an annual meeting that gathers together varios scholars, activists, and organizations dedicated in the cause of fighting the injustices of economic globalization and cultural imperialism. 

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