They wanted a conservative on the panel with all the leftists and libertarians so I’m happy to oblige.
CHICAGO, Ill., April 20, 2010 – Next week, a distinguished group of panelists from across the American political spectrum will gather to discuss electoral reform, the peace movement, and the growing dissatisfaction with both Republicans and Democrats. Panelists include Theresa Amato, Angela Keaton, Ben Manski, Sean Scallon, Cindy Sheehan, and Christina Tobin. The event will be moderated by Steve Burns, Program Director of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. The event will be held on Monday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m in the Memorial Union at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
America’s two-party system dominates elections to the point where they act as one party. Both major parties support the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while opposition to war and foreign intervention unite people across the political spectrum. The panel will examine how those opposed to war and military intervention can hear from and vote for candidates who share their views in the face of America’s restrictive ballot access laws.
Beginning with a fictional “Mimosa Party” to unite antiwar voters, the panelists will address the dangers of the Top Two Primary initiative on the ballot in California on June 8, 2010 and other ballot access restrictions imposed by the states. Without choices on the ballot in the general election, anti-war candidates will continue to be at a severe disadvantage when challenging pro-war incumbents.
As part of this event, the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative will hold a book signing for Theresa Amato and Cindy Sheehan at 2:00 p.m earlier in the day on Monday.
About the Panelists
Cindy Sheehan is an American anti-war activist whose son, Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed on April 4, 2004 while serving in the Iraq War. In August 2005, she attracted national and international media attention for her extended anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch, a stand which drew both passionate support and angry criticism. She is a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, saying: “I don’t think much has changed since the Bush administration.”
Christina Tobin has devoted her life to protecting the rights of all people to vote and run for office. As Ralph Nader’s national ballot access coordinator in 2008, she has a deep knowledge of not only election laws, but also alternative approaches nationwide. She has helped gather over 500,000 signatures to ensure voters had a choice when they went to cast their vote. She has secured ballot lines for numerous independent candidates and alternative political parties including the Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Republican and Socialist Equality parties. Tobin is founder and chair of The Free and Equal Elections Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public policy and advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the politically marginalized and disenfranchised, particularly third party and independent voters and candidates. She also serves as the CEO of Free & Equal, Inc., a ballot access consulting and petitioning firm. Tobin is the Libertarian candidate for California secretary of state.
Theresa Amato served as national campaign manager and in-house counsel for Ralph Nader in his 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. She is the author of Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny. In her new book, she provides a witty, thoughtful critique of the American electoral system. A graduate of Harvard University and NYU School of Law, she is the founder of the Citizen Advocacy Center. Amato lives in Oak Park, Illinois and is a mother and practicing lawyer.
Angela Keaton is the development director for Antiwar.com the Web’s leading source of antiwar news, views, and activities and the producer of the Scott Horton Show for Antiwar Radio. She also serves the national secretary of Outright Libertarians (GBTLQ caucus) and the chairwoman of the board of directors for the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA.) From 1999 to 2005, Keaton hosted “The Liberated Space,” the libertarian talk and news show on the controversial KOOP 91.7 FM, Austin. She holds a J.D. and M.A. from the University of Florida.
Ben Manski is an attorney and pro-democracy advocate. He serves as executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, a think-tank and organizing center he founded in 2004. Manski is also a principal attorney at Manski Law & Communications, LLC and an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies. Politically engaged since his early childhood in Israel and Wisconsin, Manski has worked for a variety of causes, notably serving as co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, national director of the Campus Greens USA, and as midwest director for the Nader 2000 campaign. In 2001-2002, he was active on the steering committee that formed the major U.S. peace organization, United for Peace and Justice.
Sean Scallon is an author, journalist, blogger, and elected official in Pepin, Wisconsin. He is the author of Beating the Powers that Be: Independent Political Movements and Parties of the Upper Midwest and Their Relevance for Third Parties of Today. His work has appeared in The American Conservative and Chronicles, and he blogs for The American Conservative and Conservative Heritage Times. Scallon recently published the article “Taking Cindy Sheehan to a Tea Party”.
About the Moderator:
Steve Burns is the Program Director of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, a statewide coalition of more than 160 organizations. WNPJ facilitates activities, cooperation and communication among Wisconsin organizations and individuals working toward the creation of a sustainable world, free from violence and injustice.