Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Banjo politics

The second floor lounge saw its most rockabilly time yesterday when local banjoist Morgan O'Kane, accompanying a crew of mountain top removal activists visiting from North Carolina, took over with an impromptu short set for extremely appreciative law students.

The activists had just led a lunchtime talk on their legal and direct action efforts to stop the environmental devastating, dangerous and illegal practice of mountain top removal, a preview of the discussion at last night's "Voters Over Donors: Uniting Against Plutocracy" panel to analyze the influence of money in politics especially in the wake of last year's Citizens United SCOTUS ruling.

Mountain top removal activists in action

Eight speakers, including Lanny Smith, founder of Doctors for Global Health, Joan Mandle, executive director of Democracy Matters, Jay Mandle, professor of economics Colgate University, spokesperson for Friends of the Congo, Charles Suggs, of Climate Ground Zero, and Tony Avella, Queens state senator and advocate for clean elections, gave a brief, riling overview of the influence of corporate donations and lobbying in various segments of policy, from health care to international investment and trade.

The New York Democracy Project, the Green Coalition, LALSA, BALSA, MELSA, Law Students for Reproductive Choice, the Labor Coalition, Democracy Matters, IALSA, the American Constitution Society and Voters for Clean Elections all sponsored the event.

Anyone interested in further work toward clean elections and restoring citizen power, contact Matthew Edge at

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