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Many of the top heavyweights in the progressive cause will gather together on Friday & Saturday, September 11th and 12th, for the "Fighting Bob Fest." The event is named, of course, for the late great progressive leader "Fighting Bob" LaFollette.   Speaker/participants include Senators Bernie Sanders and Tom Harkin; Jim Hightower; John Nichols; Tammy Baldwin; Jeremy Scahill; Dr. Gene Farley and, Alfred McCoy.  Here's how the organizers describe the event:

Fighting Bob Fest is an annual Chautauqua featuring progressive speakers, networking opportunities, and entertainment. Fighting Bob Fest carries on the tradition of Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette by providing a forum for progressive ideas on issues...


The Fighting Bob Fest kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin with Jim Hightower introducing Sherry Jones's documentary, "Torturing Democracy".  Saturday activities then take place at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in nearby Baraboo, Wisconsin (easy proximity to Chicago & Milwaukee).  Of special interest is the "Healthcare Debate" session which features Sen. Bernie Sanders, Dr. Gene Farley and Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats for America.  Another session that looks noteworthy is this one:

We Need Journalism to Have Democracy

There is a crisis in news print that is no smaller than the question of whether or not it will exist 10 years from now. Good riddance? This session’s leaders say no, and they will explain why and welcome you to agree or disagree. And regardless of whether or not you think we are better off without daily newspapers and magazines, it benefits all of us to think about what happens if they do go away and how progressive voices and perspectives can best fill the void.

Participants: John Nichols, Robert McChesney

Location: Progress Hall

The following session shows that progressives have fun (and work to improve society and the environment at the same time):

Dancing, Painting, and Eating Our Way to Progressive Change"...First Feed the face and then talk right and wrong" -Curt Weil 3 Penny Opera Even Bob can't fight all the time. Come down from the barricades for some sustenance and discuss creative strategies for working at the intersection of culture and agriculture for the health of the people, the land and our communities. This breakout session will include Wormfarm’s new "Homegrown" Roadside Culture Stand, featuring local food and culture, as well as other examples of initiatives in the state that link land, food and people for a thriving sustainable future. Our panelists represent a healthy polyculture – those who are building bridges and creating hybrid and integrated programs, strategies and lives. They illustrate how some of the most creative strategies for positive social change live in the intersections of disciplines, sectors, cultures and generations.

Participants: Donna Neuwirth, impresario, farmer, provocateur - Wormfarm Institute, Jay Salinas, farmer, artist, educator - Wormfarm Institute and Growing Power, Michael Bell, rural sociologist, musician, composer - UW-Madison Maia, and Lydia, youth activist - Baraboo City Chickens campaign.

Location: Tent - West of Commercial Building

For more information, schedules, how to get there info, please see:

  1.  Fightingbobfest link above;
  1.  for the September 11th kickoff event at the Barrymore Theater in Madison, see

The Fighting Bob Fest started in 2002 with about 1,000 participants, and has grown to one of the premier progressive gatherings in the country, with some 10,000 people taking part last year. Hats off to Ed Garvey for organizing this worthy event.  

Originally posted to fflambeau on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 08:47 PM PDT.

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