Thank you for your interest in working locally towards this important goal, and welcome to the Move to Amend movement! Amending the U.S. Constitution is a long-term campaign that will require the participation of groups across the country to be successful. It is our collective job to reach out to everyday Americans and engage them with Move to Amend.
This Volunteer Kit provides guidance and resources for grassroots leaders from all backgrounds and experiences on how to:
- Become grassroots advocates to help raise awareness about Move to Amend and mobilize your communities to take action
- Form local Affiliate groups to bring volunteers together to help build community power rooted in democratic decision-making
- Strategize, plan, and implement successful campaigns that will build the movement to amend the Constitution within your local community, state, or region in order to move all of us closer to our long-term goal of real democracy in the United States.
Whether you are a seasoned activist or new to organizing, we hope this toolkit will be useful as you organize in your area. The first step is to come together locally, to get organized and to educate yourselves about the issues. Next, work to educate the population in your local area and your elected officials, and recruit people to join the movement. Finally, mobilize people to put pressure on your state and federal legislators to support a constitutional amendment.
ADVOCATING FOR MOVE TO AMEND
Our grassroots leaders come from all walks of life in support of our mission to amend the Constitution! Our grassroots leaders come from all walks of life in support of our mission to amend the Constitution! When you are ready to join Move to Amend, the first step is to become a local Advocate and be the first representative for Move to Amend in your community! MTA Advocates work to build excitement at the local and state levels about being part of a larger movement, and about the process of movement building itself.
To assist local organizations in this process, the national Move to Amend organization will provide training and support through the Movement Education Program, our Take Action Webinars, and other resources for organizers of all experiences.
Please refer to the following materials to familiarize yourself with Move to Amend's analysis, strategies, and solutions:
- Move to Amend’s Quick Guide to the Highlights and Low Points of the Citizens United Decision
- Not All Responses to Citizens United are the Same
- We the People Amendment (House Joint Resolution 48)
- How Corporate Constitutional Rights Harm You, Your Family, Your Community, Your Environment, and Your Democracy
- What Could Change if Corporate Personhood Were Abolished?
BRINGING YOUR COMMUNITY TOGETHER
Once you've joined Move to Amend, your next step is to bring together interested people to help establish a local coalition to build the movement.
As you grow your coalition, we encourage you to reach out to a broad spectrum of people, and to refrain from involving members of only one partisan group. Remember that diversity of perspectives and identities brings strength to organizations, and it's important we work to create a welcoming environment for everyone. If your membership reflects the diversity of your community, you will be more effective and less vulnerable to opposition than an organization that reflects the views of only a few community members.
Move to Amend affiliation differs by the type of organization you choose to form. When several volunteers are ready to team up to support our mission, they will form a local Affiliate group to represent Move to Amend as an organization. MTA Affiliates strive to educate and empower their members, and help them develop the skills they need to be effective community organizers.
While we encourage you to create a new MTA Affiliate, you may also choose to form an Amendment Working Group within an existing organization, or support the coalition by endorsing the We the People Amendment.
Forming an entirely new organization gives you the freedom to focus entirely on Move to Amend issues, and to recruit all interested individuals in your area whether or not they are part of existing organizations. One disadvantage is that you will not be able to rely on existing organizations for needed resources, such as meeting space and financial support.
A good way to launch an MTA Affiliate is to hold a kickoff event. This allows you to bring people together, to educate them about the issues and to begin a process of discussion and decision-making. To ensure that the event is well-organized and runs smoothly, we suggest that you first assemble a small initial planning group of 3-10 people. This group should put together a program, choose a date and location, and plan a publicity strategy. After identifying all tasks that need to be accomplished, divide them among the members of the planning group.
Your kickoff can feature speakers, film clips, or short skits about the impacts of Corporate Personhood and Citizens United on our democracy. To liven things up, you could also include icebreaker games, refreshments or live music. Remember that your goal is to launch an organization, however, so make sure to include a discussion among those present about their ideas for the new group. People are most likely to remain engaged when they are an active part of decision making, so by the end of the kickoff try to come to some decisions, or at least agree on a list of questions to be decided soon. Make sure to record everyone's contact information and agree on the next meeting date before people leave.
- Five Easy Steps to Start a New Group
- Bring Move to Amend to Your Community
- Legalize Democracy Discussion Guide
- Tips for Good Meetings
- Application for Forming an MTA Affiliate
If you are part of an existing organization that is interested in Move to Amend issues, you may wish to bring a group together within the organization to work on them as an Amendment Working Groups. These ad hoc groups typically organize in a specific location (city or town) to support the efforts to pass the We the People Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The best way to do this will depend on your organization's structure and primary focus.
One way to start is by educating people in your organization about the Citizens United decision, Corporate Personhood and related issues, and by explaining how these are linked to your organization's primary focus. For example, if your organization is a labor union, you can discuss how corporate influence results in policies that favor management's interests over those of workers. If you are part of an environmental group, you can explain how Corporate Personhood limits our ability to enforce environmental regulations. If you belong to a faith-based organization, you can talk about how treating profit-driven corporations the same as human beings is a moral issue.
Once people in your organization understand why these issues are important and relevant to them, suggest forming a new committee, broadening the activities of existing bodies, or otherwise integrating Move to Amend issues into the work of your organization. It is our hope for Amendment Working Groups to evolve into MTA Affiliates, though this is not a requirement. You can also suggest that your organization consider endorsing the We the People Amendment and support Move to Amend as a coalition partner.
- Corporate Personhood and The “Right” to Harm the Environment
- Labor Organizing Must Challenge Corporate Rule
- Why Non-Profit Corporations Do Not Have, Deserve or Need Constitutional Rights
- Endorsement Resolution for the We the People Amendment
- Agreement to Become an Amendment Working Group
Whatever the form of your group, it is important that a method of internal communications be established. You will need ways to let people know about upcoming meetings and events, and you may also want a means for group members to discuss issues between meetings.
Many groups handle these communications primarily through email. If your group is small, one email list might be sufficient. However, if it is large you may want to consider separate announcement and discussion lists to allow everyone to receive announcements without having be part of potentially high-traffic email discussions. Many free services, such as Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups, enable you to set up email lists even if you are not a computer expert.
Remember that not everyone has access to a home computer. If the members of your group do not have internet access, you will need to find other ways to keep people updated. For those with cell phones, text messages can be used to publicize upcoming events or survey members for . For others, phone calls or mailed newsletters may be necessary. In cases such as these, holding frequent meetings on a regular schedule may be the best way to keep your group connected.
- Tips & Practices for Keeping Your Group Connected
- Working with Volunteers
- Principles of Democratic Leadership
- Choosing an Organizational Structure
- Tips for Consensus Decision-Making
- How to Communicate for Resolving Conflicts
Once your local group is established, consider helping others elsewhere get organized.
One way is to share your experiences with other local Move to Amend organizations across your state and the country by participating in conference calls and email exchanges. As the number of local organizations communicating with each other grows, our movement will become smarter and stronger.
Another way is to share your successes over local or regional email lists, via stories in the press and with the members of nearby sympathetic organizations. If you do this, it is very likely that people will come to you asking how they can do something similar in their own communities. You can put these people in contact with representatives of the national Move to Amend organization, and if you like, you can also offer to mentor them or help them find other people interested in organizing in their area.
- Why Move to Amend Centralizes the Work of Dismantling Racism and Other Oppressions
- Why We Need a Democracy Movement
- Developing Movement Strength Through Diversity
- Abolish Corporate Personhood Talk
- Timeline of Personhood Rights and Powers
- Move to Amend's Position on a Constitutional Convention
- Corporate Personhood Talking Points
- Corporate Hijacking of the U.S. Constitution
- Corporate Constitutional Rights: Key Non-1st Amendment “Right to Speak” Supreme Court Decisions
- Leadership Development Guide
- Model Group Structure and Decision Making Processes
- Setting Up a Bank Account & Legal Structure
- Movement Education Program