It's past time to Move the Senate to Amend!

It's past time to Move the Senate to Amend!

We need strong senators, and we have long-time supporters in the running!

Representatives Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee and Katie Porter from California districts are running to succeed Dianne Feinstein who will be retiring from the Senate.

All three have been co-sponsors of the We the People Amendment!

This gives us a great opportunity to work on getting the We the People Amendment introduced in the Senate, and we need your help.  

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May 4 - Guns & Gavels: Kent State, Haymarket Massacre & Corporate Rule

Violence comes in many forms: gunfire for sure, but also striking gavels. 

Thirteen unarmed students were shot, four killed, by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University on this day in 1970 during a peace rally opposing U.S. expansion of the Vietnam war into Cambodia. It marked the first time students were gunned down at an anti-war event in U.S. history. The massacre sparked organized walkout strikes by roughly 4 million students at colleges, universities and high schools across the nation that had been called on May 1. It resulted in an upsurge in public opposition to the Vietnam war. 

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May Day commemoration

May Day commemoration: Railroad union reps on holding Norfolk Southern accountable for E. Palestine disaster

Move to Amend is pleased to announce that the recording of the May Day commemoration event is now available for viewing. The event featured railroad union representatives discussing the efforts to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for the East Palestine disaster.


Earth Day 2023

Earth Day is a great occasion to reflect and center our work on the ways that corporate rule has put our planet and lives at risk.

From gas pipeline spills to the plastic epidemic... to rising global temperatures leading to more intense and dangerous weather patterns: corporate greed has been at the forefront of many decisions that ultimately harm our world.

Here are some things we can do to combat corporate greed on Earth Day (and every day)

Break The Chains - Button by RLM Arts

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We are hiring a new Fundraising Coordinator!

The Move to Amend Coalition is a grassroots campaign to amend the Constitution to state that artificial entities such as corporations, unions, and non-profits do not have inherent rights under the Constitution, and that money is not free speech so campaign spending can be regulated. MTA focuses on movement building and community organizing, emphasizing leadership from communities most impacted by corporate power such as people of color, low-income people, women, LGBTQIA+ people and youth.

MTA is structured to empower grassroots community leaders through affiliate groups that organize locally for the amendment campaign. The coalition’s “We the People Amendment” was introduced in Congress in February 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and soon 2023. Representative Pramila Jayapal will introduce the We the People Amendment into the 118th Congress.

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#StopCopCity: How Dark Money Funds Police Violence

You may have heard about Atlanta’s “Cop City”, a massive police training ground slated to be leased to the APF (Atlanta Police Foundation) on a huge swath of the Atlanta forest – a critical greenspace known as one of the “lungs of Atlanta.” A massive coalition of organizations, community leaders, activists, clergy and local residents have been protesting the creation of this urban warfare center since 2021. If so many people are against its creation, why was the lease signed over?

Image credit: https://stopcop.city/what-is-cop-city/

 

THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE?

The fight against Cop City is now entering its third year. The idea was first introduced in January of 2021, as a proposal for the creation of an advisory council that would “explore” the idea of a state-of-the-art police urban warfare training ground. The proposal immediately drew fierce opposition from a large and diverse coalition that included environmental justice organizations, the Mvskoke Creek Nation, clergy, abolitionists, local neighborhood associations, and more – because the fight against Cop City is at the intersection of so many fronts of struggle: racism, police militarization, colonialism, gentrification, and reckless environmental destruction in the face of impending climate collapse.

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East Palestine Train Derailment Caused and Worsened by Real Democracy Derailment

The Norfolk Southern Corporation train derailment and subsequent hazardous chemical release into the air, water and land in and beyond East Palestine, Ohio are the inevitable result of multiple anti-democratic realities in the U.S. Many are interconnected and are the same for the roughly 1000 train derailments per year, most recently in Michigan.

Private ownership of railroads

Norfolk Southern Corporation’s record earnings in 2022 led to huge salaries for its top managers and stock buybacks and dividend payouts benefiting speculators and investors. Necessary investments have not been made in technology upgrades and worker safety as the corporation prioritizes maximizing profits over public safety and sustainable business practices. “Since the North American private rail industry has shown itself incapable of doing the job, it is time for this invaluable transportation infrastructure – like the other transport modes – to be brought under public ownership,” concludes the Railroad Workers United. Interstate highways are publicly owned. Railroads were under federal control during WWI. Railroads in many other nations are publicly owned and, therefore, publicly accountable.  

No community rights

Local public officials have few legal tools to protect the health, safety and welfare of their residents – especially conditions in any way related to interstate commerce. Communities possess  little authority to control material – including trash, chemicals, nuclear waste – coming into or even passing through their jurisdictions by trains or trucks if that material can be defined as “commerce.” The Constitution’s Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8) gives power to Congress and the President to “regulate commerce…among the several states.” While states have at least some ability under certain conditions to push back against “commercial material” in their states if they can redefine it as dangerous, localities have no rights. East Palestine officials weren’t even notified the derailed Norfolk Southern train was carrying vinyl chloride, ethylhexyl acrylate and other highly toxic chemicals since federal law doesn’t classify those chemicals as “high hazardous.”

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How to stop the latest banking crisis and ongoing democracy crisis

Several banks have collapsed over the last several weeks.

  • Silvergate and Signature were the two main banks used by risky, flawed and unproven crypto companies. 

  • Silver Valley bank provided initial funding to the declining and volatile financial tech and pharmaceutical startups until those companies could, hopefully, raise money from initially selling stock. It also managed the wealth of the super rich founders of the successful startups. Many of their clients have accounts in the millions of dollars, well above the $250,000 FDIC insured levels. In fact, $150 billion of its $175 billion in deposits were uninsured


The failure of Silver Valley and Signature – the 2nd and 3rd largest bank failures in U.S. history – triggered panicked customers to withdraw nearly $100 billion from their accounts, mostly from mid-sized banks, in one recent week. Several other banks, First Republic and Western Alliance, have seen their market value plummet. Fears of a full-scale banking crisis can – as in the  past – deepen a larger financial and economic crisis. 

Risky and speculative business decisions, like making huge bets on crypto currencies and startups, should not be incentivized, but that’s how the current financial system works: keeping all your wins but shedding all your losses. Call it corporatizing gains and socializing pains. 

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Stopping child labor laws -- and corporate rule

The Kids Aren’t Alright. In fact, they could soon be working in dangerous environments such as construction and meatpacking plants.

Child labor in the U.S. has long been thought to be a thing of the past. Although not the first state to do it, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently signed a bill that allows children as young as 14 to work up to 48 hours per week without parental permission. Additionally, children under 16 no longer need the Division of Labor’s permission to work in Arkansas.

Iowa and Ohio also introduced bills to make child labor easier. Here’s what those bills look like:

IOWA

The bill proposes that children aged 14 and 15 can work in dangerous industries such as meatpacking if they and the employer have the right exemptions. Those exemptions are:

  • The child must be “participating in work-based learning or a school or employer-administered, work-related program.”

  • The employer must demonstrate “the activity will be performed under adequate supervision and training; the training includes adequate safety precautions; and that the terms and conditions of the proposed employment will not interfere with the health, well-being, or schooling of the minor enrolled in an approved program.”

According to this bill, kids under 16 can work as late as 9pm, and until 11pm during the summer. Although a company can be held liable if a child is hurt during the commute to work, the labor commissioner of Iowa holds the right to waive any such penalty towards a corporation.

OHIO

The bill proposes that children aged 14-15 can work through 9pm year-round (this bill is actually being reintroduced after it failed to pass in 2021).

Such laws make it easier for children to be exploited in the workforce and ignore decades of hard-won precedent. In a specific example, the proposed bill in Iowa delicately dances around the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Act states that only teenagers who are 16-17 who are “bona-fide student-learners and apprentices” may work with meat-processing machines.

Proponents for the bills say that it puts power in the hands of parents by allowing their children to work more. The reality seems to be that they will be exposed to more hazardous work environments for longer periods of time, giving the corporations the hard labor that they so desperately desire.

In this sense, the bills that are being both introduced and passed are giving corporations more power. Corporations can now hire children as early as their middle school years for dangerous positions, rather than hiring a perfectly capable adult whom they deem unfit.

Corporations should not have the right to hire children. We need to stop child labor laws. And we must stop the ability of corporations to influence the introduction of and advocacy for child labor laws. That means ending corporate rule 

Take Action!

√ Share this blast with your networks.
Stopping child labor laws --- and corporate rule 
https://www.movetoamend.org/stopping_child_labor_laws_and_corporate_rule

√ Oppose efforts in your state to pass pro-child labor laws.

√ Sign up here to work with others to lobby your Representative to cosponsor HJR48, the We the People Amendment,

√ Get more involved with Move to Amend:

Stand United,

George, Dolores, Jason, Tara, Alfonso, Jennie, Shelly, Daniel, Jessica Joni, Keyan, Michael, Dylan, Margaret & Greg

- Move to Amend National Team

P.S. More background readings on the rolling back of child labor protections can be found here and here.


20 Democratic Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the Iraq War

The U.S.-led war against Iraq began 20 years ago yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and thousands of U.S. soldiers died or were severely injured. 

There are multiple ways to look at what happened in the past and current lessons to be learned. One perspective is reflecting on the Iraq war through a democratic lens.

Here are 20 “democratic” reflections.

1. Wars and democracy rarely go together. Wars throughout history, including the Iraq war and occupation, were largely about military, political and/or economic power projection – expanding or protecting empires, including controlling resources – by one or both sides of the conflict. The goal is not to promote “freedom” or “democracy,” despite the fact that the 2003 U.S. action was named “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Efforts by the U.S. to impose its version of “democracy” was a “democratic disillusionment.”

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