Working Together for Real People Power

Why I support Move to Amend

Friends,

I’ve been privileged during my life in many ways. Near the top of the list has been the opportunity to work and become friends with incredible people across the country who’ve selflessly shared their time, talents and treasures to help others and to change the underlying conditions that harm people, places and the planet. 

The separate and increasing numerous and interrelated economic, social, political and environmental problems that have been blatantly exposed in 2020 share several root causes. One of them is that people lack fundamental rights to make important decisions affecting their lives. This absence of our right to decide is due to a sad truth: we’ve never lived in an authentic democracy/democratic republic. We the People have never included all the people.

Making matters worse has been courts granting corporations constitutional rights (“corporate personhood”) that overturn passed laws and the constitutional right of wealthy individuals and corporate entities to spend huge sums of money to influence elected officials and public policies. Both prevent our ability to protect our health and safety and the welfare of our communities, country and ecosystem.

This needs to fundamentally change. That’s why I work and support Move to Amend, calling for the We the People Amendment and for real democracy. Please help me reach my personal goal of raising $5000 by the end of the year to support our efforts.

I’ve been working to end corporate constitutional rights for 25 years -- before most people ever heard of “corporate personhood” and more than a decade before the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. It began when it struck me that all the peace, justice and environmental problems I was working on for a social action organization in Ohio wasn’t addressing the core issues of: Who governs? Who decides? Who has the power to determine the kinds of laws and regulations we have? The answer to all these questions was “Not us, not people."

Past and present “surface” problems will never be solved unless we address the root solutions of abolishing corporate constitutional rights (“corporate personhood”), big money in elections (caused by the constitutional doctrine that money in elections equals free speech) and democratizing our Constitution. This will only happen by building a grassroots and racially, gender and age diverse democracy movement -- which is Move to Amend’s mission. Over 700 communities across the country have passed resolutions and initiatives in the spirit of the We the People Amendment while 75 Congressional Representatives are Amendment cosponsors. 

We don’t chase the headlines or shift our strategy based on where major foundations this year want to put their money. We’re able to focus on root causes because we’re politically and economically independent -- not funded by corporations, big foundations, political parties, governments or billionaires. Instead, we depend on our supporters to help us continue the work.

The pandemic may have financially hit you hard. It did us. All staff, including me, worked as volunteers and went on unemployment for many months. It’s critical we get back on track for the start of 2021.

Please make an investment (it’s more than a donation or contribution) to help us together work for real people power to achieve justice in all their forms, a livable world and authentic democracy.

Thank you for considering.

Onwards and Upwards! 


How I've supported Move to Amend

  • Supreme Court Threatens EPA Regulations to Benefit Fossil Fuel Corporations

    Credit: iStock/kamilpetran

    by Jasmin Enciu

    The Supreme Court is set to decide one of the most consequential environmental cases it has heard in decadesWest Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency will address whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shall continue to have the authority to regulate the levels of greenhouse gas emissions. This case puts the EPA in an extremely vulnerable position. VOX News reporter Ian Millhiser even stated, “West Virginia could wind up permanently hobbling the government’s ability to fight climate change.”

    West Virginia threatens all government regulations that protect the public, not just the EPA. It is also concerning since the Supreme Court has recently taken an anti-agency regulation stance on many cases. The court has used the “major questions doctrine” in these instances to prevent agency actions from addressing important issues. For example, they recently struck down the CDC’s coronavirus eviction mortarium, which paused evictions for Americans who were suffering and not able to make rent due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. The Majority opinion stated: “It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant…but our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends…it is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here,”

    Read more

  • published Ohio Democracy/Corporation History Quiz in Ohio News 2022-06-27 08:04:29 -0700

    Ohio Democracy/Corporation History Quiz

    This was part of the "testimony" presented at the Cleveland Heights Democracy Day Public Hearing on June 9, 2022

    Ohio’s history is not just about “the mother of Presidents”, where and when its wartime battles took place, or which Ohioans flew into space. Its hidden part is the story of the struggles of the many people who sought to amake the basic decisions affecting their own lives free from external control. It’s also the story of the few who imposed control over Ohio’s majority of people and resources using the business corporation as their primary vehicle. These stories are enormously relevant today. The first seven questions and answers below are excerpted from Citizens over Corporations: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future, available from [email protected]

    Read more

  • People’s Hearing for a Factory Farm Moratorium - video

    click on image to go to video

    Patrick Bosold, Move to Amend activist, presents at the 1 hour, 36 minute mark.


  • Outline for People’s Hearing on Factory Farms

    Patrick Bosold – Move to Amend | Saturday, June 18, 2022 | Ames, IA

    How did Iowa come to be so burdened with CAFOs? What do special interest money in our political process, and constitutional rights for corporations, have to do with the situation we find ourselves in today?

    A report by the Environment Iowa Research & Policy Center in 2011 included an analysis of agribusiness campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures. The findings included:

    • Over the 2000-2010 decade, ten large agribusiness interests gave $35 million to congressional candidates – led by the American Farm Bureau, which gave $16 million.
    • Agribusiness interests gave more than $120 million to state-level candidates, party committees and ballot measures, including $250,000 in campaign contributions to Governor Terry Branstad in the last election of the 2000-2010 decade.
    • From 2005 to 2010, the 10 leading agribusiness interests spent $127 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies, fielding 159 lobbyists in 2010.
    • Monsanto and the American Farm Bureau led the pack, fielding 80 lobbyists in Washington, D.C., in 2010.

     

    More recently, Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has received $300,000 in campaign contributions from Iowa Select, fought to keep meat packing plants open during the COVID pandemic, prioritizing agribusiness CAFO operators like Jeff Hansen and Iowa Select, who would lose millions if their CAFOs became overloaded with market-ready animals. At a 2019 gala for the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation, Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds contributed an afternoon’s tour of the capitol and governor’s mansion, led by Reynolds herself. Iowa Select requested her presence at the 2019 gala the day after Reynolds won her election — likely aided by the Hansens’ six-figure campaign contribution.

    Read more

  • Experts Join Farmers, Advocates and Legislators For People’s Hearing on Urgent Need for Factory Farm Moratorium in Iowa

    For Immediate Release: June 18, 2022

    Contact: Phoebe Galt, Food & Water Watch, [email protected]

    Experts Join Farmers, Advocates and Legislators For People’s Hearing on Urgent Need for Factory Farm Moratorium in Iowa

    Speakers gave two hours of testimony on water quality, public health, market consolidation, and effects on farmers, agriculture, and rural communities

     AMES, IA — On Saturday, farmers, experts, advocates and legislators gathered at the Ames Public Library for a people’s hearing on the urgent need for a factory farm moratorium in Iowa. The event came on the heels of yet another legislative session without action in Des Moines on the state’s factory farm crisis, and one month after the release of a new Food & Water Watch report, The Hog Bosses,” detailing the agricultural consolidation crisis in Iowa farm country.

    Absent legislative action on the issue, advocates from the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture, a coalition of more than 25 organizations united against factory farming in Iowa, hosted the two-hour people’s hearing to present constituent demands and expert perspectives on the necessity of a factory farm moratorium in Iowa. Hours of testimony reflected the diverse criticisms of the industrial factory farming model, and highlighted local impacts on the lives of Iowans from all corners of the state. Topics discussed included water quality, public health, market consolidation, and the impacts factory farms have on community members’ quality of life and on farmers’ ability to make a living.

    A recent poll commissioned by Food & Water Action found that 95% of Iowa voters support rules that make it easier for small farmers to compete with large agricultural corporations, and a 2019 study found that 63% of Iowa voters support legislation to stop factory farm expansion and corporate monopolies in our food system.

    Food & Water Watch Senior Iowa Organizer John Aspray, Chair of the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture issued the following statement:

    “The factory farm system is crushing Iowa. For decades, Iowans have seen independent family farms forced into bad contracts with corporate giants in order to survive, small businesses shutter their doors, and our waterways and drinking water devastated by this model of industrial agriculture. 

    “Today, community members, farmers, and experts from all across Iowa came together to bear witness to the tremendous suffering our people, state, and environment are undergoing at the hands of corporate agribusiness and their legislative enablers. Our hearing underlined the criticisms of a model that many of our legislators have been too weak to confront.

    “Iowa legislators must listen to us, their constituents, as we state loud and clear that it is high time to put an end to factory farms’ relentless growth in our state. We must pass a factory farm moratorium in Iowa and our federal representatives must pass the Farm System Reform Act.”

    A full quote list from event participants is below. A recording of the event is available here.

     

    Read more

  • Summary of Testimony from Cleveland Heights’ 9th Annual Democracy Day

    Public Hearing hosted by Cleveland Heights City Council and also livestreamed on June 9, 2022

    [click on image to watch the hearing]

    It was announced that U.S. House Joint Resolution 48, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only,” and also establishing that money is not speech, has attained 94 co-sponsors in 117th Congress, an all-time high. Members of the Ohio Congressional delegation Marcy Kaptur and Tim Ryan are co-sponsors. Cleveland Heights and other 11th district citizens who have been actively lobbying Rep. Shontel Brown to co-sponsor hope that she will do so soon.

    Read more

  • published OHIO: Ohio Advocate Podcast in Ohio News 2022-06-06 09:52:26 -0700

    OHIO: Ohio Advocate Podcast

    May 29th, 2022 Show

    The Ohio Advocate

    Matt and Justin give an update on the redistricting battle in Ohio, and discuss Starbucks unionization efforts, police surveillance networks, the fight to get marijuana legalization on the ballot this year, and issues with Youngstown's water meters.

    Kathleen Caffrey interviews Greg Coleridge from Move to Amend Ohio about their efforts to reduce the effect of money in politics, and their current fight to revoke FirstEnergy's corporate charter.

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/may-29th-2022-show/id1615298248?i=1000564411534

     


  • published Summer Signature Saturdays 2022-05-23 11:55:56 -0700

    Summer Signature Saturdays

    There are two ways to create change: by having lots of organized money or lots of organized people. Since MTA isn’t flush with cash from billionaires or business corporations, our route to build power to help create real democracy is to recruit and organize people at the grassroots. 

    That’s why we’re organizing Summer Signature Saturdays

    We need to add more people to our base. Our goal is to recruit 10,000 more supporters by the end of the summer – which will get us to 500,000. 

    How do we recruit more supporters? 

    The major way over the next several months is to designate one Saturday each month for Move to Amend volunteer leaders (like you!) to spend at least 1 hour collecting signatures on our Motion to Amend petition

    • The top 3 individuals who collect the most signatures that day will receive a cool MTA t-shirt to wear  – maybe for the next time they go out to petition!
    • MTA affiliates who organize several individuals to petition and submit signatures all together will be recognized on our website and in our monthly newsletter.

    The next Summer Signature Saturday is July 23!

    Can you commit to collecting signatures wherever you are on June 18? Feel free to recruit one or more friends!

    If so, email [email protected]

    Where to petition in your community

    Public places to petition: farmers markets, festivals, parades, sidewalks in commercial districts, your neighborhood, libraries, post offices, bus stops, parks

    Petition tips

    • Place petitions on clipboard or sturdy piece of cardboard with a large clip
    • Try to get 1 sheet of signatures from your family members, friends or neighbors – even if they’ve already signed – and place the full sheet on top. The first few signatures are always the hardest when the petition is blank. Having a full sheet from the start will make it more comfortable for people you approach to sign when they see several have already done so.
    • Consider taking 2 sets of petitions. This saves time if you come across 2 or more people and they are more likely to sign
    • Use only black or blue ink. No red ink or pencils. Take one or more extra pens
    • Ask people to PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY
    • Quickly check after each person has signed to make sure you can read all the information. If necessary, fill in for them what you can’t read
    • Please encourage that at least name, city, zip code and email are filled in. Emails allow us to send educational and action updates – including how to get more involved.
    • Don’t petition in the rain. Rain and paper are a bad combination.

    Email [email protected] if you plan to collect petition signatures on June 18. We’ll send further details before the date.

    Thank you for helping Move to Amend grow and build power for helping create real democracy!

    p.s. Upcoming Summer Signature Saturdays are July 23, August 20 and September 17.


  • NewburghHeightsOH: Democracy Day Public Hearing Report

        

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Introduction to Newburgh Heights Democracy Day

    Carla Rautenberg, Cleveland Heights

    Good evening. It’s a privilege to be here in Newburgh Heights for your 2022 Democracy Day public hearing. Thank you, Councilwoman Traore, City Council members and Mayor Elkins, for inviting members of Cleveland area Move to Amend chapters to attend tonight.

    As some of you know, but others may not, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision of 2010 led to a national movement to take back the U.S. Constitution after it was usurped by the twin demons of corporate personhood and money being considered free speech. The national, non-partisan organization leading that movement is called Move to Amend. We have proposed, and convinced Congress members to co-sponsor, House Joint Resolution 48, which supports the We The People amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It essentially states that 1. Corporate entities are not people and therefore cannot have constitutional rights and 2. Money does not equal free speech. This message resonates with citizens across political boundaries and across the country.

    Newburgh Heights joined this movement early on. In 2012, Brecksville and Newburgh Heights were the first two cities in Ohio whose citizens voted for ballot issues declaring support for such a constitutional amendment! The issue you and your fellow Newburgh Heights citizens passed—by a 73% yes vote! – is an ordinance declaring support for the We the People Amendment. It also established regular public hearings like this one, informally called Democracy Days, at which citizens can testify to the harms caused by corporations having never-intended constitutional rights, and by money being considered free speech.

    As trend-setters, you should be very proud because since then, Ohio voters have passed ballot initiatives similar to yours in:

    Defiance and Cleveland Heights, in 2013

    Chagrin Falls and Mentor, in 2014

    Kent, in 2015

    Toledo, South Euclid and Shaker Heights, all in 2016

    and Painesville, in 2020

    In 2016, the City of Cleveland passed an ordinance supporting the We the People Amendment and establishing biannual Democracy Days for 10 years. In addition, 12 Ohio city governments have passed resolutions calling on Congress to introduce the We the People Amendment. Because of all this support in her Congressional district, we were able to persuade Rep. Marcia Fudge to co-sponsor HJR-48 in the 116th and 117th Congresses. We are lobbying Rep. Shontel Brown to follow in her mentor’s footsteps and do the same. 90 co-sponsors have now joined the lead sponsor, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.

    Meanwhile, we are wondering: how can First Energy be allowed to stay in business after it paid $60 million to Ohio legislators to directly defraud all of us – Ohio taxpayers? You might think the Ohio Constitution offers no remedy for this, but it specifically provides for revoking the charter of a corporation that acts beyond its authority. Bribery and money laundering certainly qualify. So Ohio Move to Amend is asking CAN WE PULL THE PLUG ON FIRST ENERGY? We will hold a virtual forum on this topic on Saturday, May 14 at 10:00 a.m. in order to explore:

    • Could we do it? If so, how?
    • Is it even a good idea?
    • Without First Energy, where and how could we get our electricity?
    • Any other implications?

    We’ll pass around a sign-up sheet for those who would like more information about this, and/or our other activities.

    You may have heard various politicians talk about passing legislation to deal with corporate power or money in politics. That won’t do it. Any laws attempting fundamental reform of the U.S. political system can and will be ruled unconstitutional. The Supreme Court precedents began way before Citizens United in 2010 and in fact date back to 1886!

    Only passing a constitutional amendment like U.S. HJR-48 will allow us to reclaim our government from the control of multi-national corporations and wealthy individuals.

    Now, my colleague David Berenson and I would like to share a little 5-minute skit about corporate personhood we hope you will enjoy.

    Read more


  • Charter Revocation of FirstEnergy Corporation

    January 3, 2022

    David Yost

    Attorney General

    State of Ohio

    Subject: Charter Revocation of FirstEnergy Corporation

    Attorney General Yost,

    We call on you to commence the revocation of the charter of FirstEnergy Corporation, a legal creation licensed in the State of Ohio by bringing an action in quo warranto as provided by Ohio Revised Code § 2733.02 to § 2733.39.

    Read more

  • published Toledo Democracy Day Statement in Ohio News 2022-03-30 14:27:57 -0700

    Toledo Democracy Day Statement

    by Mike Ferner  |  March 30, 2022

    Why are we here today?

    The short answer is that in 2014, Toledo’s Move to Amend chapter collected 10,000 signatures, led by the tireless Doug Jambard-Sweet, to place an initiative on the 2015 ballot. It passed overwhelmingly and did two things:

    • First, Toledo joined over 600 towns and cities telling Congress to pass an amendment to remove constitutional protections like free speech and equal protection from corporations and rule that money is not the same thing as speech.
    • Second, it established Democracy Day in Toledo – something that was a first among cities endorsing the amendment

     

    The longer answer is from a special page in Toledo history.

    Our Waite High School was named after a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Toledo attorney, Morrison R. Waite, appointed by his fellow Ohioan, President Grant.

    Just like Amazon and other trillion-dollar corporations of today, after the Civil War, railroads were the Big Kahunas…so much so that a majority of Supreme Court justices were railroad attorneys or directors, including Waite himself.

    Flush with war profits, railroads tried repeatedly to win constitutional protections intended for human beings, but state and federal courts swatted them away, insisting that corporations were paper creations of state legislatures and not entitled to any rights beyond those lawmakers wished to extend.

    In 1886, Southern Pacific Railroad appealed a taxation decision by Santa Clara County, California, claiming a violation of equal protection under the 14th Amendment. This time Waite and his court agreed, opening the floodgates.

    We should note that the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to protect the rights of newly freed slaves. But as Justice Hugo Black wrote, 50 years after its adoption, “Of the cases in this court in which the 14th Amendment was applied…less than one half of one percent invoked it in protection of the Negro race, and more than fifty percent asked that its benefits be extended to corporations.” And that, if we needed it, is proof that enough money will buy clever enough attorneys.

    After Santa Clara, corporate attorneys won other protections meant for people, such as the 4th Amendment, so they could refuse government demands for documents or OSHA inspectors without a warrant; like the 1st Amendment, as recently as the late 1960’s, early 1970’s and up to Citizens United in 2010, all of which equated money with speech, allowing nearly unlimited corporate influence over elections…to say nothing of the unlimited “free speech accounts” of Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed-Martin corporation lobbyists who know better than anyone that even losing wars make money.

    For decades, battles raged in legislatures and courtrooms to determine if corporations would remain subservient to the public. People expected their public officials to do so and when they did, they generated decisions like this one in a case brought by Ohio’s Attorney General against a company that wanted to put lord-knew-what into margarine and sell it in stores. The Ohio Supreme Court revoked the company’s charter and wrote:

    (Monnett vs Capital City Dairy Co.)

    "...It could not have been the intent of the general assembly, in enacting laws permitting the formation of corporations, to give them power to override the state...The time has not yet arrived when the created is greater than the creator....In the present case the acts of the defendant have been persistent, defiant and flagrant, and no other course is left to the court than to enter a judgment of ouster (of the company charter) and to appoint trustees to wind up the business of the concern."

    In a local example from 1992, Toledo City Council placed proposed charter revisions on the ballot to establish districts and eliminate the city manager position. From where you’re sitting, I also proposed a limitation on campaign contributions, and received my first lesson on the Buckley v Valeo decision that struck down the ability of government to do that.

    Corporations use constitutional protections to force local governments to accept toxic waste dumps or big box chain stores, or the transport of radioactive waste, or to deny the 60% of Toledo voters who approved the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. Law Director Dale Emch could give you many more examples of what’s politely called federal preemption.

    By the mid-90’s, a few environmental activists realized we were getting nowhere fast. We might win a limited victory over some single harm, but corporations’ power never lessened. Their political power increased with their economic power.

    We needed to think and organize differently. The regulatory agencies set up through the 20th century were there to regulate citizens, not corporations.

    So, we decided to learn how corporations came to rule. Led by a visionary researcher and activist, Richard Grossman, a number of us formed the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy.

    That spun off the Community Environmental and Legal Defense Fund, which began by organizing against a Pennsylvania hog feeding factory – not on narrow EPA or zoning regulations, but by asserting a township’s right to determine what kind of industry it would accept. That led to international organizing for the rights of nature which continues to this day.

    Also spun off of Grossman’s work was Move to Amend, which brings us to today’s hearing.

    Move to Amend’s goal – to strip corporations of constitutional protections and rule that money is not speech is now House Joint Resolution 48, with ninety co-sponsors in the U.S. house, including Marcy Kaptur and Cleveland’s Tim Ryan.

    Today, we celebrate the opportunity voters created to learn from history, discuss what corporate rule means today and think about how we can use the power of democracy to create the kind of life we and the planet deserve while there’s still time.


  • TOLEDO, OH: Democracy Day returns to Council Chambers

    Citizens, elected officials and more are invited to take part in this year’s Democracy Day event, taking place on Wednesday, March 30 in Council Chambers at One Government Center, or via Zoom.

    The annual event, presented by the City, Toledo Move to Amend and Our Revolution in Northwest Ohio, is held by City Council to discuss the corrupting influence of corporate interests in politics. Speakers address a wide variety of topics related to the public interest during the event.

    Read more

  • published OHIO: Launching Pledge to Amend Campaign in Ohio News 2022-03-28 12:26:25 -0700

    OHIO: Launching Pledge to Amend Campaign

    Watch this one hour virtual, kick-off program and learn how to target candidates for local, state and federal office across Ohio to get their positions on record for the We the People Amendment and make this an election issue. Get Pledge to Amend signups -- at least 50% of candidates elected on election day. -Find out about Move to Amend's Pledge to Amend Campaign -Learn how and where to reach out to candidates running for office -Hear and see the resources available.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hwsi5A0zV8

     


  • GrassRoot Ohio - Move to Amend with Greg Coleridge and Sandy Bolzenius

    Carolyn Harding with Greg Coleridge and Sandy Bolzenius organizers with Move to Amend, a movement to Amend the US Constitution to codify that Corporations are not People & Money is not speech.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x1IgL95_GA


  • Making Big Tech Corporations Accountable to We the People

    With political polarization likely to become more intense the closer we approach the November midterm elections, one problem that increasingly angers individuals across the ideological spectrum is the excessive power of Big Tech.

    Transpartisan concerns are legitimate that Big Tech corporations have incredible influence over our lives, are too economically and politically powerful, and are publicly unaccountable.

    Education and actions on the political left about censorship and account suspensions from technology corporations like Meta-FacebookTwitter and Google have occurred for years. 

    Similar outrage on the political right about corporate power in general is more recent. Mitch McConnell may have begun the criticism last year when he instructed “corporate America” to stay out of politics” (though pivoting after realizing corporations bankroll GOP political campaigns). The annual convention of the conservative Federalist Society featured one speaker who stated, “The Chamber of Commerce is not our friend” while another lamented that “[m]assive corporations are pursuing a common and mutually agreed upon agenda to destroy American freedom.” “Big Business is not our ally,” said Marco Rubio, while Ted Cruz proclaimed “Big Tech is malevolent. Big Tech is corrupt. Big Tech is omnipresent.” 

    The Russian invasion of Ukraine has provided a new round of unilateral censorship by Big Tech against those critical of U.S. militarism, corporatism, and kleptocracy. YouTube has flagged Oliver Stone’s documentary Ukraine on Fire. The banning or limiting the visibility of Russia Today (RT) by Microsoft, Apple, Meta-Facebook, Google, YouTube and TikTok has meant the silencing of voices like journalist and author Chris Hedges and commentator and comedian Lee Camp – both of whom opposed the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Netflix has gone so far as to shelve a production of Anna Karenina. The U.S. government hasn’t had to formally do any of this censoring as corporations have effectively assumed that role.

    Opposition to corporate power differs given the issue (i.e. political elections, lobbying,  commenting on social issues). On Big Tech, however, there’s much agreement about their power to dictate in secret what ideas are promoted, which ones are suppressed and who is allowed to participate on their platforms. 

    The core issue is free speech. How much power should Big Tech have to assert their own “corporate” free speech to protect their own interests? And how much power should they have to deny free speech to others? 

    Big Tech corporations shouldn’t have constitutional rights to influence public policies favorable to them through political campaign contributions and lobbying, nor be the referee of free speech rights of billions of people. Meta-Facebook and Twitter decide the rules of those who access their electronic corporate “property.” The same is true of Google with its own authority to censor information and groups.

    These corporations are driven primarily not by providing an arena for “free speech,” but their bottom lines. Sensationalism sells. Polarization is profitable.

    Their business model is to keep users on their sites as long as possible to sell specific advertisements based on data mined from their online interests. The more lurid and outrageous the content, the longer viewers stick around and the more cash rolls in. This explains Meta-Facebook’s ads for body armor and other military equipment next to content promoting false election information and the attempted coup. Meta-Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen confirmed that the corporation has “a system that amplifies division, extremism, and polarization… Their profit maximizing machine is generating self-harm and self-hate — especially for vulnerable groups like teenage girls.”

    Both sides have only themselves to blame for the creation of these technological Frankensteins. Meta-Facebook would never have become so profitable (with a market value above $1 trillion) nor able to monopolize social networking (with its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp) if not for incredibly weak antitrust laws and regulations on privacy, market power and advertising fraud that the political right constantly fights to maintain The political left, meanwhile, has largely taken a hands-off approach in Congress to the divisive and constitutionally-challenging issue of limiting free speech via legislation by permitting Big Tech companies to establish their own internal free speech rules.

    So how can we make Big Tech accountable to We the People?

    One proposal that’s not a real solution is regulation. Regulating monopolies throughout history had led to entrenched monopolies and captured regulatory agencies and regulators – leading to greater economic concentration and political power by the industry.

    A better option is to break up the monopolies. Several bills in Congress have called for breaking up Meta-Facebook and Google. The result would be greater economic competition and somewhat weakened political power. This needs to be coupled with rethinking, if not reimagining, technological communication as a public utility, with some services/platforms public or democratically controlled.

    Another option is to alter or abolish Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The law has become an incentive for corrupt business activities as the tech corporations are protected from any liability. 

    More fundamental is to shift back from the private/corporate arena to the public the issue of free speech – despite its complexity. An absolutist reverence to “free speech” in all its forms is neither noble, nor based in reality. While free speech is a critical requirement in any authentic democratic society, it must be balanced against the rights to safety, dignity, respect and integrity. “Freedom to speak” anywhere at any time on any platform threatening violence toward others with differences should not be protected. Political free speech is already limited in our society – whether time limits to testify in public forums or times of the day/night to read aloud the Constitution in your front yard. 

    Finally, constitutional rights of Big Tech corporations – in fact, all corporate entities – should be abolished by passing HJR48, the We the People Amendment. First Amendment “free speech” was intended solely for human beings. The hijacking of the First and other Amendments by corporate entities have corrupted the political process and insulated corporate entities in a variety of ways from public accountability and the ability to achieve political self-determination

    Many, if not all, of these solutions have support from vast numbers of people on the ground across the country and across the political spectrum. Now is both a teachable moment and organizing opportunity to search for transpartisan common ground to organize for ways to make Big Tech accountable to all people. 

    Solidarity,

    Greg, Jennie, Shelly, George, Leila, Daniel, Saleem, Jessica, Kaitlin, Joni, Milly, Jason, Alfonso & Tara


  • "New Normal" Needs a New Constitutional Amendment - video

    Move to Amend sponsored panel at the 40th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) on March 4, 2022

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsKX3KQ0yHc

    Description:

    As an advocate trying to protect the environment, your opponents are almost certainly the wealthy, a large corporation, an entity funded by them, or a government agency overly influenced or beholden to them. The political, legal, and economic playing fields are slanted in favor of large monied interests more today than at any time since the Gilded Age. Only a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate constitutional rights and returning power to regulate campaign financing to the People’s elected representatives can restore balance to our political system and legal institutions.

    Panelists:

    John Fioretta (Move to Amend)
    Karen Coulter (Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project)
    Kai Huschke (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund)
    Ben Manski (George Mason University)

    Moderator:

    Greg Coleridge (Move to Amend)


  • published Democracy on the Move - Podcast in Announcements 2022-03-25 09:14:54 -0700

    Democracy on the Move - Podcast

     

    Move to Amend

    March 20, 2022

    Greg Coleridge, the co-director at Move to Amend, talks about the importance of removing corporate influence, money and corruption from our government. Move to Amend calls for the “We the People” Amendment (HJR-48) to the US Constitution that unequivocally states that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns. In a nutshell, Move to Amend proposes an amendment that says corporations are not people.

    https://democracyonthemove.podbean.com/e/move-to-amend-1647717693/

     


  • donated via 2022-05-08 12:15:18 -0700

  • donated 2021-12-30 18:16:11 -0800

Greg Coleridge

Greg Coleridge

Democracy, justice and peace organizer; Move to Amend Outreach Director; Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy Principal
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