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

  • Cleveland Hts. OH: June 13 Democracy Day Public Hearing Testimony

    WATCH ON YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkYkqg11qoE 

    EXPLANATION

    CHAPTER 183
    Political Influence by Corporate Entities
    https://clevelandheightsoh.portal.civicclerk.com/event/250/files/attachment/1311

    TESTIMONY

    Greg Coleridge

    It’s been 11 years since Cleveland Heights voters passed Issue 32, calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring:

    1. Only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with Constitutional rights, and
    2. Money is not equivalent to speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending does not equate to limiting political speech.

    In many respects, little has changed.

    Political money spent in elections - much of it donated or invested by the super rich and corporate entities, continue to increase, with more of it being “dark money” from sources and places that are unknown. The problem is not only federally, but increasingly at the state and even local levels. Legalized bribery has never been more legal and corrupting – with the voices of people who can’t invest in politicians less heard and responded to. 

    Additionally, Cash spent on lobbying from special interest groups continues to rise

    In both cases, the super rich and corporations have hijacked First Amendment Free speech rights

    Communities and states continue to be unable to mandate corporations to include information on food products or renewable energy since it violates corporate First Amendment right “not to speak”

    Communities continue to be unable for the most part to conduct surprise inspections on corporate property to protect workers, consumers and the environment since it violates corporate “Fourth Amendment “search and seizure” rights

    Efforts to seriously call for keeping fossil fuels in the ground and not burned to prevent further climate destruction is deterred by the prospect that fossil fuel corporations will claim that unmined, drilled or fracked fossil fuels are lost future profits and violate their Fifth Amendment “takings” rights.

    And communities continue to be unable to provide preferential treatment of local business over chain stores or to prevent cell phone towers in their communities since such actions are discriminatory, violating corporations Fourteenth Amendment “equal protection” rights

    Yet, at the same time, much has changed in 11 years. 

    The explosion of money in politics and abuses and harms of corporations to people, places and the planet are becoming ever more blatant, hideous, systemic and unacceptable. Greater realization that simply electing better people, passing better laws, enacting better regulations or declaring better executive decisions are not proportionate in scale to the magnitude of the breadth and depth of corporate rule and money in politics. Merely putting out fires while ignoring the arsonists are just reactive, responsive and defensive. They will never, ever help us create a more just, peaceful, sustainable and democratic community, nation and beyond. 

    Discussion about constitutional renewal is becoming more mainstream on many fronts. That includes ending the constitutional doctrines that  a corporation is a person and money is free speech.

    The We the People Amendment, HJR 54, have never had more support. Over 518,000 individuals have signed our Motion to Amend. 706 communities have passed resolutions and/or citizens driven ballot initiatives – of which CH has done both. 8 states have done the same. 770 organizations – local, regional and national – have endorsed. And 85 Congresspersons have endorsed, including in April, Shontel Brown. 

    We’re under no illusions. Amending the Constitution is a virtual impossibility – the most difficult of any on the planet. In fact, t’s been done 27 times before, often when several were enacted in a relatively short period of time when external conditions warranted them.

    Yet, we’re under no illusions. External conditions warrant constitutional change. Our political crisis has reduced the trust in government. Without trust, you can’t have a viable government. And our political economy is based on exploiting people and the planet by promoting perpetual economic growth on a finite planet without severe political, economic or environmental consequences. Talk about fantasy. 

    Changing the law is always preceded by changing the culture. “Nothing else in the world…not all the armies…is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” said Victor Hugo.

    The time is rapidly coming to have a just, peace sustainable and democratic community, nation and beyond. The We the People Amendment is one part of what will inevitably become constitutional renewal.

    What follows are testimonies on the impact of money in politics and corporate rule on our community and beyond – along with sharing a few notable historical events in June that related to corporate power, money in elections, democracy and the power to define corporate entities.

    Read more

  • Let’s Wish Corporate Constitutional Rights a Very Unhappy Birthday

    "The actual “birth” of corporate constitutional rights, often referred to as “corporate personhood,” wasn’t Citizens United; it dates to May 10, 1886 in the Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company ruling."

    Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and dozens of House Democrats introduced the We the People Amendment—which would reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and end corporate personhood—on April 6, 2021. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    Read more

  • Railroaded: Derail Corporate Rule & Advance Real Democracy

    A Call to Take Public Action on May 10 in your Community

    May 10th is the anniversary of the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company Supreme Court decision of 1886. The case first established under the 14th Amendment that corporations are considered “persons.” The 14th Amendment granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the U.S, included former enslaved human beings, and provided all citizens with “equal protection” and other rights under the law. It was not intended to apply to corporations.

    The Supreme Court granted corporations other constitutional rights since then, including the 4th Amendment search and seizure rights, 5th Amendment takings rights and 1st Amendment free speech rights to spend money corrupting politics. The 2010 Citizens United decision expanded corporate 1st Amendment free speech rights.

    It’s a common belief that the corporations first acquired corporate constitutional rights (“corporate personhood”) in the Citizen United decision. They did not. Corporate power to hijack democracy precedes Citizens United and corporate spending money in elections by nearly a century. 

    Armed with constitutional rights, corporations have “railroaded” people, communities and elected officials  – overturning democratically-passed laws ensuring safe food and products, protecting workers and workplaces, and ensuring a livable world – in ways that have nothing to do with Citizens United or corporate “free speech” rights. 

    Ending ALL corporate constitutional rights – not just overturning Citizens United and corporate “free speech” rights – is what makes Move to Amend unique. It is why we call for enactment of the We the People Amendment. And it is why May 10 is such a very important date.

    You are invited to organize a public action in your community on Friday, May 10  –  a vigil, rally, press conference, picket, or march – at a Congressional office, court building, corporate headquarters or other symbolic location

    • To educate the community on why ending corporate rule is so much more than simply reversing Citizens United and corporate money spent in elections
    • To advocate for passage of the We the People Amendment, HJR54
    • To organize people and allied organizations to make the direct link between furthering the issues and solutions they care about and abolishing “corporate personhood.”


    Contact us
    HERE to indicate your interest. We will contact you to offer assistance, including materials.

    Thanks for considering.

    Read more

  • published "Only the little people pay taxes" in Announcements 2024-04-15 05:17:38 -0700

    "Only the little people pay taxes"

    We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.
           - Leona Helmsley, billionaire real estate tax dodger

                                                            Source: Ralph Nader images

    Happy Tax Day! Only kidding.

    The very rich and corporations try harder and are more effective in general in avoiding paying taxes than the rest of us. Here are a few numbers reflecting current tax priorities, legislative responses to promote tax fairness and economic and political equality, and how we, "the little people," can become more active in promoting tax fairness and beyond.

    Read more

  • Degrowth By Monetary Reform: Money For the People By the People! - video

    link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D___uoeIa2w

    People are drowning in debt and suffering from inadequate health care, rising inflation, and endless wars. We must degrow the destructive economic system that enriches a financial elite at the expense of people, planet and peace. The privatized money system is unstable and wreaks havoc as it grows exponentially. The Green Party's "Greening the Dollar" initiative outlines how to scrap the Fed for a Constitutional system that circulates permanent, stable, and debt-free sovereign public money. This will allow us to grow a caring economy that nurtures what we hold dear. Hear from:


  • published Oppression Eclipses Democracy in Announcements 2024-04-07 18:53:06 -0700

    Oppression Eclipses Democracy

    As millions of people across the country gaze skyward today at the rare astronomical event, let us compare it to a growing human condition. 

    Just as the moon blocks out the sun during a total eclipse, oppression blocks out authentic democracy.

    Read more

  • “Democracy Day” Public Hearing held in Toledo

    Democracy Day 2024 in Toledo was held Wednesday March 20 in the Council Chambers, One Government Center. Forty-four people were in the audience. 

    Last year there were 4 council members present, this year 7 members attended. There were 19 presenters including music and messages from labor, health care, climate, redistricting to correct for gerrymandering, constitutional conventions, highway expansion through a community and Gaza crisis.

    Read more

  • Reducing economic and political inequality

    This quote appears at the very beginning of our documentary Legalize Democracy.

    Economic and political inequality are directly connected. The science of “political economy,” pioneered by Adam Smith, addresses the relationship between power and wealth. For more than a century, however, it's been intentionally separated in academia and culture to prevent widespread understanding of the links. 

    Read more

  • City fulfilled Democracy Day obligations in 2021, law director says

    https://www.scriptype.com/2023/04/19/city-fulfilled-democracy-day-obligations-in-2021-law-director-says/

    April 19, 2023

    by Melissa Martin

    March 7 city council meeting

    Brecksville City Council and the city’s legal department said there will not be a city-sponsored Democracy Day in 2023, even though the ballot issue, approved by voters in 2012, specified a 10-year term.

    The determination was made March 7 after city resident Bob Belovich questioned council and the administration about city ordinance 129.03. The ordinance stipulates the “biennial public hearings will continue for a period of 10 years through February 2023, or until a constitutional amendment reflecting the principles set forth in section 129.02 is ratified by three quarters of the state legislators.”

    Democracy Day is a biannual public hearing before city council and the mayor. It examines the impact of political contributions of corporations, unions, PACS and super-PACS on the city.

    Read more

  • The other “AI” threat to democracy

    The proliferation of Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly feared as a growing threat to our elections through the creation of “deepfake” texts, photos and videos that look and sound real that further diminishing truth and accountability. AI-generated political ads have already appeared, resulting in calls for regulation and prohibition of what is estimated to be $12 billion in political ad spending this year. Not knowing what public information is real or fake not only threatens elections, but the ability of us all to be informed to hold elected officials accountable and to organize independent movements for change.

    But another “AI” is already a threat to the 2024 elections, which will deepen during the current primary election season. The lobby organization, AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and its affiliated political groups are expected to spend $100 million this election cycle opposing candidates they feel insufficiently support Israel, which has intensified since the start of the war in Gaza. AIPAC’s related groups include AIPAC PAC; the United Democracy Project, its Super PAC; the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI); and others.

    Read more

  • Leaflet and Petition on Primary Election Day

    Please consider spending an hour or so at a polling location on primary election day in your state to hand out leaflets and collect signatures on the Move to Amend petition.

    Go HERE to find out when your primary election day takes place.

    The leaflet states, “We need to elect better representatives. But we also need to expand the growing peoples’ movement to end corporate constitutional rights by enacting HJR54, the We the People Amendment.”

    Our petition declares, “We the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

    Read more

  • Can you leaflet & petition on Super Tuesday to end corporate rule?

    You live in one of 16 places that will vote on March 5, “Super Tuesday, the day when the greatest number of states and territories hold their political election primaries or caucuses.

    Please consider spending an hour or so at a polling location to hand out leaflets and collect signatures on the Move to Amend petition.

    Read more

  • published Banks Bank on War Profits in Announcements 2024-02-14 07:30:06 -0800

    Banks Bank on War Profits

    10 January 2024 | 

    posted at https://www.monetaryalliance.org/banks-bank-on-war-profits-2024/ 

    There are many reasons why nation-states start or join wars. Controlling natural resources is certainly one of them.

    Whatever the reasons, banking corporations and other financial institutions in the U.S., among many corporate sectors, profit enormously from wars – causing massive harm to people, communities, the planet, and self-described “democratic” political systems.

    This equation may best describe the reality: Dollars = Debt + Destruction + Defense

    Read more

  • Will the Supreme Court disqualify a corporation from being a person?

    The Supreme Court heard arguments last week whether Donald Trump should be disqualified under the 14th Amendment to be President.

    At issue is whether Trump’s (in)actions on January 6, 2021, should prohibit him from becoming President again based on the text in Article 3 asserting that any officer of the United States who has previously taken an oath to uphold the Constitution should be disqualified if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

    While legal scholars disagree whether the 14th Amendment applies to Trump, can the same be said about whether any part of the 14th Amendment should disqualify a corporation from being a constitutional person? 

    Read more

  • published E Palesting train disaster in Announcements 2024-02-01 14:32:09 -0800

    Anniversary of the E. Palestine train disaster

    Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Norfolk Southern Corporation train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Twenty railcars crashed carrying vinyl chloride and other hazardous material. A controlled burn was conducted by local officials to supposedly avoid an explosion. Toxic contaminants polluted the community and the surrounding area, include down-wind into Pennsylvania. As this recent article describes, "This story isn't over."

    Since the E. Palestine derailment, accidents have increased for the top five freight railroad corporations. Yet, no Congressional legislation has passed to prevent similar disasters.

    The story the corporate media hasn't adequately ever told, however, is what we shared last year following the disaster -- the lack of authentic democracy. It's retold below. 

    Note: The We the People Amendment is HJR54 is the current 118th Session of Congress

    ___

    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.

    Read more

  • Letters: Money is not free speech and a corporation is not a person

    Akron Beacon Journal | Jan 28, 2024

    Jan. 21 marked the 14th anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. The ruling increased the amount of money spent in political elections from the very rich and corporate entities, drowning out the voices of people to be heard by elected representatives who didn’t politically contribute. 

    Many, if not most, people believe Citizens United was the first time the court ruled that “money equals free speech,” as well as the constitutional right of corporate entities to donate politically. It wasn’t. 

    Read more

  • published ‘We the People’ Amendment needed in Ohio News 2024-01-30 05:07:59 -0800

    ‘We the People’ Amendment needed

    Miami Valley Today, January 20, 2024

    To the editor:

    January 21 is a good day to reflect on the state of our democracy. Why? Because it’s the 14th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

    The court’s 5-4 decision upheld two misguided notions: The first, that a corporation has inherent, inalienable constitutional rights same as you and me. The second, that money spent on political campaigns is protected speech.

    These interpretations of the U.S. Constitution thwart democracy in two ways: First, something created on paper through a state charter often has more power than flesh-and-blood people (think companies given the right to dump fracking wastewater in communities where residents object). Second, those with the most money have greater access to lawmakers and influence over laws and policies that affect our wallets, let alone our health (think Akron-based FirstEnergy Corporation, the company behind the largest public corruption scandal in Ohio history).

    Read more

  • The 2024 election money train is on the move.

    Dayton Daily News | Jan 20, 2024

    The 2024 election money train is on the move. I receive emails every day asking for money from candidates near and far. How about you? Of course the dollars that you and I send in are only a small portion of the money being contributed to candidates. Of greater concern is the money given by corporations, trade associations, political action committees, unions—all attempting to have influence over their chosen candidates.

    Jan. 21 is the 14th anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the Supreme Court ruling that is widely recognized as ushering in all this money. After Citizens United, we saw the creation of SuperPACs and “dark money”— donations that are made in secret— making it almost impossible to follow the money.

    History tells us that this problem started long before Citizens United. In 1886, the Supreme Court gave standing to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company under the 14th Amendment. Later decisions added the 4th Amendment, the Commerce Clause, the 1st Amendment and more. Political spending became a form of free speech in 1976, thus protecting corporate entities from spending restrictions.

    Move to Amend is an organization dedicated to ending corporate constitutional rights and money as a protected form of speech. We have legislation in the U.S. House to amend the Constitution, the We the People Amendment, HJR 54. Ask your representative to co-sponsor. Learn more about our efforts and sign our petition at movetoamend.org/motion.

    - Mary Sue Gmeiner, Dayton

    https://www.daytondailynews.com/ideas-voices/letters-to-the-editor-jan-20-2024/PCVNB7SQEZF4JFYJRH7K2I5RGI/


  • Overturning Citizens United won’t be enough to restore citizens’ political voice

    Cleveland.com | Published: Jan. 10, 2024

    The Jan. 21, 2010, “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision has reduced democracy in our country. Federal election spending was $14.4 billion in 2020, up from nearly $5.3 billion in 2008, according to Open Secrets. The flood of spending by the super-rich and corporate entities has drowned the political voices of most people.

    It’s a mistake, however, to believe that the following originated with Citizens United:

    Read more

  • A proposal to restore power to the American people

    Chronicle Telegram: Elyria and Lorain County Ohio

    January 13, 2024

    The anniversary of the Citizens United vs. FEC decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is coming up on Jan. 21. It will be 14 years since that damaging ruling was made.

    Citizens United is simply the latest in a long line of anti-democratic Supreme Court decisions that have empowered the super rich and corporations to trump the ability of we the people to make decisions protecting our lives, communities and the natural world. What’s needed is not simply a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen United, but rather the proposed We the People Amendment that  would abolish the bizarre constitutional doctrines of “money equals speech” and “a corporation is a person.”

    We need to put the people back in we the people. The We the People Amendment (House Joint Resolution 54) has been introduced in Congress. Please encourage U.S Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, or your representative to co-sponsor it.

    Kathleen Hazelton

    Oberlin


Greg Coleridge

Greg Coleridge

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