Greg Coleridge published We're no longer working to introduce the 28th Amendment in Announcements 2022-10-06 07:40:12 -0700
We're no longer working to introduce the 28th Amendment
Did we get your attention?
The title suggests that we’ve ended our support for the We the People Amendment (HJR48).
Nothing could be further from the truth!
We continue to educate, advocate and organize wholeheartedly to pass the We the People Amendment to end political corruption due to money spent in elections that’s protected constitutionally as “free speech” and to end all forms of corporate rule due to corporations that’s protected constitutionally as “persons.” Both constitutional doctrines are bizarre and need to be abolished as essential steps toward We the People having the power to create policies that benefit us all, our communities and to ensure a livable world.
However, from this point forward, National Move to Amend will no longer refer to HJR48 as the “proposed 28th Amendment.”
Greg Coleridge published Ending Dark Money in Elections is a Start in Announcements 2022-09-27 11:34:28 -0700
Ending Dark Money in Elections is a Start
Elections are not only about candidates and issues. They’re also, as always, about money. BIG money.
It’s estimated that total spending on the November midterm elections will top $9.3 billion, which will surpass the midterm record of $7.1 billion in 2018.
Political donations are made directly to candidate committees, organizations like political parties that donate to candidates, Political Action Committees (PACs), and Super PACS. They’re also made to “social welfare” organizations and trade associations, which by law don’t have to disclose individual or corporate/organizational donors. This “dark money” that shields donors is used to wage outside “independent” (i.e. not supposed to be coordinated with the candidates that they are supporting) campaigns – most of which are used to fund distorting “issue” attack ads. Dark money spending is soaring in elections. Though difficult to compute, it’s estimated that dark money groups “received $2 billion to $4 billion during the 2008 to 2018 election cycles.”
Last week, Senate Republicans blocked efforts to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which would have forced the disclosure of corporate and billionaire donors of dark money sources. Earlier this month, however, the Democratic National Committee panel refused to allow a vote on banning dark money in democratic primary campaigns – despite an onslaught on dark money that flooded into democratic primary campaigns targeting more progressive candidates.
This comes on the heels of the massive $1.6 billion donation by a secretive Chicago industrialist to a non-profit run by Leonard Leo, the architect of the right-wing takeover of the federal courts – some of which will be spent on elections.
Passing the DISCLOSE Act in Congress and a DNC ban on dark money in primary elections were missed opportunities. Both should happen next year.
The right to know the funding sources of political ads is a democratic necessity. But transparency by itself means little if mega wealthy individuals and corporate entities that don’t represent the interests of the vast majority of people are all the political voices we hear.
Yes, “dark” money is a big problem. But so is “light” money.
The never-ending increase in election spending – be it “dark” money or from sources we well know, is due to the decades-long constitutional ruling that political spending in elections by individuals and organizations is “free speech,” protected by the First Amendment. Abolishing “money is speech” is one part of HJR48, the We the People Amendment that with your help has secured, to date, 94 Congressional co-sponsors.
Yet, democracy is more than elections. It’s also about governing – the right to decide policies, plans and programs.
Abolishing “dark money” spending and even “money as speech” only impacts elections. Having more representative representatives by itself isn’t enough if they are limited or boxed in by constitutional limitations preventing them from improving people’s lives and communities.
Corporate rule would remain potent even without First Amendment “free speech” rights due to the corporate hijacking of Constitutional Amendments that were intended to apply exclusively to human beings.
Democratically enacted policies, plans and programs by representative representatives (or directly by individuals via ballot initiatives), for example, seeking to:
√ Label harmful ingredients on food packaging have been overturned in court as a violation of corporate First Amendment “right” not to speak
√ Ensure safe working conditions through regulatory inspections have been overturned in court as a violation of corporate Fourth Amendment search and seizure “rights.”
√ Favor local businesses over chain stores have been overturned in court as a violation of corporate Fourteenth Amendment equal protection “rights.”
√ Saving the climate by forcing fossil fuels to be kept in the ground and not burned could be overturned in court as a violation of corporate Fifth Amendment takings “rights.”
For these reasons, ALL corporate constitutional rights – not just First Amendment free speech – must end, as stipulated in the #WeThePeopleAmendment.
It’s not just dark money. It’s money as speech.
It’s not just elections. It’s governing – the right to decide – which is unattainable so long as corporations possess constitutional rights.
Shelly, George, Leila, Daniel, Saleem, Jessica, Joni, Milly, Keyan, Jason, Jennie, Tara, Alfonso & Greg
- Move to Amend National Team
Greg Coleridge published Letter: Public invited to speak about money in politics at Democracy Day hearing in Kent in Announcements 2022-09-26 09:51:20 -0700
Letter: Public invited to speak about money in politics at Democracy Day hearing in Kent
Record Courier / Kent, Ohio / Sept 25, 2022
Democracy Day public hearing
Our election system is broken because of the destructive influences of money in politics and the misguided notion that corporations may claim constitutional rights. With these rights, they are able to spend tremendous amounts of dark money through organizations and PACs to support the candidates who will serve their needs. And their primary need is profit. While profits are essential in a capitalist system, the needs of “we the people” should be primary since we are also a democracy.Read more
Greg Coleridge published The September 11 Lesson on Creating Change in Announcements 2022-09-11 15:00:15 -0700
The September 11 Lesson on Creating Change
Much will be said, remembered and commemorated on this day, the 21st anniversary of the tragedies on September 11, 2001.
While there are many lessons from what happened prior to, during and following that day, there’s one take-a-way that should never be forgotten: the political and economic power elite never lets a tragedy, catastrophe or crisis go to waste to further attempt to increase their political and/or economic dominance.
In the case of September 11, a major success in this vein was the Patriot Act, passed soon afterwards to supposedly enhance “national security” to catch “terrorists,” specifically Middle Eastern Muslims inside the United States. While some of its provisions were intended to address problems that predated 9/11, most of the others allowed the government to more easily and effectively violate the privacy rights of innocent citizens and residents. These included tracking the activities of people on the Internet, compiling credit and bank records and expanding the monitoring of phone and email communications. September 11 was just a pretext by the government to enact unprecedented violations of civil rights and surveillance expansion that were labeled as “un-American” prior to 9/11.Read more
Greg Coleridge published Video: Dennis Kucinich on Pulling the Plug on FirstEnergy Corporation in Ohio News 2022-08-30 10:18:10 -0700
Video: Dennis Kucinich on Pulling the Plug on FirstEnergy Corporation
FirstEnergy’s headquarters in Akron. Source: Google Maps.
August 23, 2022
Presentation by and discussion with Dennis Kucinich
Former Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio State Senator, U.S. Congressperson and Presidential Candidate
Author of The Division of Light and Power
Sponsored by Ohio Move to Amend
Greg Coleridge published Build Solidarity with Unions this Labor Day in Announcements 2022-08-17 13:14:10 -0700
Build Solidarity with Unions this Labor Day
Labor Day is a terrific opportunity for Move to Amenders to make personal and issue connections with working members of Labor Unions and other working people. Many fundamental rights and protections of working people (e.g. the weekend, 8-hour work day, collective bargaining, end of child labor, employer-based health coverage, workplace safety) came into being because working people organized powerful movements that created positive change.Read more
Greg Coleridge published A Movement Coopted - Going beyond a “Citizens United Amendment” in Announcements 2022-07-17 08:25:02 -0700
A Movement Coopted - Going beyond a “Citizens United Amendment”
It's happening again...
You may have received a recent mailing from a national group calling for reversing the 2010 Citizens United vs FEC Supreme Court decision. Enclosed was this U.S. map showing by state the number of communities that have passed resolutions, in this case, supporting a “Citizens United Amendment.”
The number of resolutions totals more than 800.
The map is extremely misleading. It gives the impression that the resolutions primarily address Citizens United.
The reality is that the vast majority of the passed resolutions by municipal governments and citizens at the ballot box affirm that the rights protected under the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only or end corporate constitutional rights or corporate personhood and some variation that money spent in elections is not First Amendment-protected free speech. Most don’t directly mention Citizens United.Read more
Greg Coleridge published Supreme Court Threatens EPA Regulations to Benefit Fossil Fuel Corporations in Announcements 2022-06-29 07:01:00 -0700
Supreme Court Threatens EPA Regulations to Benefit Fossil Fuel Corporations
by Jasmin Enciu
The Supreme Court is set to decide one of the most consequential environmental cases it has heard in decades. West 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
Greg Coleridge 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
Greg Coleridge published People’s Hearing for a Factory Farm Moratorium - video in Iowa News 2022-06-21 15:25:30 -0700
People’s Hearing for a Factory Farm Moratorium - video
Greg Coleridge published Outline for People’s Hearing on Factory Farms in Iowa News 2022-06-21 15:11:38 -0700
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
Greg Coleridge published Experts Join Farmers, Advocates and Legislators For People’s Hearing on Urgent Need for Factory Farm Moratorium in Iowa in Iowa News 2022-06-21 15:04:14 -0700
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.
Greg Coleridge published Summary of Testimony from Cleveland Heights’ 9th Annual Democracy Day in Ohio News 2022-06-16 09:53:39 -0700
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
Greg Coleridge 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.
Greg Coleridge 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 2 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.
Check out the Leaderboard here!
The next Summer Signature Saturday is this Saturday!
Can you commit to collecting signatures wherever you this Saturday? 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
- 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.
Want to participate but cannot get out this weekend?
Another way to engage is by asking people to sign the petition via your personalized link. Everyone that signs the petition from your link will be credited to you.
You can find your personal recruiter link here: https://www.movetoamend.org/recruit
Email [email protected] if you plan to collect petition signatures . We’ll send further details before the date.
Thank you for helping Move to Amend grow and build power for helping create real democracy!
Greg Coleridge published NewburghHeightsOH: Democracy Day Public Hearing Report in Ohio News 2022-04-07 12:57:12 -0700
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
Greg Coleridge published Remarks at Cleveland Rally for Peace in Europe in Ohio News 2022-04-03 07:14:27 -0700
Remarks at Cleveland Rally for Peace in Europe
Remarks by Greg ColeridgeSaturday, April 2, Market Square Park
Greg Coleridge published Charter Revocation of FirstEnergy Corporation in Ohio News 2022-03-31 06:28:04 -0700
Charter Revocation of FirstEnergy Corporation
January 3, 2022
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
Greg Coleridge 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.
Greg Coleridge published TOLEDO, OH: Democracy Day returns to Council Chambers in Ohio News 2022-03-29 08:35:20 -0700
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
Working Together for Real People Power
Why I support Move to Amend
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!