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

  • published Clarence Thomas crows his innocence in Announcements 2023-06-09 05:22:08 -0700

    Clarence Thomas crows his innocence

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas claims it’s no big deal that he received lavish gifts and travel for more than 20 years from billionaire Harlan Crow. They claim they’re just “dearest friends.” Thomas crows that his friend “did not have business before the court.” Crow crows he’s never received anything in return. 

    Read more

  • Help stop corporations from preempting local democracy

    Question: What do the following realities have in common: raising the minimum wage, protecting worker safety, controlling money in politics, preventing fracking, regulating guns, providing paid leave, providing municipal broadband, outlawing loan sharking, rent controls, increasing business taxes, and even banning the use of plastic bags?'

    The answer is, of course, preemption – the overturning of local laws by either a state legislature or federal court. Local laws intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of local residents and communities – whether enacted by local elected officials or citizen-driven ballot initiatives – are invalidated. 

    Hundreds of these and other laws across the country are being challenged across the country. 

    Read more

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

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

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

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  • South Euclid holds fourth biannual Democracy Day while striving for elusive 28th Amendment

    South Euclid Democracy Day organizer and emcee Madelon Watts speaks to those assembled for the biannual event Tuesday at the South Euclid Community Center. (Jeff Piorkowski, special to cleveland.com)

    by
    https://www.cleveland.com/community/2023/05/south-euclid-holds-fourth-biannual-democracy-day-while-striving-for-elusive-28th-amendment.html

    SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio -- In 2016, 77 percent of South Euclid voters approved Issue 201, which called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with constitutional rights, that money is not equivalent to speech and that regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.

    Issue 201 also stated that, in order to see through the potential 28th Amendment to the Constitution stating the above goals, a Democracy Day Public Hearing event would be held every two years, during which residents would make their claims as to why corporations are not people.

    Read more

  • OHIO: Democracy Day Public Testimony | Toledo

    TOLEDO CITY HALL | MARCH 23, 2023
    ----------------------------------------------------

    Dennis Slotnick

    Today we are gathered to proclaim that a for-profit Corporation is not the same as a person and that money is not the same as free speech.

    I speak for all the members of the two cosponsoring groups: Our Revolution in Northwest Ohio and Toledo Move to Amend. Thank you City Council for the recent passage of Move to Amend resolution and Medicare for all Resolution coming partly as a result of Democracy Days 2021 and Democracy Day 2022. You now join 22 states, and 800 cities and towns, who have also passed Move To Amend resolutions.

    These communities understand what President Jimmy Carter declared. Let us take a moment to honor President Carter as he has just entered hospice care in Georgia. These are some of his words about the Citizens United 2010 Supreme court decision:

    • Citizens United has turned America into an “oligarchy with unlimited political bribery.”
    • Citizens United “violates the essence” of our democracy and represents “the biggest change in America” since he was elected in 1976.
    • Citizens United has left everyday Americans “cheated out of” the chance to make their lives better.
    • Citizens United has led to “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.”
    Read more

  • Democracy Day: Activist targets climate, corporate personhood

    By: Larry Limpf News Editor

    [email protected]


    Issues ranging from the climate and corporate malfeasance, to health care and the health of Lake Erie, were front and center at One Government Center in Toledo Thursday for the observance of Democracy Day 2023.

    The day was established by voter initiative in 2016 and requires the mayor and city council hold a public hearing and let the citizenry voice its concerns on the impact of political contributions from corporations, unions, and PACs on the city and the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision in Citizens United v. FEC. That decision held that corporations and other associations are protected by the First Amendment and election spending is the equivalent of speech.

    Within two weeks after the Toledo hearing, the mayor is directed to send a letter to the Toledo members and leaders of the state legislature and Toledo’s congressional delegation, calling for a constitutional amendment to eliminate what some activists call “corporate personhood” resulting from the Citizens United decision.

    Read more

  • How to stop the latest banking crisis and ongoing democracy crisis

    Several banks have collapsed over the last several weeks.

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

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


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

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

    Read more

  • Stopping child labor laws -- and corporate rule

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

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

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

    IOWA

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

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

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

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

    OHIO

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

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

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

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

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

    Take Action!

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

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

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

    √ Get more involved with Move to Amend:

    Stand United,

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

    - Move to Amend National Team

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


  • OHIO: RELEASE: Citizens Testify at Local Public Hearings in Ohio to End Corrupt Elections & Corporate Rule

    PRESS RELEASE

    For immediate release, March 23, 2023

    Contacts: Greg Coleridge, [email protected], 216-255-2184 | Dennis Slotnick, [email protected], 419-704-1863 | Brad Deane, [email protected], 440-488-1109 | Madelon Watts, [email protected], 216-291-4450 | Robert S. Belovich, [email protected], 440-503-8770 

    Citizens Testify at Local Public Hearings in Ohio to End Corrupt Elections and Corporate Rule

    Twelve public hearings are taking place in Ohio this year on the corruption resulting from the explosion of money spent in political elections and multiple harms due to increasing corporate power to influence elections and public policies.

    The hearings are a result of citizen-driven ballot initiatives organized by supporters of the national Move to Amend Coalition working to pass the We the People Amendment (HJR48), introduced again this year in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D, WA).

    Read more

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

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

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

    Here are 20 “democratic” reflections.

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

    Read more

  • East Palestine Train Derailment Caused and Worsened by Real Democracy Derailment

    March 9, 2023

    By Greg Coleridge

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

    Private ownership of railroads

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

    No community rights

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

    Read more

  • East Palestine train catastrophe shows why corporations aren't 'people'| Opinion

    Sandra Bolzenius
    Guest Columnist, March 7, 2023

    If ordinary people had a say on the factors, would last month's train derailment in East Palestine have happened?

    Who among us would exempt companies from fully disclosing the contents of their toxic cargo?

    Who would permit a train of 150 cars to operate with a crew of just two — and then deny railroad workers paid sick days? Which of us would even consider reversing a safety mandate to install new brake systems?

    My guess is that nary a soul would agree to these or any conditions that put others at risk. That is not what people do.

    Empowered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s stance that they are “people,” corporations push policies that reflect values very different than ours. Real people care about family, communities, the environment, and a sustainable future.

    Read more

  • VOICES: Protecting the public from corporate harm

    Protecting public welfare is a primary function of government, right?

    When professionals such as doctors and lawyers break the law or violate standards of acceptable behavior, they aren’t just slapped with a fine, told to replace their office managers, and allowed to go back to business as usual. In the interest of public safety, state regulators hold these professionals accountable by suspending or revoking their license to practice.

    But how do we hold a multibillion-dollar corporation accountable for misconduct or criminal activity in a way that also protects the best interests of the public?

    I’m talking about FirstEnergy, the Akron-based utility company behind the largest public corruption scandal in Ohio history. The scandal involved Larry Householder, former speaker of the Ohio House, and Generation Now, a 501(c)(4) “social-welfare” nonprofit that can keep its donors hidden, or “in the dark.”

    Read more

  • published East Palestine in Announcements 2023-03-31 09:01:34 -0700

    East Palestine Train Derailment Caused and Worsened by Real Democracy Derailment

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

    Private ownership of railroads

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

    No community rights

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

    Read more

  • OHIO: Move to Amend "Democracy Day" Public Hearings - 2023

    Mandated municipally-sponsored public hearings following the passage of ballot initiatives organized by Move to Amenders. The initiatives had two components. [1] Municipalities were required to sponsor a public hearing, dubbed "Democracy Day" hearings, inviting residents and/or anyone to testify on the impact money in politics and corporate rule on their lives, communities or world. Congress that voters in these communities, and [2] Municipalities were required to send a letter to all state and federal elected officials representing their area summarizing the hearing and informing them that the voters of that municipality voted in support of a Constitutional Amendment to abolish all corporate constitutional rights and money defined as free speech. Several communities were considered more politically "conservative" or "moderate." 

    Below is a schedule as of this date of hearings that have already taken place or are planned.

    Read more

  • [OHIO] Move to Amend Ohio Democracy Day Public Hearings - 2023

    COMMUNITY "DEMOCRACY DAY" PUBIC HEARINGS

    2023 Schedule 

    _______________________________________________

    Defiance

    February 9, 7 pm

    Defiance City Hall 

    Recording at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GToGp15IxC4

    Contact: Dolores Whitman, Contact: [email protected], 419-633-9031 

    Mentor

    February 15, 5:30 pm

    Mentor Municipal Center, Council Chambers

    Recording?

    Contact: Dave Lima, [email protected], 440-220-0204

    Read more


  • published Other Amendments (2022 Archive) in Other Amendments 2023-02-03 09:29:45 -0800

    Other Amendments (2022 Archive)

    How Move to Amend Stands Out from the Crowd

    While it is exciting to see the flurry of momentum and energy that is finally getting some traction in a small segment of Congress, Move to Amend is very clear that it is important that we not let our goals be diluted by our legislators in Washington, even by those who mean well and want to see reform in our political system.

    Passing an amendment will be a tough job, so the language must be commensurate with the effort needed to win, and the amendment must be strong and clear enough to end corporate rule - there's no room here for half solutions or ambiguity.

    It is our belief that we need to operate on the assumption that once an Amendment comes out of Congress we won't get another shot. So we MUST get it right!

    With many competing proposals, it can be confusing to figure out what is what in terms of what the proposals will actually do. We have prepared a summary of each of the amendments proposed, including what is missing from each one.

    We also encourage you to check out our article, "How Corporate Constitutional Rights Harm You, Your Family, Your Community, Your Environment, and Your Democracy" to explain why we feel so strongly that half-way solutions cannot be accepted.

    Click here to read Move to Amend's "We the People" Amendment proposal (House Joint Resolution 48) that will clearly establish that money is not speech, corporations are not people, and allows for no loopholes. Our amendment will put people in charge of our government, and corporations in their proper place.

    Proposed Amendments (117th Congress)


    "Democracy for All" Amendment Proposal 

    • Introduced on January 4, 2021 in the House of Representative by Rep. Ted Deutch (FL) and in the Senate by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
    • Read the text and explanation here: H.J. Res. 1 / S.J. Res 25
    • Organizations involved: American Promise, Public Citizen, People for the American Way, Free Speech for People, Common Cause

    What it does:

    • Asserts that Congress and the States (a) may regulate and limit the amount for campaign contributions and expenditures and (b) may distinguish between natural persons and artificial entities when creating campaign finance legislation.

    What’s missing:

    • Does not end corporate constitutional rights under 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments
    • Does not end political money equals protected speech under 1st Amendment

    Side-by-Side Comparison: Move to Amend's We The People Amendment, (HJR 48) and the Democracy for All Amendment (HJR 1 / SJR 25) - 2 page handout


    Schiff Amendment Proposal

    • Introduced on March 24, 2022 in the Senate by Sen. Adam Schiff (CA)
    • Read the text and explanation here: H.J.R. 80
    • Organizations involved: ??

    What it does:

    • Asserts that Congress or the states have the right to impose reasonable limits on private campaign contributions or independent election expenditures or can enact systems of public campaign financing to offset campaign spending or independent expenditures

    What’s missing:

    • Does not end political money equals protected speech under 1st Amendment
    • Does not end corporate constitutional rights under 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments

    Tester Amendment Proposal

    • Introduced on March 15, 2021 in the Senate by Sen. Jon Tester (MT)
    • Read the text and explanation here: S.J. Res. 11
    • Organizations involved: Free Speech for People

    What it does:

    • Asserts that corporations are not people

    What’s missing:

    • Does not address political money equals protected speech under 1st Amendment
    • Does not address campaign spending 


    Click here to read Move to Amend's proposed amendment that will clearly establish that money is not speech, a corporation is not a person, all corporations are subject to regulation, all campaign contributions will be disclosed and allows for no loopholes. Our amendment will put people in charge of our government, and corporations in their proper place.

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW ANALYSIS OF 2019/2020 AMENDMENT PROPOSALS (116th Congress)

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW ANALYSIS OF 2017/2018 AMENDMENT PROPOSALS (115th Congress)

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW ANALYSIS OF 2015/2016 AMENDMENT PROPOSALS (114th Congress)

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW ANALYSIS OF 2013/2014 AMENDMENT PROPOSALS (113th Congress)

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW ANALYSIS OF 2011/2012 AMENDMENT PROPOSALS (112th Congress)


  • published A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PLAN in Virginia News 2023-01-26 09:00:42 -0800

    A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PLAN

    By Kenneth Boche

    With continuing threats to our democracy, we must consider what Constitutional changes can help us live up to the Pledge of Allegiance which virtually all U.S. citizens have promised: “…liberty and justice for all.”

    With the costs, plus the greed for power, that control our elections, individuals are discouraged from voting by gerrymandering, by restricted voting times, and by drop-off and mail-in ballot options. This discrimination does not align with “…liberty and justice for all.” 

    During our country’s founding, “We the people” meant “living humans.” When the “robber barons” invented corporations to build railroads and other industries, those corporations had limited lifetimes. Now, corporations are chartered forever, so they are, obviously, not “real people.”

    The first step toward more equitable constitutional changes is to pass the www.movetoamend.org amendment that reaffirms “people” to mean living humans as our Founders intended. Included in that amendment is “Money is not free speech.” Our Founders reserved “free speech” for living individuals.

    Read more


Greg Coleridge

Greg Coleridge

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