Jennie C Spanos

Why I support Move to Amend

I have a deep passion and focus on environmental and social justice issues. This organizing leads me to collaborate with various intersectional grassroots movements building for a just and sustainable future. 

The power reaped from the insane notion of corporate constitutional rights exists in tandem with structural oppression and environmental degradation and is found as a cause of so many injustices. Move to Amend and the #WeThePeopleAmendment strikes at the root of that reality.


How I've supported Move to Amend

  • TRAINING: Promoting Laws to Reduce Corporate Power and Increase Democracy


    Move to Amend’s primary goal has always been to end the influence of money in politics and corporate constitutional rights through a constitutional amendment based on the conviction that only change achieved through an amendment is lasting.

    Yet, Move to Amend has never opposed strategic legal steppingstones. These are more immediately attainable proposed laws that expand democratic possibilities, especially those that directly reduce the power of corporate entities from hijacking the political process. Reforms, however, should always be put in context: that they are mere laws that can be legally reversed and can’t overturn the constitutional doctrines that a corporation is a person and political money equals free speech.

    Many Move to Amend supporters have asked what they can do if they’ve already worked with others to pass a ballot initiative or municipal resolution, secured organizational endorsements, circulated the MTA petition and organized educational programs. While there’s ALWAYS more of these that can be achieved, statutes (laws) restraining corporations, particularly at the state level, offer several differing strategic opportunities.

    The 90-minute training will be on Zoom Wednesday, October 11 at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET
    RSVP now to save your spot!


    • Why promote statutory/legal anti-corporate/pro-democratic reforms?
    • Description/rationale for 4 proposed state-level reforms 
      • Corporate Three Strikes 
      • Charter Revocation/Quo Warranto
      • Require Shareholder Vote Before Political Donations Made with Corporate Funds
      • Prohibiting foreign-influenced corporations from spending money in elections
    • The basics of lobbying at the state level
    • Sharing of available resources – and how we can help
    • Questions and discussion
    October 11, 2023 at 5:00pm

  • Rights and Privileges Timeline Exercise

    Rights and Privileges Timeline Exercise

    By Ashley Sanders, Move to Amend

    (90 minutes)

    Download exercise instructions as PDF (handouts available for download at the end of this article)

    Purpose: To make the connection between personhood, law, rights and privileges. To help people understand why Move to Amend’s fight must include a commitment to dismantle racism in order to be fully effective.

    Materials Needed:

    • Tape (if posting it to a wall, otherwise people can hold the cards and stand in front of the room)
    • Three color-coded stacks of printed timeline pages (best to print on cardstock): one for corporate rights, one for human rights, and one for white privilege. Each card will have the date and name of a historic event/law on the front and a description on the back.


    Move to Amend has two goals that cannot be separated from each other: to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech, and to build a democracy movement across issues and oppressions that works together to replace our current corporate system with a system of justice for all. Whatever issues you in this room might work on, we want to collaborate with you to create a whole new system. We want to ask what new laws, cultures, founding documents and alternatives we’d need to go beyond the amendment and actually create a new world. But it’s easy to get too focused on our first goal alone: amending the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech. Today we are going to do some exercises together to answer the following questions:

    • Why do we need a democracy movement to both pass and build on our amendment? Why can’t we just focus on the amendment and be done with it?
    • Why do we need to build movements across race, class and gender? It sounds nice, but what does it have to do with Move to Amend?
    • Why is the amendment alone not enough?

    To answer that, we first have to talk about personhood.

    • Can someone tell me what being a legal person means?
    • How does one become a legal person? Who has the power to grant this?

    Push people to recognize that personhood is granted by law.

    “Alright, so personhood is created by law. Does anyone know what percentage of Americans were considered people at the time of the ratification of the Constitution?”

    Let folks answer. If the don’t get it right, say, “About 5-8 percent. That means that almost 95 percent of people--women, poor folks, Native Americans, African Americans, and indentured servants--didn’t count as people.

    But why does this matter? Obviously, they were people, so why did they need the law to recognize them? What’s so powerful about being a legal person?

    Gather answers from the group.  Push folks to recognize the relationship between law, power and culture.

    “We live in a world where corporations have the rights of legal persons. But how did corporations get these rights, and what specific rights did they get?”

    Pass out the corporate rights note cards to people in the group. Ask everyone with a notecard to come in front of the room and self-organize into chronological order. When everyone is lined up, ask folks to read their card aloud and then tape it above the timeline.

    When everyone has read, ask folks to sit down and discuss.

    • Why do corporations want rights?
    • Why did they go through the law?
    • What happens to our economy and democracy when corporations have the same rights as persons?”

    Listen to people’s answer, then recap/follow up.

    “Law is a big deal because law is power. Law also influences culture. Being a legal person gives someone the backing of the state and legitimacy in the culture. This two-way relationship between law and culture that can dramatically affect someone’s perceived value, their decision-making power, their safety, their livelihood and their opportunities. So when corporations became people, they not only got the power to count and decide on our democracy, they received the added benefits of cultural legitimacy--the idea that they deserve to participate and decide. This gives them tremendous power to control our government and squash resistance efforts. But remember, their power is not inevitable, it’s constructed. They are creatures of law and culture, and if you take away their legal rights, you affect their cultural power, too. You can dismantle their power.

    That’s what we’re doing in the Move to Amend movement. We are working to amend the Constitution to overturn corporations’ legal rights, and we are building a movement to change this corporate culture.

    But what power do we have? What about the 95% of people who didn’t count as legal persons at the time of the Constitution? They, too, wanted the rights of legal persons so that they could protect their land, their labor and their dignity. Molly Ivins has said that the whole history of the United States can be seen as groups of people forming social movements to drive themselves into the phrase We the People. So how did that happen?”

    Pass out the People’s Rights cards and repeat the process for corporate rights. Have people line up, read their card aloud, and then stick them on the butcher paper below the timeline.

    Ask for people’s reactions to the people’s rights portion of the timeline, and how the people’s timeline relates to the corporate power timeline.

    • Why did these movements make it a point to get personhood in addition to their other strategies?

    Push people to recognize that movements have used law to change culture and culture to change the law. For example, the Civil Rights movement won some important legal victories, but to do that they changed the race culture of the country through education, civil disobedience, and radical self-respect. Similarly, their legal victories helped affirm their cultural victories and enforce them, so that even people who had not been transformed by their culture work had to be at least somewhat accountable to the law.

    Make sure people recognize that these movements weren’t using the law as their sole tactic. Ask people what the real goal of the women’s suffrage movement was. It wasn’t voting, it was full female equality. Similarly, the Civil Rights movement was not merely pushing for the right to vote, it was fighting for full racial equality. Stress that law is a tool for enforcing a movement, but movements are also tools for enforcing the law.

    Many movements kept their sights on their real transformative goal of liberation, but other movements got distracted and allowed their legal demands and victories to replace their fight for liberation. Ask if Move to Amend’s goal is just an amendment, or something bigger. Push people to realize that our movement is also using the law to rally around a much larger fight for liberation from corporate rule. We don’t just want money out of politics. We are fighting for the power to decide, the power to transform culture, the power to replace the corporate system with a human and humane system. We cannot get so caught up in the fight for the amendment that we forget that we need a movement to both pass it and enforce it, then build a new world on its foundations.

    • What happens to people’s rights when corporations have rights, too?

    Move on to the third set of cards and pass them out to the participants.

    “Most of us in Move to Amend know the basic story of these two timelines. We are fighting corporate rule by forming a people’s movement to demand our rights. But there is one more timeline that we have to address if we really want to understand how power and law have worked in this country.”

    Before reading, point out that this timeline will deal with race, but we could have also created a timeline to deal with class, gender, ability, etc. We are using one timeline to make a larger point about oppression in general.

    Ask people to be silent as they listen to the cards being read. Have people line up in chronological order and read the last set of cards, then sit down to debrief.

    Ask for initial reactions and then move deeper.

    • How many of you knew about this history?
    • How does it make you feel?
    • How are whiteness and privilege, like corporate rights, creations of the law?
    • What are the impacts on our democracy as a result of the legal creations of whiteness?
    • And finally, how does the legal creation of white privilege affect our work to create a democracy movement?

    People will have lots of answers. Ask about the phrase “restoring democracy.”

    What does this phrase mean to most people of color and poor people in this country?
    Why does it make sense to white people?

    “We know it's a problem that we left people out of We the People, and we know it's a problem that the Courts gave corporations rights. This harms everyone. But what about the relationship between the law, white privilege, corporate rule and human rights? Because corporate rule harms some groups disproportionately, and democracy has never been available to most people. Rights can be used for good or bad purposes. In the case of social movements, rights protect. In the case of white privilege and corporate rule, rights can harm.”

    “At Move to Amend we are building a people’s movement to demand a real democracy with human rights for all. To do that, we are working to pass an amendment.“

    Ask someone to come up to the timeline and attach a card that says We the People Amendment, 20__? to the end of the People’s Rights timeline.

    “And what if we did that? If the amendment passed, corporations would no longer have rights!”

    Ask someone to come and take down all the Corporate Rights note cards.

    “So we’ve won, right? We have a real democracy, don’t we? No? Well then, what’s the problem?”

    Listen to people brainstorm answers. Push people to talk about what remains on the timeline: a whole history of white privilege encoded in law. Wrap up.

    “Even if we are successful in winning this amendment, we won’t live in a real democracy unless we work to dismantle the 300 years of laws that gave white people privilege and power over people of color, even under a corporate system that harmed everyone. We have to organize for real justice, and we can’t do that if we’re still hanging on to our advantages. We also can’t fully fight corporate rule unless we know all its consequences, but white privilege keeps white folks from having to know the worst effects of corporate rule.

    That’s why we have to take the lead in our organizing from groups led by working class folks and people of color, as well as other marginalized groups. We need to understand what we don’t understand about how corporate rule affects immigration, prisons, healthcare, labor and the environment, and we need to know this from the people who know it best. Finally, look at all the social movements that came before ours. Did they secure full justice for everyone? No. They are ongoing. Often they were splintered by issues of race, class, gender and geography.

    We in Move to Amend want to continue the good work of past struggles by collaborating with people from impacted communities, and we want to fight against the forces that have been used in the past to divide us. If we can do that, we will win--not just in Washington but in our everyday, material lives. We need a movement because we want to create a new world. We can’t deal with just one aspect of corporate power or one aspect of justice. They are all interconnected and we must build a movement to do the work that is larger than any of our movements alone.

    The elites are watching our progress and they are afraid. When we start to succeed, they will try to divide us in every way we can. We need to be strong, united and committed in our demands for structural change. If we do that, we will win. If we don’t, we will lose even if we win."


  • published Donate (main) 2023-05-09 17:55:23 -0700

  • published Fundraising Coordinator in Announcements 2023-04-03 10:37:56 -0700

    We are hiring a new Fundraising Coordinator!

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

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

    Read more

  • published Hale v Henkel (2023) in Announcements 2023-03-16 08:55:02 -0700

    Hale v Henkel (2023)

    Hale v. Henkel, probably one of the most cited cases (over 1,600 times), was decided by the United States Supreme Court on this day, in 1906.

    ...117 years later, Hale v Henkel keeps granting Corporations an ill-gotten right to privacy. 

    As we all know, Corporations are not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, but thanks to the rulings of activist Supreme Court Justices, Corporations hijacked the Constitution and Rights that were intended only for individuals. Hale v Henkel is a prime example. 

    In this case, the SCOTUS established the power of a federal grand jury engaged in an investigation into corporate misconduct to require the corporation in question to surrender its records.

    The Ruling: 

    "An order for the production of books and papers may constitute an unreasonable search and seizure within the Fourth Amendment. While a search ordinarily implies a quest by an officer of the law, and a seizure contemplates a forcible dispossession of the owner, still the substance of the offense is the compulsory production of private papers, whether under a search warrant or a subpoena duces tecum, against which the person, be [an] individual or corporation, is entitled to protection."


    Read more

  • Will you help push your Rep to co-sponsor the #WeThePeopleAmendment?

    The #WeThePeopleAmendment will be introduced in Congress sometime in the next few weeks.

    This amendment makes clear that only human beings have Constitutional rights (not corporations) and that money is not speech so that campaign spending can be regulated and big money can be eliminated from the political process.

    This critical amendment is necessary to move forward on just about every other issue you care about, from climate change to election integrity to police brutality and human rights!

    Our goal is to get at least 100 co-sponsors on the #WeThePeopleAmendment -- so we need at least 3-5 constituents in each district to hold a successful lobby meeting... sign up below!

    The meetings will all be virtual and online and will take about 20-30 mins. Move to Amend organizers will help you prepare for the meeting and work with you to ensure it is a success!

    What is needed to participate:

    • High speed internet and computer with video capability (if this is a challenge for you, let us know and we will see if we can make it work)
    • A passion for passing the #WeThePeopleAmendment to end corporate rule and get big money out of politics
    • 1-2 hours to prepare your statement during the meeting and join a prep call with Move to Amend organizers and other volunteers 
    • 20-30 minutes during a week day (between 9am-5pm ET) for the meeting with your Representative and/or a member of their staff (to be scheduled by their office)

    Can we count you in to join the meeting?

    Sign up

  • Building Alliances with Communities of Color (May 2012)

    Not sure how to reach out to communities of color in your town? Start by doing some internal work with your group first. We'll discuss some pointers and tools you can use to get started.

    Agenda (supplemental info downloadable by clicking links below)


    Take Action Webinar:

    These online trainings are an opportunity for folks to connect with Move to Amend and learn about organizing tools and campaign opportunities, and to connect with other MTA community organizers across the country.

    All are welcome - no past experience required!

    Due to outdated third-party technology made prior to June 2013, there's nothing we can do about the audio quality. All of our latest webinars are recorded with newer technology that provides better quality.

  • Ending Corporate Constitutional Rights (“Corporate Personhood”) is a Conservative Issue – 10 Reasons

    1. Corporations aren’t mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. The Bill of Rights and other Amendments were intended to apply solely to human beings. Governments originally created corporate entities (i.e. business corporations, unions, non-profits) through charters, which defined the extent of actions of corporate entities. Excluded were any form of political activities. Corporations do and should have “statutory” rights/protections (i.e. the ability to sue/be sued, to establish contracts, etc.).


    1. Constitutional rights were granted to corporate entities exclusively by courts. No law, no regulation or decree enacted by any elected representative at any level of government representing any political party, or citizen initiative granted these rights. Since corporations aren’t mentioned in the Constitution, all these decisions were examples of judicial activism as courts anointed “corporate personhood” out of thin air. 


    1. The People are concerned. Polling makes it clear that the public across the political spectrum believe large business corporations are too powerful (economically and politically) and that there is too much concentration by too few corporations in virtually every business sector. This makes it virtually impossible for medium or small businesses to compete.


    1. Prominent conservatives take this stance. Conservatives have spoken out against not only the political power of labor union corporations but also the political power of business corporations. These include:

    President Abraham Lincoln

    “We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood… It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”


    President Teddy Roosevelt in his "New Nationalism" Speech, 1910

    "The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man’s making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces, which they have called into being… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done."


    1. The “Community Rights Movement” is growing. This movement across the country – disproportionately present in rural areas –opposes the reduction of their Home Rule powers and/or the preemption of the “police powers” of local public officials to protect the health, safety, welfare and morals of their communities by oftentimes out-of-state corporate interests. These interests appeal to courts or to a “higher” level of government (state or federal) claiming their interests or “constitutional rights” have been violated. Courts and state laws have overturned laws and regulations that prevent the local “right to decide” on numerous issues protecting people, places and/or the local environment.


    1. Family farms support our amendment. Several Midwestern states (i.e. Nebraska, the Dakotas and others) have seen ballot measures supported by family farmers pass banning non family farm-owned agribusiness only to see those grassroots initiatives overturned by courts who agreed with agribusinesses that the initiatives “discriminated” against them based on the 14th Amendment (which was intended to apply exclusively to freed slaves).


    1. Small businesses support getting big money out of elections. Small business coalitions like the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and others oppose the increasing ability of corporations to spend money in elections since it distorts the political playing field. Many/most small businesses can’t compete with major national or transnational corporations in terms of political campaign contributions and the influence that those contributions produce. Political money spent on elections directly by corporate entities has been affirmed as a form of First Amendment-protected “free speech” right by the Supreme Court. 


    1. Labor unions should be restricted in political spending. Labor unions (a type of corporate entity) spend considerable sums in political elections seeking to influence public officials at the federal, state and local levels. As with political spending by business corporations, such political spending drowns out the political voices of individuals without money and not represented by unions who can’t have their voices heard, needs met and communities helped.


    1. Food safety is an issue. Individuals across the country have never been more concerned about the food they and their families consume. An important element in ensuring safe food is the consumer’s “right to know” the ingredients of food products. Corporate entities have resisted in some instances food labeling, claiming their First Amendment right “not to speak.” Courts agreed. Thus, corporate rights have been deemed superior over individual rights to safe food.


    1. Citizens are speaking out. The nation-wide effort to end all forms of corporate constitutional rights has led to the passage of hundreds of citizen-driven ballot measures and votes in town hall meetings across the country. These have been passed in politically and ideologically diverse communities – based on the realization that corporate entities have abused/misused the U.S. Constitution to hijack democracy/sovereignty/self-determination/the right to decide.


    BONUS: The proposed Constitutional Amendment (the We the People Amendment) that would end all forms of corporate personhood of all corporate entities is conservative since it calls for shifting back from the judicial to the legislative arena the power and authority of We the People to define the proper role of corporate entities and money in elections – where originally it once was and was originally meant to be.

  • published We the People Lobby 2023 in Action Campaigns 2023-02-04 05:59:14 -0800

    We the People Lobby 2023

    2023 Goal

    This year we need to secure 100 House of Representatives Co-Sponsors of the We the People Amendment).

    Join the Campaign!

    STEP 1: Click here to sign up. We'll connect you with other Move to Amend supporters in your state/district to get started.

    STEP 2: Review the Materials Below.

    STEP 3: Schedule meetings with your Representative and/or Senators! Once scheduled, click here to let us know the details about your upcoming meeting(s).

    STEP 4: After your scheduled meetings, tell us the results! (FORM COMING SOON!)

    Campaign Launch Webinar

    Become acquainted with what you will be asking for. Check out these resources:

    Practice telling your story. We encourage you to practice telling your story in advance to increase confidence for your meetings.

    Learn more about your Senators and Representatives. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with your members’ priorities and views by visiting their websites at or Also check to see if they have co-sponsored any of the competing amendment resolutions.

    Be prepared to meet with your legislator’s legislative assistant. Your legislator may not attend the meeting. Staff may be young, but they are instrumental in shaping the legislator’s views. It is not unusual for the legislator to defer to his/her staff for an opinion on your issue. It is important to demonstrate respect to everyone you encounter during your visit.

    If meeting in person, bring contact information. A business card from work, or a 2 x 3.5 inch card you print yourself, should contain your name, address and email information. 

    Plan to dress appropriately. Please wear clean and appropriate professional attire (suits, dress pants; shirts with ties; dresses; skirts and blouses; etc.) for your meetings with lawmakers. No jeans, sandals, flip flops or printed tee shirts. 

    Schedule Your Meeting(s)

    Expect it to take about 2-3 weeks to land your meeting. Note that many offices will not confirm a meeting until 1 week out. 

    Our suggestion is that you try to meet with both your House member, to secure co-sponsorship of the We the People Amendment, and also meet with your Senators since our goal is to get the amendment introduced in the Senate this year too.

    Appointments may either be made by emailing the legislator’s scheduling person, or by phone. Every office differs in their preferred scheduling process, so please check with them to determine which process to use. Be sure to be persistent if you don't get a response, and don't just rely on email alone!

    Phone Script

    “Hello, my name is [name] from Move to Amend. May I please speak to the in-District scheduler?” (Write down the scheduler’s name. Be sure to get the correct spelling.)

    “I am a constituent of Representative / Senator [NAME] and I would like to schedule a virtual meeting with Representative / Senator [NAME] and/or her/his Legislative staff person the next time [she/he] is in District. I'd like to discuss the We the People Amendment and the importance of addressing the problem of big money in elections and corporate influence over the political and legal process."

    "May we do this on the phone, or would you prefer an email or fax?”

    At this point, you may either continue, or take down the email address. Although you should make every effort to get a meeting with the legislator, many times you will be referred to the appropriate staff person, e.g., the one who handles legislative or government affairs issues.

    If you are able to continue on the phone, let the scheduler know who is coming:

    “At this time, the following people will be attending: [list names and affiliations].

    Note: You may have to contact the office several times before someone returns your call or confirms an appointment. Be persistent and proactive—you are calling as a voting constituent!

    Sample Email

    Dear [Name of Scheduler],

    Volunteers with the national Move to Amend campaign would very much appreciate a virtual meeting with [Senator]/[Representative] [Name] the next time [she/he] is in District and/or [his]/[her] Legislative staff person to discuss the We the People Amendment and the importance of addressing the problem of big money in elections and corporate influence over the political and legal process. 

    Among attendees will be [Insert names of participants from the Rep’s home state and their towns]. There may be others at the meeting as well, but I am unable to confirm the names at this time.

    Thank you so much for your consideration of our request.


    [Your name]

    Meeting Tips

    Visit as a group if possible. The leader should start and conclude the meeting. One group member must take notes and report back the details of each meeting. Make sure you assign this task in your group before you are at the visit!

    The constituents are most important. The legislators’ primary concern is whether you can elect him or her into office. If you live in the district you are important. The spokesperson should begin the meeting by identifying himself/herself as a constituent and introducing all participants, and briefly identify your request early in case time runs short.

    Cover the priority issue. Now is the time you’ve been waiting for! Tell your story and explain why passing the We the People Amendment is important to you. Make your remarks brief and to the point. Encourage them to learn more and do more.

    Stay on topic. Be careful: a little chit-chat is acceptable, but be sure to stay on topic and not be drawn into storytelling—you’ll never know where the time went! Be concise and stick to the issue at hand, but do not rush the conversation. Don’t make statements that assume that others share your political views and be respectful when talking about all political leaders.

    Solicit the legislator’s views on this issue. Review your request and do some research on your legislator. Has your legislator taken the Pledge to Amend? Have they endorsed other amendment measures? If they have shown support for similar measures thank them appropriately and encourage them to sign on to the We the People Amendment. If there is disagreement, avoid arguing with your legislator or their staff. Listen to his/her perspective and then present your views. You will enhance your effectiveness if you can demonstrate a willingness to participate in a friendly exchange of ideas.

    Record the questions and responses of your legislator and their staff using the online reporting form - (FORM COMING SOON!) this is really important for follow up!)

    Conclude your meeting. Make sure your legislator and/or staff has a copy of the briefing information and your primary contact information. Thank them for their time and offer to be a resource to them going forward.

    Take a picture! Especially if you are a group, take your picture with your legislator or their staffer -- this is a historic day!

    --> As soon as the meeting is over, please submit the Online Reporting Form (FORM COMING SOON!) to let us know the results of the meeting. 

    Meeting Follow-up

    Thank Yous. Send a thank you letter to your Legislator or their staffer following the meeting. Thank the legislator and/or staff person for their time and reiterate your “ask” that they co-sponsor the We the People Amendment. Put this letter in the mail as soon as you get home or mail it before you leave. [Example coming soon!]

    Meeting Report Back Forms. The note taker should fill out this form ASAP after the meeting while the details are fresh in your mind. Use the notes from your printed report form(s) to file the online report so the details of your visit are recorded in the Move to Amend database.

    Follow Up. One of the most important aspects of a lobby day is the follow up.

    It will also be important to follow up about 2 weeks later if your legislator or their staff person did not give you a clear answer, or gave you a positive answer but then did not follow through with their commitment. Whether this is done by phone or email, or even another in person visit, the staffer and legislator will know you are serious if you follow up. Always be friendly and professional, and offer to provide additional information if it will help them to make a decision.

    Lobby Packet

    We recommend you email copies of these documents to the office in advance of the meeting:

    Additional Resources

    Citizen Lobbying Resources

    Background Resources

  • Short-term profits and long-term consequences — did Jack Welch break capitalism?

    Long before the reign of Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, there was Jack Welch.

    Welch, who headed up the General Electric Company from 1981 and 2001, is often thought of as the first celebrity CEO, a businessman who wowed investors and mingled with celebrities.

    "[Welch's] face was on the cover of magazines all the time," New York Times correspondent David Gelles says. "He emerged as sort of this imperial executive and helped define what I think is still with us today in the form of a certain amount of CEO worship."

    In his book, The Man Who Broke Capitalism, Gelles makes the case that Welch's ruthless cost-cutting and single-minded focus on quarterly earnings ultimately hurt both GE and American capitalism.

    "Neutron Jack," as he became known, had a practice of ranking employees and automatically firing the bottom 10 percent every year; in Welch's first few years of leadership, he fired more than 100,000 people in a series of mass layoffs and factory closures.

    "Up until this point, people who had a job at a company like GE or IBM basically figured that they had a job for life. But he explicitly said that this notion was going to be a thing of the past under his watch," Gelles says.

    Many of the jobs that Welch cut were sent overseas: "We see the first great wave of labor, American manufacturing labor, going abroad, and thus begins the real beginning of serious outsourcing that would, of course, decimate America's manufacturing base," Gelles says.

    Welch made aggressive deals, including the acquisition of NBC in 1986, with an eye toward expanding GE's influence. The moves initially buoyed the company's stock price; in Sept. 1993, GE became the most valuable company on the stock market.

    But ultimately, Welch's leadership did not lead to long-term profits. He championed risky financial ventures and acquisitions, which his successor then continued. GE's focus on subprime mortgages and short-term lending would prove costly when the 2008 financial crisis hit. In 2021, GE's current chief executive announced that the company would separate itself into three smaller standalone companies: One focused on jet engines, one focused on medical devices, and one focused on power equipment.

    "This is all that's left of Jack Welch's legacy," Gelles says. "Far from being the most valuable company on Earth and a conglomerate that spanned the world and all these different industries, GE is now going to be essentially chopped up into three different discrete pieces – and that's the end of the story."

    Interview highlights

    On GE's role in the American economy before Welch took over

    As I dug into the history of GE, I found it hard to overstate not only the impact that GE still had in 1981 when Jack took over, but really its role in the history of American industry for the better part of the century before that. This was the company that brought us electric light bulbs, power plants, X-ray machines. This was the company that introduced everyday products like the toaster oven. They were behind the mass marketing of radio sets and televisions, dishwashers. The list just went on and on. ...

    When you looked at their influence on industry and government beyond what we might find in our kitchens, they were no less influential there as well. It was GE that helped put men on the moon on the Apollo missions. You go back and look at those pictures and there are lines and lines of GE engineers working side-by-side with NASA engineers. And right up to the present day, the size of that company became, at one point, I think, representing something close to 1% of the American GDP. And there was a phrase, "As GE goes, so goes the American economy." ...

    David Gelles is a correspondent on the climate desk at The New York Times.
    Simon & Schuster

    Big companies back then — and GE is a perfect example of this — were proud of the way that they distributed their profits widely with employees, with their supply chains, and even with the government. It was a 1953 annual report by GE that I cite in the book, where they brag about how much they're paying in salaries to their workers and how much they're paying in taxes to the government. I don't need to tell you that that's a whole lot different than the way many companies operate today.

    On Welch's background

    He was impulsive, somewhat aggressive, restless, ambitious, impatient. He was raised primarily by his mother, who was a devout Catholic. One amazing anecdote I found was that she taught him to gamble at an early age, making him wager his own money to learn, in a visceral sense, what it meant to win and lose. But he was also deeply involved in the faith. He was an altar boy.

    There were flashes of a temper from an early age. There's an anecdote ... where he talks about caddying at a local golf course. And the man he was caddying for asked him to go fetch a ball that had gone in the water. And instead, he throws the man's golf clubs in the water and storms off the course. So you see flashes of a temper. And that continues right on into his early days at GE, when, as a young associate, his first year at the company, he decides to quit because he learns that his colleagues got the same raise that he did and he thought he was doing better. So he said he would quit the company, and it was only after his superior promised to give him an even bigger raise that he agreed to stay.

    On Welch's practice of ranking employees and firing the bottom 10%

    He had a euphemistic name for this practice. He called it the "vitality curve," but it was known internally and more broadly in the public as stack ranking or even more sharply "rank and yank." And the idea is this: Managers, he said, needed to rank their employees. 20% get A grade, 70% get a B grade, and 10% get a C grade. And if you're in that 10%, you're out of the company.

    He did that for 20 years inside GE, which led to thousands and thousands of layoffs. And it became, because he was so influential, dogma in corporate America. When Steve Ballmer took over Microsoft, he implemented stack ranking and it led to great turmoil in the ranks of Microsoft. And even more recently, Adam Neumann, the founder of WeWork, was using stack ranking as WeWork was growing so quickly, even though that company had billions and billions of dollars in funding, he saw the need to fire 10% of its workers every single year because Jack did it.

    On Welch's unflattering nickname "Neutron Jack"

    He hated the "Neutron Jack" name, even though he could never shake it. Even when he died in 2020, President Trump gave him a tweet. He said "There was no corporate leader like Neutron Jack," so that label stuck with him for the duration of his life. What was so remarkable, though, is that despite the negative press he got in those early years, he was able to continue his work because the GE board, and ultimately Wall Street and ultimately the rest of corporate America, saw that what he was doing was, for better or worse, working in the short-term. These strategies he was employing were indeed ticking up short-term profits. All of a sudden, other CEOs saw that, Hey, yes, if we rapidly wind down the cost of our labor, we could potentially see a meaningful increase in earnings per share for the next quarter and Wall Street sure liked that. And so there was this incentive system that encouraged other CEOs to start following his lead. And what's so remarkable is that even after these first years of pretty withering press, he's able to survive and ultimately become revered as the absolute model CEO, to the point that Fortune magazine at the end of his career, calls him "the manager of the century."

    On Welch's impact on GE employees

    During his time at GE, many GE workers benefited those men and women at the company who were invested in GE stock, they got to see their fortunes rise along with Welch's and the company's. But again, it depends on the time horizon we're looking at. If we're looking at just the years he was running the company and just what he did and who benefited at that point, you can make a case that, sure, he was good for at least the GE workers who didn't get fired under rank and yank or under his downsizing or offshoring or outsourcing.

    But fast forward and look at what happens to these pensioners. Look what happens to the men and women holding GE stock as it plummets in the years following his departure. Because when he leaves, all of these flaws are fundamentally exposed and Wall Street starts seeing through the charade. So his reputation among workers was a complex one. I think for some GE workers, they enjoyed the benefits. But even in the '90s, when Jack was riding high, it was becoming commonly understood among organized labor, among union leaders, that Jack had led a charge in the early '80s that was resonating with them still and has ultimately helped erode union membership in this country to record low levels today.

    On General Electric today

    From being the most valuable company on Earth, GE fell to the point of essential irrelevance in the American economy. In 2018, with all of Welch's bad decisions catching up with the company, GE was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the bluest of blue chip indexes and a real bellwether of the American economy. GE had been one of the very first companies included in the index, and it was ultimately the last of that original group to be removed, but its departure from the Dow was this real symbolic moment that ultimately set the stage for news that happened just last year, which was the fact that GE is finally getting broken up once and for all.

    Sam Briger and Joel Wolfram produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Natalie Escobar adapted it for the web.

  • Hold Public Forum, Teach In, Or Movie Showing

    Hold a Public Forum, Teach-In or Movie Showing

    Events can be used to educate the public, to recruit members to your organization, to build relationships with other organizations, to get press coverage, and to raise money.

    This allows you to bring people together, to educate them about the issues, and to begin a process of discussion and decision-making. To ensure that the event is well planned and runs smoothly, we suggest that you first assemble a small initial planning group of 3-8 people. This group should put together a program, choose a date and location, and plan a publicity strategy. After identifying all tasks that need to be accomplished, divide them among the members of the planning group.

    Speakers Panel or Teach-In

    A public forum featuring a series of speakers is one option. In addition to discussing Citizens United, Corporate Personhood and the need to amend the Constitution, you can ask your speakers to talk about how corporate power affects your community. Try to schedule speakers that reflect the diversity of your community and who can speak from a variety of perspectives.

    Good speakers do not need to be experts or have impressive titles; while it is fine to include a university professor or elected official, also consider high school students, members of communities of faith, and individuals with compelling personal stories. Assign each speaker a different topic, and let each person know how much time they will have and the order and topics of the other speakers on the program.

    Cultural Events

    Arts and culture events are other possibilities. Feel free to be creative! You can put on a play about Citizens United (we have several scripts to choose from), sponsor a children's art contest on Corporate Personhood, or host a concert or poetry reading. Street theater, guerilla art, or flash mobs are other ways to creatively send a message to the public and garner media attention.

    Screen a Movie

    Movies are a great way to bring people together and educate them on important issues. This can be as simple as inviting a group of friends to watch a movie at your house. Or, you can reach out to the wider community and publicize the screening in newspapers, blogs and on the radio. We've compiled several great selections to consider.

    If you coordinate your screening with relevant current events, holidays or occasions, you may increase the number of people interested in attending.

    Also, many great independently made movies do not get shown widely, so maybe you can help bring a new topical release to your local independent movie theater.

    Solicit Endorsements

    Consider asking other organizations to endorse your event. Endorsing organizations may be willing to donate money or resources, and can also help you publicize the event. For other suggestions on publicity.

  • Some Questions and Answers for "America’s Businesspeople About the We the People Amendment"

    July 23, 2019
    American Sustainable Business Council & Free Speech for People

    The People’s Rights Amendment overturns the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling, a 5-4 decision of the US Supreme Court that decided that we, the American people, are not allowed to limit corporate spending in elections. The Court ruled that corporations—even transnationals— can spend unlimited amounts to help elect or defeat candidates for public office. The American people have overturned at least six Supreme Court cases by constitutional amendment in the past, and we need to do the same with Citizens United, which makes corporate money the same as “speech.”

    Most businesspeople, like other Americans, do not believe corporations are people, or that spending corporate capital in elections is constitutionally protected speech. Businesses are designed to provide a product or service, to employ people, and to build a strong economy. Many businesspeople exercise their rights to engage in the policy-making process, a right that should never be impeded, but allowing corporations to buy political influence undermines the political rights of all citizens, as well as competitive markets.

    The People’s Rights Amendment ends the misuse and abuse of people’s constitutional rights by multinational corporations to subvert democratically enacted laws and to gain advantage over competitors. The amendment makes clear that corporations are not people with constitutional rights and ensures that people, not corporations, govern in America.

    What will be the impact of the People’s Rights Amendment on day-to-day business operations? Do corporations have to be “persons” in order to function in our economy?

    The People’s Rights Amendment will have no impact on day-to-day or other operations of corporations. No activity of a business corporation requires the fabrication of corporate constitutional rights. The rights of individual people (doing business in a corporation or otherwise) are unchanged by the People’s Rights Amendment.

    For centuries, corporations were able to carry out their business purposes without the fabrication of constitutional rights, and until 1978 “corporate speech rights” did not exist. Until the Citizens United ruling in 2010, we were free to use federal law to control corporate spending in elections, and did so for more than a century.

    The People’s Rights Amendment restores core democratic rights to citizens without changing the productive role of corporations in our economy. State and federal laws define corporations and set the rules for the use of the corporate form. These laws are unaffected by the People’s Rights Amendment.

    Under state and federal law, corporations are “persons” for the purposes of contracting, suing, being sued, transacting business, and continuity of operations as people come and go. Under state and federal law, corporations are “persons” for numerous purposes, from trademark protection to criminal prosecution. The People’s Rights Amendment has no effect whatsoever on those state and federal laws.

    The People’s Rights Amendment stops the radical and improper application of the “corporate person” concept to the rights of real people under the Constitution.

    The People’s Rights Amendment would not impact the day-to-day business of corporations, but would prevent misuse of our Constitution by corporations seeking to trump our laws. For example, Monsanto has used its corporate “speech rights” to strike down disclosure laws and conceal its use of genetically modified drugs in food production. This would not be allowed after the People’s Rights Amendment. The People’s Rights Amendment would prevent corporations from claiming the constitutional rights of persons to strike down laws enacted by “we the people” through our elected state and federal governments.

    Following the passage of the amendment, we expect a more free, fair, and competitive marketplace where small and medium-size businesses will be less likely to face a competitive disadvantage due to political favoritism.

    What effect will the People’s Rights Amendment have on our ability to use corporate entities in our business dealings?

    None. The People’s Rights Amendment does not limit in any fashion the many ways in which people and the states can design and use corporate or other economic legal entities.

    The People’s Rights Amendment simply states a fundamental truth: whatever corporate entities the state or federal governments create do not have constitutional rights. Instead, their rights and obligations are set out in state and/or federal corporate and other laws.

    The corporate form has huge advantages, and we support state policies that encourage easy incorporation. We just should not confuse those policy advantages with constitutional rights.

    Does that mean people will lose their rights when they do business in the corporate form?

    No. The People’s Rights Amendment protects all rights of all people, whether or not they own, run, work for, or buy from corporations.

    Whether the rights at issue are speech, due process, or any other human right, the people involved in a corporation—the CEO and executives, employees, shareholders, or other people in a corporation—retain all of their rights as people.

    The People’s Rights Amendment simply means that we will not allow courts to pretend that corporations are people when it comes to the Constitution.

    What about property rights? Will this change shareholder rights? Rights to due process?

    The People’s Rights Amendment protects all constitutional rights of people, whether it is property rights or other rights.

    Take an egregious hypothetical example, just to illustrate: Say the government decides it needs computer technology for some reason, and enacts a law requiring that Apple deliver all of its intellectual property to the United States government. Apple sues to block the law, claiming that the government is taking private property without due process in violation of the 5th Amendment (or the 14th Amendment, if a state government tries this). Does Apple have a constitutional right not to have its property taken without due process?

    The Due Process Clause says that “no person” can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process. Apple is not a “person” under the Due Process Clause, but there are plenty of real people involved in this hypothetical who do have due process rights not to have the value of their Apple shares rendered worthless by government seizure without due process. Nothing about the People’s Rights Amendment would prevent those real people from protecting their rights.

    The claim could be brought directly by the corporation using statutes such as the Federal Tort Claims Act. The claim could be brought by the corporation, which may be deemed to have standing to raise the rights of its shareholders. The claim could be brought by the shareholders as a class.

    Another possibility to litigate the question may include challenges to the Constitutional power of the federal government to take such action, an approach taken when the Supreme Court invalidated the Truman Administration’s nationalization of the American steel industry in 1952. The People’s Rights Amendment does not empower the government to seize property or do anything in violation of our liberties.

    The specific approach for enforcement of corporate property rights would depend on the circumstances and on the jurisprudence developed by the Court after the ratification of the People’s Rights Amendment. On top of all of this, people, businesses, and legislators are extremely unlikely to sit idly by while government seizes property. It is not the unconstitutional concept of corporate rights that block such government overreaching, but a healthy Constitution of checks and balances, liberties of the people, and an active, engaged citizenry. The People’s Rights Amendment promotes all of this.

    What will be the impact of the Amendment on company political action committees (PACs) and employee contributions?

    The People’s Rights Amendment will have no impact on laws that apply to political action committee (PAC) contributions and individual contributions made by company employees or others. Instead, the People’s Rights Amendment overturns Citizens United, and restores to the people and our elected representatives the power and the duty to enact laws and regulations that ensure elections are free, fair, and serve our democracy.

    The People’s Rights Amendment does not say what those rules should be. Rather, the Amendment says that we the people and our representatives should make those rules.

    Congress and the states will be free to decide upon the rules for PACs, employee contributions, or even, for that matter, corporate spending in elections. The People’s Rights Amendment clarifies that corporations do not have constitutional “rights” to trump those rules and striIe down the election laws that Congress and the states enact.

    Will the amendment impact my ability as a business leader to lobby on behalf of my company or with a trade group?

    No. The People’s Rights Amendment protects all the rights of people to associate and petition the government, to speak, and to lobby.

    The People’s Rights Amendment does not make or change any lobbying rules. It may allow Congress or the states to make such rules, and we believe that reform of our lobbying laws is overdue.

    Between 1998 and 2010, the US Chamber of Commerce spent $739 million on lobbying. Pharmaceutical and health care corporations spent more than $2 billion on lobbying in the past twelve years. Three corporations seeking military contracts, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed and Boeing, spent more than $400 million on lobbying. The list goes on.

    The People’s Rights Amendment will allow (but not require) Congress and the states to regulate corporate lobbying in an even-handed way. Corporations will not have a “right” to “speak” through election cash from corporate treasury—which many believe is a way of bribing elected officials—or to corrupt our lawmaking. At the same time, the People’s Rights Amendment protects the rights of human beings to say anything they want, and to argue, inform, appeal to, and petition our representatives for anything at all, including about laws that affect our own businesses or the industries in which we work.

    The People’s Rights Amendment merely distinguishes between people and corporations, so our government remains a government of, by, and for the people.

    Are there aspects of the corporate rights doctrine not related to campaign finance that will be addressed by the amendment?

    Yes. The fabrication of “corporate rights” under the Constitution goes beyond elections and money in politics. Citizens United is the extreme extension of a corporate rights doctrine that courts have used with increasing aggression and hostility to the judgment of people and our elected representatives since 1980.

    The courts have used the fabrication of corporate rights, particularly corporate “speech,” to striIe down a wide range of common-sense laws in recent years, from those concerning clean and fair elections; to environmental protection and energy; to tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and health care; to consumer protection, lotteries, and gambling; to race relations, and much more.

    Examples include laws to ensure an even playing field between local, regional, or national businesses that compete with multinational corporations, such as laws to protect consumer choice by requiring disclosure about food products derived from genetically modified drug treatments for animals, or laws to protect the public interest, such as limitations on cigarette advertisements near schools, or energy conservation requirements for utility corporations.

    A new corporate “due process” theory has turned federal judges into overseers of state juries and courts, so that jury awards may be overturned if federal judges decide they are “too high.”.- These “rights” have been used almost exclusively by multinational corporations to evade accountability for harmful products or actions.

    Even if we think punitive damages need oversight and reform, most businesspeople do not want to twist our Constitution to prevent our government of the people from deciding on the best course. Even as shareholders, we do not need a corporate constitutional “right” to striIe down decisions of a state jury because a federal judge might have reached a different conclusion. In a case where a punitive damages judgment is a real constitutional issue, it would be because of the danger that such a judgment might, in essence, completely confiscate shareholders’ property. If it ever came to that (it never has), the human beings who are shareholders have due process rights to make any valid constitutional argument about that “confiscation” without the need to fabricate improper corporate constitutional rights.

    In a few other instances, courts have treated corporations as people with Constitutional rights, such as under the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. The People’s Rights Amendment changes nothing about the rights of human beings, including the rights of employees, executives, and others against search and seizure. There is no such thing as a corporate constitutional right, but that does not relieve the Courts from ensuring that the government does not violate the rights of people who work in or who own corporations, or anyone else.

    What about freedom of the press and media — are they not all corporations?

    The People’s Rights Amendment will not limit freedom of the press in any way whatsoever. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press, as well as freedom of religion, assembly, and petition. All of these are rights of the people. In addition, the People’s Rights Amendment explicitly reaffirms these freedoms.

    A ban on corporate general treasury money to run political advertisements is not the same as a ban on editorials or commentary by the press. A free press is critical to freedom and democracy. No speech, press, or other rights of the people are impacted by the People’s Rights Amendment.

    Will an amendment impact the ability of non-profit associations and unions to give in elections as well?My church/synagogue/mosque/religious center is a corporation: how will the amendment affect that?What about non-profit corporations? Will this silence them?

    The People’s Rights Amendment will have no impact on people’s rights to freedom of association or freedom of religion. Freedoms such as religion, speech, or assembly are not predicated on the creation by the state of corporate entities with tax-deductions and other state- based advantages.

    The federal law (the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002) struck down by Citizens United equally applied to unions, non-profits, and for-profit corporations.

    If union activity, charitable activity, or advocacy activity is done by a corporate entity, the corporation is expected to comply with laws applicable to corporations.

    Whatever corporate form and rules government comes up with must be even-handed and apply equally to all religions and all points of view. Government cannot say Protestants but not Unitarians can organize their church under a non-profit corporation law. Government cannot say a synagogue but not a church can get tax-deductible contributions to its non-profit corporate entity because it would violate the Establishment Clause. That has nothing to do with whether those people use a corporation to organize the institution.

    There is no reason to be afraid of a fair rule for all that says anyone who wants to organize their church using a corporate form can do so, but they must comply with corporate (and other laws). That has always been the way it has worIed and the People’s Rights Amendment does not change that.

    What about freedom to associate? Corporations are just like any other association.

    A corporation is not just like any other association of people. A corporation is a specific creation of state or federal statute that may only be used for purposes defined by the statute that permitted the creation of the corporation. “Those who feel that the essence of the corporation rests in the contract among its members rather than in the government decree . . . fail to distinguish, as [those in] the eighteenth century did, between the corporation and the voluntary association.”1

    That distinction has always been true and is true now. A corporation is a government-created structure for doing business, and is available only by statute.2

    We, as people, have the right to associate. We have a choice to incorporate, if we like the balance of benefits and burdens of incorporating.

    I think there might be unintended consequences for our economy—corporations are essential now. Could this amendment upend the complex workings of corporations in our economy?

    The People’s Rights Amendment does nothing to change the role of corporations in our economy. The responsibility for defining the economic role of corporations would remain where it had always been before the Court fabricated corporate rights: with the people and our elected representatives. The corporate entity will continue to be a very useful economic tool. Ending “corporate person” rights in the Constitution has nothing to do with federal and state laws that maIe corporations liIe “persons” who may enter into contracts, sue and be sued, etc.

    In fact, the People’s Rights Amendment, while not intended as an economic reform, will probably help the economy. Corporate “rights” (which is really about multinational corporate power) are harming the American economy. The vast majority of businesspeople and corporations do not need or want “rights” to defy democratically enacted laws or to be pushed into buying more and more political ads. The People’s Rights Amendment would not upend anything about corporations in our economy except the abuse of the Bill of Rights by multinational corporations seeking to attack our laws.

    Won’t this lead to big government? Government telling us how much we can spend and so on. I’m against regulation.

    Then you should support the People’s Rights Amendment. This Amendment is not regulation. It is about liberty for us as people to debate and decide for ourselves what size government should be or what regulations make sense.

    If corporations are not “persons,” how will they be prosecuted in court? Will they have due process? Equal protection?

    After the People’s Rights Amendment, corporations will still be able to use the court system, of course, and they may even raise and argue constitutional claims; but they will do so as corporations, not as people. This is related to what lawyers and judges call “standing” to maIe arguments. Just as an environmental organization has “standing” to argue about a river because the organization has human beings in its membership who are personally affected by the pollution in the river, a corporation will sometimes have “standing” to argue the claims of its employees or shareholders.

    The People’s Rights Amendment will force courts to address the heart of the matter: What human rights are affected when a corporation challenges democratically enacted laws?

    Thus, when BMW Corporation claims, for example, a $2 million punitive damages judgment violates its due process rights because the judgment is “excessive,” the Court will need to be clear that the due process rights belong to the human shareholders who will be affected by the judgment, or the CEO, who might get a lower bonus as a result of it. Whether that violates the due process rights of the people who lose money due to such a judgment can be determined by the Court, without pretending that the corporation itself has constitutional rights.

    Today, the playing field is not level; the largest, global corporations have far more power in the legislatures and the courts than all other businesses. After the People’s Rights Amendment is added to the Constitution, all of our rights as people, as well as the checks and balances of our Constitution and our democratic process will ensure a level playing field for all businesses.

    Business and businesspeople will continue to have strong, influential weight in legislatures and agencies after the People’s Rights Amendment. There are many tools to address improper rules or regulations that do not require creating constitutional rights for corporate entities.

    How can I get involved to help the campaign for the People’s Rights Amendment?

    Free Speech For People and the American Sustainable Business Council are partners in a national non-partisan campaign to overturn the Citizens United ruling and to enact the People’s Rights Amendment. We are reaching out to people across the country and across the political spectrum to join us. We would welcome hearing from you about other ways you might like to get involved, including co-hosting a public event in your community or joining our speaIer’s bureau. Please contact us here and here.


    1 Oscar Handlin & Mary Flug Handlin, Commonwealth: A Study of the Role of Government in the American Economy, Massachusetts, 1774-1861, 92 & n.18 (New York Univ. Press 1974).

    2 Harry G. Henn & John R. Alexander, Law of Corporations, West Hornbook Series, 14-35 (3d ed. 1981).

  • Getting Ready for Constitution Day (June 2017)

    These online trainings are an opportunity for folks to connect with Move to Amend and learn about organizing tools and campaign opportunities, and connect with other MTA community organizers across the country.

    Learn about the resources we've made to use Constitution Day (September 17) as an opportunity to engage high school and college students with Move to Amend.


    1. Quick Overview of Move to Amend
    2. Purpose/History of Constitution Day
    3. Overview of MTA’s Timeline Exercise
    4. The suggested timeframe for communicating with the school faculty
    5. Questions & Discussion
    6. Next Steps 


    About MTA's Monthly Take Action Webinars

    First Tuesday of every month
    5pm Pacific / 6pm Mountain / 7pm Central / 8pm Eastern
    Register for the next session (select the webinar date on the calendar to be taken to the correct form)

    All are welcome - no past experience required!

    PDF icon constitution_day_2017.pptx_.pdf

  • published Constitution Day Resources in Action Kit 2022-03-03 04:43:50 -0800

    Constitution Day Resources

    Constitution Day Resources

    Every year, educational institutions which receive federal funding must provide programming on the US Constitution around September 16th, Constitution Day. This provides Move to Amend an opportunity to get into schools and make connections with educators and administrators. We encourage affiliates to reach out to their contacts in schools as well as make new contacts with local schools and offer to provide materials or present material to students themselves. We suggest presenting to college campuses and high schools.

    CLICK HERE to find the materials you need

    - A suggested timeline for communicating with the school
    - Sample Letter to present to educators/administrators
    - Timeline exercise to present to students (with an adjusted version for high school students)
    - Instructions/tips for presenting
    - Discussion and debrief questions for students
    - Follow up suggestions and materials for ongoing learning

    Please contact Jessica Munger at [email protected](link sends e-mail) or by phone at 916.318.8040 with any questions.

  • published Legalize Democracy Discussion Guide in Action Kit 2022-03-03 04:43:30 -0800

    Legalize Democracy Discussion Guide

    Legalize Democracy Discussion Guide

    Gather a group to watch Legalize Democracy. Plan in advance who will facilitate the discussion, and give each participant a copy of this discussion guide.

    Legalize Democracy is available for free online, or you can order a DVD here.


    Make the Move to Amend Petition available for people to sign, either online and/or via hardcopy:


    1. Use a Stack -- During group discussions, Using the "stack" amounts to taking turns so that everyone has a designated time to say what they wish to say, and no one gets squeezed out through interruptions. The facilitator will open the stack - anyone who has a question or comment should raise their hand. The facilitator will keep track of the order of the speakers so everyone knows whose turn it is to go next.
    2. Step Up / Step Back -- If you normally contribute a lot to discussions, be mindful of stepping back at times to help make space for everyone. If you normally tend to hold back, be mindful of stepping up and contributing your voice.
    3. Listen like your life depends on it (i.e. really listen to what people are saying while they are speaking rather than thinking of what you are going to say next). A notepad can be helpful for jotting down immediate responses while others speak, so you can be free to really listen without worrying you'll forget an idea.
    4. Turn off / down cell phones
    5. Foster a culture of mutual respect and consideration. When in a small group, make a point of learning others' names and using them during the discussion to refer to one another's comments.
    6. Cultivate a sense of humor
    7. Stay on topic and be concise
    8. Speak from your own experience. Use “I” statements, rather than speaking for or about others.
    9. Foster coalition building; avoid divisiveness and search for common ground


    Note: The event host can decide whether to organize the discussion as outlined below in small groups and pairs, or the full group can simply discuss the questions in italics, one at a time. Small groups help make it easier for everyone to participate when the group is larger, but if the full group is smaller than 8 people or if you’re not comfortable facilitating these exercises you may consider keeping everyone together and just keeping a “stack” to help make sure everyone gets to participate without being interrupted.

    (1) Get with a partner, introduce yourselves, and then take turns answering the question below.

    Listen attentively as your partner speaks and remember key points. When the group reconvenes, each person will introduce their partner and share with the group some of the important points they mentioned.

    What was your previous experience with the issue of corporate power? How were you impacted by this documentary? What did you learn? What is the big takeaway for you?

    (2) First, spend 5 minutes gathering your thoughts by reflecting and writing on the issue outlined below.

    After 5 minutes, the facilitator will prompt you to gather in groups of 3-4 to discuss. After 10-15 minutes in the small groups, the facilitator will prompt you to gather in the larger group to share highlights.

    In the documentary, Ashley Sanders (4:20) described how her everyday experience is shaped by corporate power and influence. As she mentions, there is a box that corporations have drawn and that we exist within. Here are a few examples:

    1. Ten corporations control almost everything you buy at the grocery store: Coca-Cola Company; PepsiCo; General Mills; Kellog’s; Mars, Inc.; Unilever; Johnson & Johnson; Procter & Gamble Company (P&G); Nestlé; Kraft Foods Group (source:
    1. Six corporations control more than 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to from media communications: Comcast; News Corporation; Disney; Time Warner; Viacom; CBS (source:
    1. Ten financial institutions hold more than half of America’s total financial assets: JPMorgan Chase; Bank of America; Citigroup; Wells Fargo; Goldman Sachs; Morgan Stanley; American International Group, Inc.; General Electric Capital Corporation, Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, US Bancorp (source:

    In your groups, work together to name as many examples as you can of how corporate rule impacts your daily life. Then pick 3-5 examples and think together about how you can move outside of that box.

    (3) Get with a partner, introduce yourselves, and then take turns answering the question below.

    After 5-10 minutes, facilitator will prompt you to gather in the larger group to share highlights.

    In the documentary, Kaja Rebane (24:00) says that we should make corporate power our #2 issue because whatever issue is our #1 is not going to see substantive progress until corporate constitutional rights and money as speech is addressed. Identify your #1 issue and explore how it is inter-related to corporate power and how corporate power blocks true reform on that issue.

    (4) First, spend 5 minutes gathering your thoughts by reflecting and writing on the issue outlined below. After 5 minutes, facilitator will prompt you to gather in groups of 3-4 to discuss. After 10-15 minutes in the small groups, facilitator will prompt you to gather in the larger group to share highlights.

    In the documentary, David Cobb (0:25) says that the “most dangerous threat to democracy in the United States of America is the mistaken belief that we actually practice one.” Democracy, he says, is not a noun, it’s a verb and means "the people rule". Imagined what it could mean for “We the People” to actually participate in a meaningful way in how our society is organized? What place can you imagine for yourself in a true participatory democracy?

     (5) First, spend 5 minutes gathering your thoughts by reflecting and writing on the issue outlined below.

    After 5 minutes, facilitator will prompt you to gather in groups of 3-4 to discuss. After 10-15 minutes in the small groups, facilitator will prompt you to gather in the larger group to share highlights.

    Social movements change laws and change culture. In the documentary, we see a timeline of the history of people coming together and rising up to change laws and change the culture (20:45). What social movements inspire you and why? What kind of movement can you imagine will be required to overturn corporate rule? What place can you imagine for yourself in this movement?


    PDF icon legalizedemocracydiscussionguide.pdf

  • published Events Campaign Plan (Example) in Action Kit 2022-03-03 04:43:12 -0800

    Events Campaign Plan (Example)

    Events Campaign Plan (Example)

    Events Campaign Goal:

    To reach 100 new people and teach them in-depth about MTA--the history of corporate rights, the amendment plan, and what a democracy movement is. To collaborate with 5 new groups on events. To raise $400.

    Events Sub-Goals:

    1. Bring in 20 new people to a 100-person campaign launch that teaches people the basic history of corporate rights and plugs them into campaign working groups. Raise $100.


    • Host a corporate rule and pub quiz event where we teach about the history of corporate rule, plug people into working groups, and raise money from beer and food.
    • Work with VC and Coalitions to hold a phone bank where we call 10 coalition members and ask them to share on their FB/Twitter/listserv and all the folks on our list with phone numbers.
    • Work with media team to get advanced media and put up event on calendars, in PSA’s, etc.
    • Work with the Outreach team to flyer at places on our flyering list.
    • Ask group members to ask 5-10 friends (can do at phonebank).
    • Concerted FB launch where everyone in group invites their lists on same two days.
    • In total, invite 400 people. (Half of the people we contact will answer, half of those will say yes.)
    • Get 300 beers donated, suggested donation $3.

    2. Throw a spectacle-based fundraiser that activates 50 current volunteers, recruits 20 new volunteers, raises $350-700 for campaign expenses, and gets us in the print and TV media.


    • Hold a 401(k) race against the banks. People dress up as corporate shills in business suits with corporate logo sponsors and carry briefcases. Race 4.01 km to several banks in the city, where we will put up banners showing how much they contributed to the last election (federal and state) and what beneficial legislation they got out of it locally. Each runner has to pass out five flyers to passersby before going onto the next bank. The winner gets a money bouquet and a golden parachute/briefcase/blank check from democracy/money is speech trophy.
      • People pay $5-10 to participate. ($350-700 raised)
      • Reach out to orgs affected by banking (private prisons, enviros, immigration, foreclosures, etc) and ask them to participate.
      • Put up posters around the city and also activate our base.
      • Get media out and use finish line ceremonies as a chance to talk about the problem of money in elections.
      • Use money raised for money drop action later in the campaign.
    • July 3rd or 4th? Too early?

    3. Throw a 100 person event that brings in 50 new people and 5 new groups to talk about the relationship between race/class/gender and the law and why we need democracy movement to create the new world we want after dismantling the old.


    • Host a workshop where we use the Rights Race/Rights and Privileges Timeline/Divided Movements Exercises to explain MTA’s analysis of law/power/movement building/democracy movement. Follow it with a panel featuring people from affected movements: healthcare, labor, food, climate justice, immigration, prisons, education, poverty, public space, indigenous rights, etc.
      • Workshop begins with a discussion of the relationship between power, law and personhood. We discuss MTA and what our analysis/goal is and then do the Rights and Privileges Timeline to explain why we need both an amendment and a democracy movement/to explain how power is constructed and can be deconstructed. Continues with Rights Race to cement why corporate power and -isms divide us and why we need both an amendment and a movement. Finish up with cards about how movements have divided themselves or been divided by those in power. Talk about how we are all impacted by corporate rule, some more than others, and we need to create an indivisible movement across issues to succeed. Introduce panelists and ask them questions about how corporate power impacts them, what they are doing about it, and how we can collaborate.
    • Work with Coalitions to educate then invite at least five reps to be on a panel about the democracy movement. Ask them to invite people from their org (about ten people per org) so everyone can amplify their movements and come together under a common banner.
    • Work with VC and Outreach to do a phone bank/flyering to invite 300 people to the event (Half will say yes, half will come, some will be new).
    • Work with media to promote.
    • Pass the hat, but don’t focus on it. Maybe $50?
    • Sign up 50 new people.
    • July 16, 17th or 18th?

    4. Throw a fun, 75 person event in a public place to bring in 20 new people humorously teaches people about corporate personhood and its consequences in a democracy. Collaborate with three other groups to play different roles. 


    • Throw a Let Them Eat Cake! Corporate Wedding.
      • Host a wedding between a corporation and its bride on Library Square/Liberty Park or City County steps. Invite people with a formal invite and post the invitation around the city, as well. Have the Supreme Court be the corp’s best man and Democracy give the bride away/object. Each can give a short speech. Recite vows that sound like a contract. Exchange a ring pop. Money bouquet. Corporate logos for groom. Wealth inequality cake w/ images of a corp on it. First dance “I Want Money” or “Money Changes Everything.” Followed by a dance party.
    • Work with other orgs to be bride, groom, preacher, bridesmaids/best men, etc.
    • “Democracy” character raises money from the audience for a prenup. (Goal: $100)
    • Work with media to get the word out and film. Work with Outreach and Coalitions to get actors/attendees. Work with materials to make invitations. Work with Events to put up posters.
    • Sign up 20 new bystanders (collab with Outreach) on the list.
    • August 25th-ish

    4. Host a Democracy Week that gets the word out about the vote. Host a 200 person event that brings in 20 new people and talks about how to build a Constitutional amendment movement that is geared toward broader justice. Reach 100 new random people and get them out to vote. Do a public spectacle that brings attention and education to the broader public.


    • Presentation about past and current social justice movements with people Skyping in from Iceland and Ecuador or Bolivia.
    • Presentation on the failure of the regulatory system?
    • Money-drop with dollars telling people to vote.
      • Where is a good crowd?
      • How much?
      • Do an IndieGoGo campaign, use proceeds from 401(k) fundraiser.
    • Screening of The Corporation?
      • At the Tower? Raise money?
    • Giant Monopoly game
      • People play a life-sized game of Corpocracy as they learn how corporations have gotten human rights and rigged the game, then learn how people have to fight back.
      • Need to make the board game and script/rules.
      • At the park? On a campus? At an intersection?
      • One last public venue to teach people about the problem and encourage them to vote.
      • If we can vote at the library, we could do this outside and shuttle people inside.
    • Newsies Dance and Sing-Along?
    • I Miss Democracy pageant?

    5. After the vote: A 150-person event that gathers new and old volunteers and pushes people to consider if we need a new/improved Constitution.


    • Host a People’s Movement Assembly where different issue groups articulate their demands for a new world in law or in the Constitution. Start with an exercise that shows how different the Constitution would have been if it had been written by slaves, women, poor people, and indigenous folk instead of white, wealthy men. Compare Constitutions from our country and others to see what ours is lacking/what it doesn’t need. Do an exercise editing the document. Talk about corporate power and how it affects all of us. Talk about the power of law and how it can be harnessed for good. Break out into issue groups to decide how each group would codify their demands in law and what is one step that they will take toward realizing that.
      • Invite all volunteers from the course of the campaign to push action to the next level in the democracy movement.
      • Get media out to push democracy movement part of our message.
      • Collaborate with all groups we have worked within the campaign so far to solidify relationships.

    Volunteer Needs:

    • Posting/passing out flyers for events
    • People to do phone banks, FB, Twitter, coalition and personal invites to events
    • Actors for wedding and Corpocracy
    • People to develop content of Corpocracy game, corporate wedding, 401k, Rights and Privileges workshop and panel, PMA
    • People to find and reserve venues
    • People to bring food to events
    • People to solicit food, beverage and prize donations from local businesses
    • People to find/make costumes
    • People to work with allies to develop relationships and invite to collaborate
    • People to work with media team to get message out
    • Facilitators for Rights and Privileges workshop
    • Research, signs, and flyers for 401(k) race

    This campaign plan provided by Move to Amend Salt Lake City. Contact them directly with questions.

  • How to Host a House Party for Democracy (Nov 2013)

    How to Host a House Party for Democracy (Nov 2013)

    Toma Lynn Smith and Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap from Move to Amend National offer tips and information about how to host a house party to support Move to Amend. Click here to learn more about this effort:

    Click here to give feedback on the training:

  • "Justice John Paul Stevens Dissents!" Script

    "Justice John Paul Stevens Dissents!" Script

    Justice John Paul Stevens Dissents! is about the Republican Supreme Court Justice speaking his mind about Citizens United, and the corruptive potential of unregulated corporate spending in political campaigns.

    Written by Jim Allison

  • published MEETs Tour Checklist in Action Kit 2022-03-03 04:41:52 -0800

    MEETs Tour Checklist

     Move to Amend has organized in-person "Barnstorming tours" since our inception to educate on the issues of corporate rule and money in politics, advocate for the enactment of the We the People Constitutional Amendment, and to organize local affiliate groups as part of a larger goal to work in coalition to create a powerful democracy movement. Since the pandemic, programs have been virtual. In 2022, we plan to organize MEETs in communities where we met with a small number of supporters in 2021 who expressed interest in becoming more locally active. 

    Event Checklist

    This is a list of things to think about in preparing a workshop for the MEETS to Amend tour.


    ___ Before publicity: make sure that the date and time do not conflict with related events.
    ___ General media: Newspapers, Radio, Cable, TV
    ___ Targeted media: Agency newsletters, Church bulletins, Schools, etc.
    ___ Word of mouth to friends and co-workers

    ___ Flyers, brochures
    ___ Emails to targeted populations

    Room requirements and arrangements

    ___ Make sure that date and time do not conflict with other events at the facility
    ___ Reservation confirmed
    ___ Arrangement for key(s)
    ___ Adequate space
    ___ Right number of tables
    ___ Right number of chairs

    ___ Projector that can connect to an Apple computer
    ___ Projector screen
    ___ Adequate lighting
    ___ Temperature control and ventilation
    ___ Access to restrooms
    ___ Access to refrigeration (if necessary for food)
    ___ Access to Parking
    ___ Trash-cans
    ___ Coat racks

    Information to Send Participants

    ___ Time
    ___ Address and directions to building and room
    ___ Parking facilities
    ___ What to bring (food? forms? notebook?)
    ___ What to wear
    ___ Smoking policy
    ___ What will be provided (coffee? juice? snacks?)
    ___ Agenda
    ___ Number to call if problems or questions
    ___ Facilities for those who are disabled?
    ___ Whether or not reservations/RSVP are required, and if so, by when

    What to bring

    ___ Key(s)
    ___ Handouts (including extras)
    ___ Extra pencils/pens
    ___ Watch or Clock

    ___ Whiteboard / Chalkboard / Flip chart & easel
    ___ Markers and/or chalk
    ___ Nametags
    ___ Money, if change needs to be made
    ___ Arrow signs to point to room
    ___ Snack food and drink, and cups, napkins, etc.
    ___ Trash-bags, if needed
    ___ Roster of attendees if asking for RSVP in advance
    ___ A copy of this list so you can check off things as you put them away after the event is over.

    Room Set-up

    ___ Registration table
    ___ Exhibit table(s)
    ___ Placement of chairs
    ___ Distribute handouts, name tags, pencils (or have ready at registration table.)

    When it's over

    ___ Evaluations
    ___ Thank-yous
    ___ Check off materials as you put them in box
    ___ Return equipment
    ___ Take out trash
    ___ Turn off lights, etc.
    ___ Return key(s)
    ___ Pat yourself on the back!

    Overnight Lodging

    In most cases, our workshop presenters will need host housing. We would greatly appreciate it if you or a member of your group could provide a room for them. We are depending on your generosity and support to make this tour a success.

    Here's what we are looking for at each location:

    ___ One room 
    ___ A shower and/or bathtub
    ___ Close to the location of the workshop (not required, but preferred)
    ___ Wireless internet (not required, but preferred)
    ___ A kitchen that is available for food preparation (not required, but preferred)
    ___ Available laundry facilities (not required, but preferred)
    ___ Driveway parking (not required, but preferred)

    For more information or assistance contact us at (707) 269-0984 or [email protected](link sends e-mail).

  • 4th of July Call to Action Ideas (April 2012)

    4th of July Call to Action Ideas (April 2012)

    Learn about Move to Amend's call to action for the 4th of July this year. Educate and mobilize your community to declare your independence from corporate rule and grow the movement.


    • Overview of July 4th actions
    • Why creativity is worth the extra effort
    • Ideas for creative actions
    • Questions to ask when planning an event
    • What to do after your event
    • Final notes
    • Questions

    About MTA's Monthly Take Action Webinars

    These online trainings are an opportunity for folks to connect with Move to Amend and learn about organizing tools and campaign opportunities, and to connect with other MTA community organizers across the country.

    All are welcome - no past experience required!

    Minimum Technology Requirements

    • High-speed internet connection with an upload speed of 450 Kbps (0.44 Mbps)
    • Flash Player 10.3 -- Click here to download
    • Presenters: Java installed and enabled -- Click here to download
    • Turn off Pop-Up Blockers or put in your allowed list



Jennie C Spanos

Jennie C Spanos

Corporate rule sux!
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