On October 14, Senator Bernie Sanders released the boldest anti-corruption plan of any candidate so far - by a longshot. We could not be more excited about:
Ending the influence of corporations over the Democratic National Committee (DNC)
Banning advertising during presidential primary debates
Instituting a lifetime lobbying ban for former members of Congress and senior staffers
Passing mandatory public financing laws for all federal elections
While he explicitly uses our talking point “corporations are not people,” the details on his website only address money in politics, NOT corporate constitutional rights at all.
There are already several amendment half measures out there that would only overturn Citizens United and only address money in politics (some of them not even comprehensively) and that do not address the corporate hijacking of our Constitution.
It looks like Bernie is currently planning to propose another half measure, and is also taking a cue from the big Washington DC organizations by mis-characterizing it as addressing corporate constitutional rights.
How do we know this?
His rhetoric makes it sound like he's ready to introduce the #WeThePeopleAmendment -- and he even said he would do so at a recent campaign event -- but unfortunately we have a different understanding from recent discussions with his Senate staff in Washington DC.
So, while we are thrilled that a top Presidential candidate has adopted our demand, it is clear that our work is far from over and we still need to push him to follow through. The good news is that we think this can still be done... if we all lean in BIG TIME right now.
Here's our plan to respectfully lean on Sanders -- please help by doing ALL OF THIS:
➤➤ Phone Bernie's Office! Thank him for his leadership fighting political corruption and urge him to work with Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Move to Amend to introduce the #WeThePeopleAmendment (companion amendment to House Joint Resolution 48) -- which has TEN YEARS of grassroots movement-building behind it and is the ONLY amendment that will actually end corporate personhood. Call: (202) 224-5141 with your message TODAY.
➤➤ Reply to Bernie's Emails & Texts! If you are on Sanders' email and/or text list please reply to EVERY MESSAGE from here on out and urge him to work with Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Move to Amend to introduce the #WeThePeopleAmendment (companion amendment to House Joint Resolution 48) -- which has TEN YEARS of grassroots movement-building behind it and is the ONLY amendment that will actually end corporate personhood. Stress that support for our Amendment is critical for your support. Be respectful but also firm that no other amendment proposal will do for you.
➤➤ Snail Mail a Letter to Bernie's Campaign Office! You can include a personal note on the back. If you're a donor or volunteer or supporter be sure to let him know.
Send it to:
PO Box 391
Burlington, VT 05402
➤ Publicize Your Pressure! Before you mail it take a picture of your letter and/or envelope and post it to social media (make sure to tag Senator Sanders at both his Senate and Presidential accounts) and use these hashtags with your message: #MoveBernieToAmend #WeThePeopleAmendment #NoMiddleGround. This will help apply PUBLIC pressure!
- Tag Sanders on Facebook: @senatorsanders AND @berniesanders
- Tag Sanders on Twitter: @sensanders AND @BernieSanders
- Tag Sanders on Instagram: @berniesanders
➤➤ Birddog Bernie! When he campaigns in your community make sure to be there, in the front row, with your hand ready to shoot up when the Q&A starts to urge him to work with Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Move to Amend to introduce the #WeThePeopleAmendment (companion amendment to House Joint Resolution 48) -- which has TEN YEARS of grassroots movement-building behind it and is the ONLY amendment that will actually end corporate personhood. Stress that support for our Amendment is critical for your support. Be respectful but also firm that no other amendment proposal will do for you. Birddogging tips can be found here.
Remember that if we don’t fundamentally overturn the underlying doctrine that corporations have constitutional rights (going all the way back to 1886, they will still retain all of their other “rights” beyond the ability to influence elections - including but not limited to:
4th Amendment Search and Seizure rights. Corporations have used these rights to avoid subpoenas for unlawful trade and price fixing, and to prevent citizens, communities and regulatory agencies from stopping corporate pollution and other assaults on people and communities.
5th Amendment Takings, Double Jeopardy and Due Process corporate rights. Corporations must be compensated for property value lost (e.g. future profits) when regulations are established to protect homeowners or communities. Corporations cannot be retried after a judgment of acquittal in court. The granting of property to a corporation by a public official cannot be unilaterally revoked by a subsequent public official or Act of Congress.
14th Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection corporate rights. These rights, originally enacted to guarantee equal protection for African Americans, were gradually extended to corporations by the courts. Corporations have used these rights to build chain stores and erect cell towers against the will of communities; oppose tax and other public policies supporting local businesses over multinational corporations; and resist democratic efforts to prevent corporate mergers and revoke corporate charters through citizen initiatives.
The Move to Amend Coalition built this movement -- you and thousands of others have made the investment that brought us to this point.
Bernie needs to help us see it through! We coined the term “Corporations are not People” but this is not just a sound-byte anyone can borrow to win votes -- it MEANS something very specific!
Please help us urge Senator Sanders to work with Move to Amend to introduce this once-in-a-generation amendment, to not only overturn Citizens United but also get to the root of the problem - by abolishing ALL corporate constitutional rights.
If you have other ideas for how to pressure Bernie to do the right thing let us know!