Corporate Personhood Talking Points
- When corporations have constitutional rights, peoples' rights become meaningless. How can one human being’s power to speak compare to a massive corporation’s ability to speak?
- A corporation has millions of dollars, exists in many places at once; can live forever; and employs thousands to do its work around the clock. It controls politicians, the media, and the economy. A human being has little expendable income, lives in one place, dies, and must use her small amount of free time to work for causes she believes in.
- A human being needs clean air, clean water, food, and love to survive. A corporation does not.
- A corporation has no mind, no conscience, and no motive but to amass money. A human being thinks, tries to make ethical decisions, and is motivated by obligations to family and community. How could we say that these two dramatically different kinds of “persons” have an equal voice in a democracy?
- The Supreme Court has ruled that money equals speech. The corollary is this: people who have money can speak, and people who don’t, can’t. This is a plutocracy, not a democracy.
- To put this power imbalance in perspective, consider this: It took over 1 million individual donors to raise about $750 million for Obama's presidential campaign in 2008. $750 million is approximately five percent of ExxonMobil's third quarter profits in 2008, five percent of Bank of America's profits in 2007; 37.5 percent of Goldman Sachs's first quarter profits in 2009; 18 percent of JP Morgan Chase's third quarter profits in 2009; 25 percent of Ford's profits in 2009 five percent of Philip Morris's profits in 2008.
- Human rights are for humans. A corporation is not a human being.
- The word corporation does not occur in the Constitution. Corporations had to use unelected, unaccountable judges to give them rights.
- Corporations exist to serve the public welfare, not for the public to serve them. The Supreme Court has created a Frankenstein scenario in which the people’s creations now control the people.
- A person is a private entity with rights and sovereignty. A corporation is a public entity with obligations and responsibilities.
- The American Revolution was explicitly anti-corporate, and the revolutionaries made sure that corporations were tightly controlled.
- For the first seventy-five years after the Revolution, corporations could only exist if they served the public good.
- They were severely restricted in their activities: they had to be chartered by a vote of the state legislature, they could only exist for a certain number of years, they couldn’t own other corporations, they could be dissolved once they had earned a certain profit margin, they couldn’t donate to political or charitable causes, they had to operate in the state they were chartered in, their stockholders were local, they could only do the certain task they were chartered for, and they couldn’t own land that was necessary for carrying out business.
- Judge-made law is not democracy. We didn’t elect the Supreme Court justices, but they get to decide who does and doesn’t count in our democracy. Congress and the People should decide those issues.
- The sole purpose of a corporation is to amass profit and consolidate wealth. They are legally required and structurally designed to make money at any cost. This makes them dangerous to people and democracy.
- The structure of a corporation separates humans from their actions. They destroy responsibility and hijack decision-making. They make humans do things collectively that they would never do as individuals: poison water, deny healthcare, and destroy the planet.
- Every cause we care about and fight for is affected by corporate power.
Move to Amend Petition: Help Grow the Movement!
Gathering signatures for the Move To Amend petition is the best way to educate the public and recruit new members onto your own organizing list. Community festivals, political rallies, farmers' markets, grocery stores, film screenings, picnics of local organizations, and other local events can provide good opportunities for outreach. Sign people on to the Move to Amend petition by downloading and printing our petition.
--> Click here to sign the petition.
Make sure you have signed the petition yourself!
--> Click here to share the petition online.
Share the petition with your contacts by email or through social media. Get rewards for recruiting your friends!
--> Click here for a PDF of our petition to print and collect signatures in your community.
You'll notice a square computer generated code on the top of the paper petition. This is called a Quick Response Code. If folks you're asking to sign have a smart phone, they can use a QR Code App and point their phone at the image - they will instantly be taken to our petition page online where they can sign up directly via their phone. This saves you time so you don't have to type up their information.
When you're petitioning, ask if folks have smart phones and encourage them to sign the petition online via the QR Code. Just make sure they do it on the spot rather than saving it for later because they're likely to forget.
What to Say
Numerous polls show that 80% of Americans support our goals, so don't get too worried about how to ask for support - chances are that folks are on your side! But if you want something to start with, this is what we've found works well:
"Hi my name is _____. I'm a volunteer collecting signatures in support of Move to Amend, the national campaign to amend the US Constitution to say that a corporation is not a person and get money out of politics. This is our organizing petition. We already have over 400,000 signatures and our goal is to collect 500,000 before the end of the year. Will you sign?" [offer them the clipboard and pen at this point - they're more likely to sign if they take the petition from you]
If they need a little more information it can help to add: "We use this petition to let your state and federal legislators know how many people support our goal to amend the Constitution to end corporate personhood and get big money out of politics and to grow our movement. Will you sign to show your support?"
Make sure to let them know they don't need to be a resident of your community, or a U.S. citizen, or registered to vote. If they support our cause, they can sign up!
Please make sure all sign ups have a ZIP CODE at minimum in the address field and please strongly encourage folks to add their email address (so we can keep them informed - they can always opt out and we NEVER share their information) and to PRINT LEGIBLY! Take 10 seconds to double check for a zip code and contact information before you take the clipboard back.
Here are some more talking points, but really, don't over think it -- most people will be eager to sign! If anyone asks a question you don't know the answer to, encourage them to come to this website for more information or to submit their question directly to us.
Tabling is a fun and easy way to reach out to your community and talk with people about this issue. All you need is a table, some materials and a place to set up. Local events like farmers markets and festivals often have space allocated for tabling, so check and see what events are coming up in your area. Colleges, universities or your local grocery store are also great places to table. Of course be sure to check with the business owners and university administrators before you proceed.
Once you have a place to set up, arm yourself with petitions, brochures, bookmarks, posters and anything else you think would be good to have on your table. Most importantly, don’t forget your smile. Tabling is easy, but it is also an art form that improves with practice. Draw people in with an enticing display and a friendly question like, “Did you know that corporations have more rights than you or me?” Make sure to get contact information when they sign the petition so you can develop a list of allies. Tabling is also a great way to inform people about other events you might have coming up, such as a movie screening or study group.
To find out whether you may table at an event, reach out to the organizers. Often a fee will be charged to reserve a space, and you may be required to provide your own table and chairs. Set up large, clearly worded signs at your table. Bring copies of the Move to Amend petition for people to sign, as well as flyers about your local organization that people can take with them. You can also distribute Move to Amend brochures and other materials.
You can order materials for your tabling and petitioning outreach here.
What to Do With Completed Petitions
First of all, thanks so much for your support and help spreading the word!
We have a volunteer who comes in once a week to enter in paper petitions, but she often has a big back log so we ask folks to enter the names in a spreadsheet and email it to us to ensure that folks will be added quickly.
Please submit petitions to us online using the spreadsheet template and web form here: http://movetoamend.org/submit-petitions.
If this isn't something you can do, please send them to:
Move to Amend
P.O. Box 188617
Sacramento CA 95818
We really appreciate it when folks can help us out by doing the data entry on the petitions!!
If you are an approved Affiliate, use the spreadsheet template above and then upload your spreadsheet directly into the Move to Amend database via your account. Contact your Affiliate Coordinator if you are unclear on how to do this.