Move to Amend and Nonprofits

Ben Manski and David Cobb, both attorneys connected to Move to Amend, led this session at the Democracy Convention.

The session addressed one of the major questions heard at the grassroots from many potential supporters: wouldn’t eliminating corporate personhood adverse non-profit corporations and unions?

Manski and Cobb addressed these questions by making the following major points:

– State governments via charters create virtually all corporations.

– No entity (business corporation, non-profit corporation, union, etc.) has inalienable constitutional rights.

– They don’t have rights but they do have privileges and protections granted by local, state and/or federal laws.

– Inalienable constitutional rights don’t effect non-profit corporations. It doesn’t effect the issue of books or audits. All nonprofits now are subject to audits via existing state or federal laws.

– On the question of shielding membership lists, the court case NAACP vs Alabama established that individual members of organizations have rights to protect themselves from being exposed.

– MTA will actually democratize social movements since non-profits will have less control over their members.

– Citizens United didn’t actually address labor unions.

– The basic right of workers doesn’t come through incorporation, but through the first amendment right of freedom of assembly and association. Unions don’t need the corporate form to freely exist.

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