August 11: Corporations are people my friend



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People’s Justice & Peace Platform


Agreed to at the People’s Justice & Peace Convention
July 15-17, Cleveland Ohio (prior to the Republican National Convention)

Move to Amend Reports on Progress and Actions From the National Conventions

August 11, 2016


Move to Amend Reports connects you with activists and organizers working on the frontlines of the democracy movement, to bring you the lowdown on corporate rule, corporate personhood, and money as speech.

TUNE IN EVERY THURSDAY MORNING AT 7am PACIFIC / 10am EASTERN. Click here to listen to this week’s show!

While millions of people were tuned in for the political party conventions in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Houston as the presidential Move to Amend was on the ground connecting and building relationships with activists and organizers from across the political spectrum. Join us for a special report on Move to Amend’s activities during the Conventions with Move to Amend Ohio coordinator Greg Coleridge, Imam Paul Hasan of the American Friends Services Committee, Move to Amend outreach & engagement director David Cobb, Move to Amend National Leadership members Daniel Lee and Egberto Willies (Move to Amend Reports co-host), who served as a Houston delegate to the DNC.

Greg Coleridge is Director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (AFSC, a Quaker social action organization), member of the national Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) collective, author of Citizens over Corporation: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future, writer of the documentary CorpOrNation: The Story of Citizens and Corporations in Ohio, lead researcher of two online calendars on democracy and monetary history, and former elected national board member of Common Cause. He also helps coordinate and expand the Move to Amend Ohio Network.

Imam Paul Hasan of Interfaith Ministries in Lorain, OH, has spent more than 20 years dedicated to building the community from the inside out while promoting peace and justice. Paul was a founding member of the nationally known International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment. He founded the official Lorain County organizing committee for the Holy Day of Atonement in 1995. Paul is a Northeast Ohio AFSC Committee Member and long-time community activist in Northeast Ohio.

David Cobb is a Principal with the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy. He is a lawyer and political activist. David has sued corporate polluters, lobbied elected officials, run for political office himself, and has been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. In 2002, David ran for Attorney General of Texas, pledging to use the office to revoke the charters of corporations that repeatedly violate health, safety and environmental laws. In 2004, he ran for President of the United States on the Green Party ticket and successfully campaigned for the Ohio recount. He is also National Projects Director for Democracy Unlimited.

Daniel Lee has been with Move to Amend since 2012. A veteran of the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, Daniel has been an active member of Occupy Los Angeles and InterOccupy who participated in Occupy encampments across the country, the Black Lives Matter Movement as well as done community organizing locally in Los Angeles with Community Coalition and other groups. He has also served locally on the Culver City Martin Luther King jr. Celebration Committee for the last 5 years and is the current chair and has been a volunteer with El Rincon Elementary, also in Culver City, for the last 10 years. Daniel is also the Move to Amend representative for the Global Climate Convergence and recently campaigned for a seat on the City Council in Culver City, a small city in West Los Angeles.

Egberto Willies is a political activist, author, political blogger, business owner, software developer, web designer, and mechanical engineer in Kingwood, TX. Egberto is a member of Move to Amend’s National Leadership Team, co-host of Move to Amend Reports, and Vice President on the Board of Directors for Coffee Party USA.

REAL Democracy History Calendar – August 8 – 14


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The rap musical opened last night at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Inspired by the 2004 biography “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, the musical won 11 Tony Awards in 2016, including best musical and book of a musical.  It lauds the contributions of one of nation’s “founding fathers,” and first Treasury Secretary.

There was another side to Hamilton that the rap musical didn’t glorify  –  his effort to privatize money creation in the new country from We the People to financiers through the establishment of the First Bank of the United States, an entity Thomas Jefferson called “one of the most deadly hostile against the principles of our Constitution,” which, “in a critical moment might overthrow the government.”

The timing of the musical release took place ironically when awareness was growing of the modern dangers to private banks controlling the printing and distribution as debt of our nation’s money and calls by some to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.


Stein’s law: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”
[Sounds like our current debt-based money system – an unsustainable system which can only continue if more debt is issued, which happens when banking corporations issue loans and purchase treasury bonds, bills and notes]


“As a rule political economists…don’t take the trouble to study the history of money; it is much easier to imagine it and to deduce the principles of this imaginary knowledge.”
“[T]he State alone had the right to issue money and to decide of what substances its symbols should be made, whether of gold, silver, brass or paper. Whatever the State declared to be money was money.”
“Lexington and Concord were trivial acts of resistance, which chiefly concerned those who took part in them and which might have been forgiven; but the creation and circulation of bills of credit by revolutionary assemblies in Massachusetts and Philadelphia were the acts of a whole people, and coming, as they did, upon the heels of the strenuous efforts made by the Crown to suppress paper money in America, they constituted acts of defiance so contemptuous and insulting to the Crown, that forgiveness was thereafter impossible…Thus the bills of credit of this era, which ignorance and prejudice have attempted to belittle into the mere instruments of a reckless financial policy, were really the standard of the Revolution. They were more than this: they were the Revolution itself.”

“Since 1945, American hegemony, or more accurately an American imperium, has rested on two firm pillars of support! The 1st pillar has been the role of the dollar as unchallenged world reserve currency in which New York’s Wall St. is the center of global finance, the ‘banker to the world’. The 2nd has been the role of the Pentagon and the unchallenged dominance of American military power.”

The law passed in response to the 1980’s savings and loan crisis – in which. FIRREA created the Resolution Trust Corporation, which bailed out failed institutions primarily through taxation. It also shifted regulatory authority from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to the Office of Thrift Supervision within the Department of the Treasury.
It should be noted that more than more than a thousand felony convictions followed the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s and early 1990s. There have been virtually no investigations, let alone convictions, of those responsible for the 2007-2008 global financial meltdown triggered by US financial institutions.


Crosier wrote widely against the power and influence held by Wall Street Bankers. Crozier wrote eight books, including The Magnet and U.S. Money vs. Corporation Currency, which served to warn the country of the replacement of the country’s currency by notes printed by private banking corporations. A wonderful display of political cartoons from his book, US Money vs. Corporations Currency is at

Warburg guided the operations of the National Citizens League, an organization formed in 1911 with $5 million in contributions from the big New York banks (including those owned by Rockefeller and J.P Morgan) to establish an “educational fund.”  The fund financed respected university professors to endorse the concept of creating a private central bank, which became the Federal Reserve Bank, created by the 1913 Federal Reserve Act.

The Federal Reserve sharply raises the interest rate it charges local banks to borrow money (called the “discount rate”). At the same time, it begins to sell its government securities (remember, the Fed is not part of the federal government, despite its name, but rather a largely private entity controlled by 12 reserve banks which are controlled by banks). These actions were the seeds, which led to the Great Depression – as limited money in circulation prevents business and commercial transactions from occurring.

“[T]hose who live by numbers can also perish by them, and it is a terrifying thing to have an adding machine write an epitaph, either way.”


“Money is what people make sure they have when they want to buy things.  Something works as money when people expect others to accept it as payment.  Sometimes money is a valuable commodity, such as gold, wampum, or packs of cigarettes.  More often, especially these days, money consists of pieces of paper.
The pieces of paper that serve as money have sometimes been issued by governments and sometimes by banks…What gives paper money its value to the general public is the expectation that a party with whom many will have occasion to trade will accept the paper as the basis for crediting the person who presents it.  The crediting can take the form of payment of taxes, payment of loans, payment of religious obligations, or, as with paper money issued by banks and some paper money issued by governments, the crediting can take the form of obliging the issuer to exchange the paper for some specified thing of value…
In those cases in which the crediting takes the form of obliging the issuer to exchange the paper for a specified thing of value, the paper money can be described as the record of a promise to pay a debt on demand, and if that is the only form of money, then an expansion of the money supply requires an expansion of debt.  But other forms of paper money are not debt.  In particular, a paper money that consists of fiat currency issued by a government, good for the payment of taxes but not otherwise guaranteed to be convertible is not debt.”


“The many bank failures occurring in the United States during 1930, 1931, and 1932, culminating in the closing of all banks on March 6. 1933, and the failure of many to reopen at the termination of the banking holiday caused widespread concern as to the fundamental soundness of the dual banking system and of American banking methods in general. Provision for certain radical changes in banking practice was made by the Glass-Steagall act, passed at the close of the special session of the 73rd Congress. It was generally felt, however, that a more thoroughgoing reform of the whole system was needed. In this connection, the movement toward unification of the state and federal banking systems, with possible federalization of all banks, appears to have been gaining headway. While the views of the administration on the question have not been made known, it is thought likely that the President will recommend enactment of new banking legislation by Congress at the regular session in January, 1934.”
[NOTE: A reform not made was one that was suggested by hundreds of economists of the day — to democratize money creation via what was called “The Chicago Plan,” specifically for the government to create money as an asset (not as debt which is what banks do) and 100% reserve requirement of banks (i.e. banks could only lend money that they actually possessed).


• (2005, speech in San Francisco) – Yellen argued against deflating the housing bubble because – “arguments against trying to deflate a bubble outweigh those in favor of it” and predicted that the housing bubble “could be large enough to feel like a good-sized bump in the road, but the economy would likely be able to absorb the shock”.
• (2010, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearing) “For my own part, I did not see and did not appreciate what the risks were with securitization, the credit ratings agencies, the shadow banking system, the S.I.V.’s — I didn’t see any of that coming until it happened.”
So, what is Ms. Yellen and her colleagues at the Fed today not seeing and won’t “until it happens?”


Why this calendar? Many people have questions about the root causes of our economic problems. Some questions involve money, banks and debt. How is money created? Why do banks control its quantity? How has the money system been used to liberate (not often) and oppress (most often) us? And how can the money system be “democratized” to rebuild our economy and society, create jobs and reduce debt? Our goal is to inform, intrigue and inspire through bite size weekly postings listing important events and quotes from prominent individuals (both past and present) on money, banking and how the money system can help people and the planet. We hope the sharing of bits of buried history will illuminate monetary and banking issues and empower you with others to create real economic and political justice. This calendar is a project of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. Adele Looney, Phyllis Titus, Donna Schall, Leah Davis, Alice Francini, Deb Jose and Greg Coleridge helped in its development. Please forward this to others and encourage them to subscribe. To subscribe/unsubscribe or to comment on any entry, email

REAL Democracy History Calendar August 1-7

August 1

1999 – Publication of “Treatise on Constitutional Law: Substance and Procedure” by Ronald D. Rotunda and John E. Nowak
The U.S. Supreme Court is “the most powerful court the world has ever known.” However, the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions of WTO, NAFTA, TPP, TTIP and TISA can supersede decisions of the highest national courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and there is no appeal.

August 2

2010 – Are the Corporate Money Floodgates About to Open? by Suzy Khimm
After waiting on the sidelines, Best Buy, Target, and other companies are diving into the campaign finance free-for-all.

“In the months immediately following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, corporations seemed to be sitting on the sidelines instead of delving directly into the campaign finance free-for-all that the decision opened up. Instead, it was labor unions that lept to take advantage of the lifted restrictions, outspending corporations on independent campaign ads by nearly threefold in the first six months of 2010. But now there’s mounting evidence that some of the nation’s most visible and powerful corporations have entered the fray…”

August 3

2009 – A Call to Democratize Money article published this month by Greg Coleridge
“Centuries before corporate “personhood” rights, even the US Constitution, a privileged few and their business corporations were usurping the power of sovereignty, of decision-making authority in one pivotal arena -with profoundly undemocratic, unjust, and violent consequences. That arena was, and is, the creation of money.

“The privatization or corporatization of money is not simply one more single-issue assault on the right of citizens to self-rule. Its profound impacts on economic and ecological systems are as consequential as those wrought by corporate constitutional rights and demand its separate understanding, analysis, and prescription.” Coleridge is a Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) principal.

August 4

1967 – Federation of Southern Cooperatives Chartered
Five major civil rights organizations developed economic cooperatives throughout the South — mostly farming and supply and marketing co-ops, but also credit unions, housing co-ops and worker co-ops. The Federation still operates today – an example of economic democracy.

August 5

1876 – Birth of Mary Ritter Beard, historian and women’s rights movement activist
“At no time, at no place, in solemn convention assembled, through no chosen agents, had the American people officially proclaimed the United States to be a democracy. The Constitution did not contain the word or any word lending countenance to it, except possibly the mention of “We the people” in the preamble….When the Constitution was framed no respectable person called himself or herself a democrat.”

1934 – Birth of Wendell Berry, US  novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer
“Though the corporations, by law, are counted as persons, they do not have personal minds, if they can be said to have minds. It is a great oddity that a corporation, which properly speaking has no self, is by definition selfish, responsible only to itself. This is an impersonal, abstract selfishness, limitlessly acquisitive, but unable to look so far ahead as to preserve its own sources and supplies. The selfishness of the fossil fuel industries by nature is self-annihilating; but so, always, has been the selfishness of the agribusiness corporations.

“…[W]e are no longer talking about theoretical alternatives to corporate rule. We are talking with practical urgency about an obvious need. Now the two great aims of industrialism—replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy—seem close to fulfillment. At the same time the failures of industrialism have become too great and too dangerous to deny. Corporate industrialism itself has exposed the falsehood that it ever was inevitable or that it ever has given precedence to the common good. It has failed to sustain the health and stability of human society. Among its characteristic signs are destroyed communities, neighborhoods, families, small businesses, and small farms. It has failed just as conspicuously and more dangerously to conserve the wealth and health of nature. No amount of fiddling with capitalism to regulate and humanize it, no pointless rhetoric on the virtues of capitalism or socialism, no billions or trillions spent on “defense” of the “American dream,” can for long disguise this failure…

“That we live now in an economy that is not sustainable is not the fault only of a few mongers of power and heavy equipment. We all are implicated. We all, in the course of our daily economic life, consent to it, whether or not we approve of it.”
Wendell E. Berry Lecture, “IT ALL TURNS ON AFFECTION”

August 6

1965 – Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson
The landmark federal legislation prohibits racial discrimination in voting, passed during the height of the American Civil Rights Movement, and considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the U.S. The Act resulted in the mass enfranchisement of racial minorities in the South and across the country.

2015 – “The Transformation of American Democracy to Oligarchy” published article by Akbar Ganji, dissident Iranian journalist; Intl. Press Association World Press Freedom Hero
“The United States has the world’s largest economy, is the most important contributor to scientific advancements, has the most powerful military and some of the best universities in the world, is a democratic state, and accepts more immigrants than any other nation. But, over time the democratic foundations of the United States, equality of the citizens and their human rights, have been eroding. It is impossible to make inequality a pillar of the structure of the state and deepen its roots, and yet to be proud and claim that the citizens have equal voting rights. When all types of inequalities take deep roots and expand, citizens lose their power to influence the political process.”

August 7

1890 – Birth of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
“History has a long-range perspective. It ultimately passes stern judgment on tyrants and vindicates those who fought, suffered, were imprisoned, and died for human freedom, against political oppression and economic slavery.”

Flynn was a labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a visible proponent of women’s rights, birth control, and women’s suffrage

2013 – Second national Democracy Convention, sponsored by Liberty Tree Foundation, Madison, WI
The 4-day-long Democracy Convention houses at least nine conferences under one roof. As the great progressive reformer Fighting Bob La Follette said, “democracy is a life,” and “involves constant struggle” in all sectors of society. The Democracy Convention recognizes the importance of each of these separate democracy struggles, as well as the need to unite them all in a common, deeply rooted, broad based, movement for democracy. Nine conferences–One movement: Earth Democracy, Education Democracy, Economic Democracy, Constitutional Reform, Race & Democracy, Media Democracy, Local Democracy, Representative Democracy, and Democratizing Defense.