Vote today, organize for fundamental change tomorrow

People flag

Today is election day. There are important local races everywhere. Please vote!

However, regardless of who’s elected for whatever offices or what ballot issues are passed or defeated, two things won’t change. The political corruption and hijacking of whatever amount of democracy we have/ever had due to corporate constitutional rights and political money in elections defined as “free speech” will remain.

No decree, law or regulation enacted by any elected representative of any political party in any place can alter this. The same goes for any citizen-driven ballot measure in any community or state.

Don’t misunderstand. We need many more responsive public officials and many more educational and symbolic resolutions and ballot measures to build capacity, to educate, to change the culture, and to build an authentic democracy movement. But only by amending the Constitution to abolish ALL corporate constitutional rights (corporate personhood) and “money as speech” can we stop business corporations and the super rich from using these anti-democratic battering rams to do what they want, when they want, wherever they want, to whomever they want — causing further harm to people, places and the planet.

More representative representatives are extremely important at every level of government to push from the “inside” for the #WethePeopleAmendment. But it absolutely must be complemented on the “outside” by a legitimate democracy movement that agitates, educates and organizes to build power — which is what #MovetoAmend is all about.

So please vote today for more representative representatives. But tomorrow join us to agitate, educate and organize to change/amend the foundational rules of the game — the Constitution. It’s the only way to ensure that We the People actually mean All the People.

Working to restore the voices of ordinary people

troy

October 3, 2019

https://www.tdn-net.com/opinion/columns/71364/working-to-restore-the-voices-of-ordinary-people

By Deb Hogshead

It’s neither a conservative nor liberal issue. It’s a constitutional issue, and that’s what Greg Coleridge will talk about when he visits Troy on October 12.

Greg is the national outreach director for the non-partisan, grassroots coalition Move to Amend, and he will explain how a proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution will restore the voices of ordinary people — individuals like you and me — in government decisions.

Large corporate entities (for example, business corporations, associations, labor unions and non-profit organizations) have a louder voice than we do in Washington and Columbus. Through a series of rulings over the course of many years, the Supreme Court made this possible by ruling that corporations are people with constitutional rights — including free speech rights that allow them to spend large amounts of money to influence elections and legislation.

Corporate entities play a critical role in society and warrant privileges and protections, but they should not have a louder voice than we do when it comes to decisions that affect our daily lives — decisions about such things as the quality of our water supply, access to affordable healthcare, disclosure of ingredients in our food, the dumping of out-of-state toxic materials in our communities and protections for locally owned businesses and family-owned farms against chains stores and out-of-state agribusinesses.

A 28th Amendment would shift political power away from corporate entities and back to the people. It would move decisions about corporate privileges and protections from the Supreme Court back to the people, through their elected representatives, where it had been at the beginning of our nation’s history.

There’s already a resolution in Congress with language for a proposed amendment. It’s HJR 48, and it has 64 co-sponsors, including three from the Ohio delegation. HJR 48 makes clear (1) constitutional rights belong to human beings only — not artificial entities such as corporations, associations, unions and nonprofit organizations — and (2) money spent on elections is not a protected form of speech and shall be regulated.

Support for a 28th Amendment has been growing since the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v FEC. Let me give you a few examples:

Across the nation, nearly half a million people have signed a petition supporting a 28th Amendment; of those, more than 16,000 are Ohio residents and 1,215 live in Ohio District 8.

Well over 600 communities have passed citizen initiatives or council resolutions in support of a 28th Amendment. In Ohio the number is 24.

Of the 50 states, close to 20 have passed ballot initiatives or resolutions calling for a similar amendment. In Columbus, resolutions calling for a 28th Amendment have been re-introduced in both the House (HR 140) and the Senate (SR 221).

These numbers will grow as more people understand the impact of corporate dominance in our governance.

Please join us from 1-3 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Lincoln Community Center, 110 Ash St.

Kent “Democracy Day” Testimony

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TESTIMONY AT “DEMOCRACY DAY” PUBLIC HEARING

Greg Coleridge, Outreach Director | Kent, Ohio | October 2, 2019

Happy Democracy Day!

Congratulations to all those who circulated petitions.

Thanks to all those who voted for “Democracy 4 U and ME! Yes on Issue 43!”

And kudos to the organizers for somehow convincing the state of Ohio to support this initiative by coordinating state road signs with that exact number go right through the center of town!

Kent is one of more than 500 communities and more than a dozen states that have passed municipal resolution or citizen initiatives calling for ending corporate constitutional rights and money defined as First Amendment-protected free speech.

Over 460,000 individuals have signed our petition, hundreds of organizations have endorsed our initiative, and our We the People [constitutional] Amendment (HJR 48) has 65 cosponsors, including Rep. Tim Ryan.

This growing movement is a reflection of the growing disconnect between what people want on issue after issue and the policies that our elected representatives don’t pass – which is contributing to the growing movement for transformational change.

This movement is also a reflection of the growing awareness of the absurdity of money being defined as free speech and corporations having constitutional rights. Neither of which existed at the time of this country’s founding.

Many have said the greatest threat to democracy or a democratic republic is the mistaken belief that we actually have an authentic one. We the People have never been All the People.

People with property have always had more rights. Social/democracy movements driving women and people of color, among others, have partially changed that.

While white, male, property owners were certainly well shielded by the US Constitution, corporations weren’t. They, in fact, aren’t mentioned. Thus, corporations were defined as subordinate creations of the state, only able to provide goods and services as instructed in their charters or licenses, which was passed early on one-at-a-time by state legislatures.

Corporate entities only acquired “constitutional rights” because activist Supreme Court justices fictionally interpreted parts of the Constitution and Constitutional Amendments to apply to these artificial legal creations of government.

Corporate constitutional rights, or corporate personhood goes well beyond corporate political money spent in elections being defined as “first amendment free speech.” As harmful to people, places and the planet and to democracy as these are, there’s so much more.

Corporations have hijacked Constitutional Amendments and parts of the original Constitution — with impacts in many cases that limit the ability of local and state legislatures to protect the health, safety and welfare of their residents, citizens, communities and state.

For example:

-A state law mandating the labeling of certain ingredients in food has been overturned as violating a corporation’s right not to speak under the first amendment

-Employees of a corporation wanting to access contraception coverage were denied by the court as a violation of the business corporation’s first amendment religious rights (Hobby Lobby).

-A state regulation limiting the amount of fossil fuels that can be extracted from the ground has been overturned as violating a corporation’s “taking” rights under the 5th Amendment — which could have direct implications in trying to keep fossil fuels in the ground to save the climate.

-Laws giving preferential treatment to locally owned over big box stores has been overtured by corporations claiming the law discriminates under the 14th Amendment

-Numerous laws limiting the importation of toxic materials and other items in communities in the name of health, safety and welfare have been overturned under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause that places principle of commerce or trade over the principle of health, safety and welfare.

The list goes on to include the numerous instances of local laws across the country preempted or trumped by state laws or the courts to protect corporate interests over community concerns.

The point being: elections are not enough, laws are not enough, and regulations are not enough — not when the foundational rules and the interpretation of those rules are rigged to protect corporate rights over human rights and the rights to a livable world.

Amending the constitution to abolish not only political money in elections as first amendment protected free speech but also all forms of corporate personhood is essential. The We the People Amendment is that amendment. Only people are persons.

Victor Hugo once said, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

Thank you Kent residents for contributing to this growing awareness and to shifting the culture — prerequisites to changing our foundational governing rules. This is an idea…and a proposal…whose time has come.

 

Forum addresses efforts to combat big money in politics

MTA

Move to Amend’s Outreach Director Greg Coleridge speaks about the nationwide movement to pass a 28th amendment concerning the involvement of corporations in American government at the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House.

https://www.michigandaily.com/section/government/corporate-hijacking?fbclid=IwAR2hZtrPQrLO3nml2Jkz9yn57YLDCCE8tno0gX8CIHfTo9OrlOaGqj90cT0

How Wealth RULES the World

HowWealth

This is worth the read!

Price’s invaluable work makes clear that not all forms of property are the same: some require fundamental legal protections, others are legally protected only because those of immense wealth and power make us think they should be. If we have any hope of creating authentic democracy (not recreating because we’ve never had at any time) in this country and beyond and protecting the ecosystem from corporate plunder, we must quickly move to the other side of the learning curve about property and how “property rights” have come to trump human and community rights and the rights of human beings to our livable habitat.

“How Wealth Rules the World” is both historical and contemporary; descriptive and prescriptive. It describes how the privileged transformed the best affirmations of the Declaration of Independence into a self-serving Constitution. The Contracts and Commerce Clauses have gutted the ability of local self rule. Numerous Constitutional Amendments that were intended to apply solely to human beings have been expanded to include the the rights of property to ensure that property owners forever expand their power and profit as they plunder abroad and increasingly in our communities.
Local laws promoting justice, sustainability and democracy are legally increasingly preempted by the state, state laws by the federal government and increasingly federal laws by mis-named international “trade” deals that are more about corporate rule than free or fair trade.

The prescription, as presented, is people organizing collectively to protect the most basic place that they readily identify — their community. The growing “community rights” movement that seeks to legalize democracy where they live is an extremely important strategy to not only resist the property right onslaught, but maybe more importantly lift up as a tangible alternative to the centralization and privatization of decision-making that is more real, inclusive and ultimately sustainable.

While no one movement is by itself the solution to the multitude of systemic crises we face, it’s one of the more important ones. Reading the book will help one much more understand how we got into our legal and constitutional fix, and a route out of it.

WE THE PEOPLE VS. CORPORATE RULE: IT’S UP TO US!

Greg ColeridgeRights & Democracy (RAD) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) host a community forum with guest speaker Greg Coleridge, Outreach Director of the Move to Amend campaign.

https://wordpress.com/post/createrealdemocracy.wordpress.com/5265

Constitution In A Box

ConstitutionBox

Testimony of Greg Coleridge
Democracy Day Public Hearing, January 17, 2019, Cleveland Heights City Hall

Think of the U.S. Constitution as a box. It symbolizes our democratic space, rights and responsibilities, and limits. It’s a space that allows our public officials and citizens to determine the kind of society – politically, economically, environmentally, socially – that we want. Its size has expanded with each of the 27 Constitutional Amendments, as were passed following democratic people’s movements. The box has also enlarged due to various interpretations of the Constitution by the Supreme Court.

But other Supreme Court interpretations have vastly decreased that democratic space – the box that we call our democracy. Many of those interpretations involved activist Supreme Court decisions that granted corporations with never-intended unalienable constitutional rights – rights that trumped people’s rights. Following each decision by the court, our democratic space contracted – the box became smaller.

Examples:

1819 – Corporate perversion of the Contract Clause
Dartmouth College v. Woodward. A corporate charter is ruled to be a contract and can’t be altered by government. States had less flexibility to use corporate charters as tools to define corporate actions.

1875 – Corporate perversion of the Commerce Clause
Welton v. State of Missouri, 91 U.S. 275. The Supreme Court begins a century long effort to frame every corporations action as a form of “interstate commerce” – which overrules the police power of cities and states to uphold their duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their communities.

1886 – Corporate perversion of the 14th Amendment
Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad
Corporations are in effect granted equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment.

Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Lee (288 U.S. 517, 1933)
Florida voter passed a law that levied higher taxes on chain stores than on locally owned stores. The Supreme Court overturned the law citing the due process and equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the Interstate Commerce clause.

1906 – Corporate perversion of the 4th Amendment
Hale v. Henkel – Corporations get 4th Amendment “search and seizure” protection. The public no longer has the ability to publicly inspect corporate books and records to ensure accountability.

A 1978 decision prohibited OSHA inspectors from doing surprise inspections.

1922 – Corporate perversion of the 5th Amendment
Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon A regulation is deemed a taking. A corporation subject to certain regulations has to be compensated for lost future profits.

1974 – Corporate perversion of the 1st Amendment –
Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241 – Corporations granted the right NOT to speak

They don’t have to reveal information, even if that information is important for public safety (i.e. toxins in food).

1980 – Corporate perversion of the 1st Amendment – Commercial speech
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., v. Public Utilities Comm’n, 447 U.S. 557
Corporate “commercial speech” rights (to increase profits_ preempted the state’s right to protect the welfare of its residents.

1976 – Money equals free speech
Buckley v Valeo. Political money in elections is a form of constitutionally protected First Amendment “free speech.”

1978 – Corporate perversion of the 1st Amendment – political free speech
First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765. U.S. constitutional law case defines the free speech right of corporations for the first time – the right to spend on issue campaigns.

2010 – Citizens United vs FEC
The ability to influence elections via money from wealthy individuals and corporations is expanded.

Our democratic “box” or space isn’t very large. So many people believe that what’s needed is simply to reverse Citizens United, end corporate political free speech and/or end “money is speech.” As you can see, however, our democratic space or box wasn’t nearly as large as it once was and needs to be before these Supreme Court rulings were made. It’s not enough to get big money out of elections before reversing the fact that our ability to self-rule has been inhibited by numerous court decisions.

That’s why Move to Amend calls for not only ending the constitutional doctrine that “political money is equivalent to 1st Amendment-protected “free speech,” but also calls for ending ALL forms of never -intended and at one time never-existing constitutional rights. Only a 28th Amendment that does both will enable government by We the People.