Reality Check

Reality check
Greg Coleridge

Our movement to abolish “corporate personhood” and “money as free speech” is difficult
Often frustrating
And frequently feels like we’re not making progress
Deemed as not relevant
Not immediate
Not urgent
Not newsworthy
Not to mention downright impossible

But take a moment
And a breath
Step back
Have perspective
Listen to your conscience
Put in context
Face reality

Our current problems, actually crises
As communities
As a nation
As a species
Become wider and deeper every day
With the pace speeding up like circling water as it nears the mouth of a drain
If we have the courage to truly acknowledge the signs that are all around us

Political
Social
Economic
Ecological
Ethical

Interconnected problems and crises that make us realize that
Electing better representatives, while important, isn’t enough
Passing better laws, while important, isn’t enough
Enacting better regulations, while important, isn’t enough

Afterall, elected representatives today can be unelected tomorrow
Passed laws today can be reversed tomorrow
Enacted regulations today can be unenacted tomorrow

Rather
Our responses must fully answer the questions
Our solutions must be in proportion to our crises, and
Our commitment to change must equal the scale of the energy of those creating injustice and reducing our power

What we envision must be part of the Constitution, where it becomes
Rooted
Embedded
Anchored

Beyond the ability to easily change by simply
Removing good public officials
Reversing laws
Unenacting regulations

Our Eye on the Prize, despite all the barriers, must be constitutional change, after all history shows
What initially seems impossible becomes inevitable.
What once was a ceiling of possibility eventually becomes the floor of reality
What we can only now imagine becomes the obvious concrete step forward

If true, then answer this:
How many systematically altering ideas have been converted into actual policy proposals?
and
Have been introduced as legislation in Congress as an amendment to the United States Constitution?
and
Have attracted nearly 100 Congressional cosponsors?
and
Have over 700 national organizational endorsers?
and
Have over 700 communities (including 9 states) that have passed endorsing municipal resolutions and ballot initiatives?
and
Have nearly 500,000 individual supporters?
and
Have a skilled staff and board dedicated to movement building, diversity and inclusion?
and
Have a collectively/democratically run national organization with local groups and advocates that are politically and economically independent from the pressures by the power structure (government, political parties, big foundations, corporations, a handful of super rich individuals) to moderate, temper or water down what is ultimately needed?

The answer
Exactly. Precisely. None.
Zero.
Nada.
Nil.
Zilch.

What Move to Amend is doing – you and us together – is Incredibly rare throughout history

We’re calling not to reform, but to transform our relationship between people and the institutions we’ve created
To make government accountable to us
To make all corporate entities subservient to us
To ensure that the ultimate right to decide is empowered to us

But it’s also fragile because of all the interrelated problems and crises
All the problems.
All the issues
Demanding immediate reaction
Response
Resistance
To say no
To stop the assaults and the harms
To people
To places
To the planet

But there’s an alternative to “No”
To simply opposing
It’s proposing
It’s promoting an alternative
It’s a “Yes”
To the We the People Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
For starters

A vision, call and plan that affirms that only a human being is a person with inalienable rights, not corporate entities.
And that political money in elections is not “free speech” which shall be democratically regulated

It’s definitive
It’s clear
It’s unequivocal
And a stepping stone to even further transformative change

It asserts that Congress “shall’ take action.
Not “may” as other amendments propose
Since “may” can also mean “possibly”
Perhaps
Perchance
But can also be interpreted as “may not”
As in not here
Not there
Not now
Not ever

In the end, is it all worth it?
Worth organizing for systemic change, not just immediate relief?
Worth going on the offense and not always on the defense?
Worth not seeing immediate results vs sometimes seeing some immediate outcomes from taking immediate actions to address immediate problems?

It all depends
Not on politicians
Not on bureaucrats
Not on corporate executives
Not even on committed not profit “leaders”

But on us
That being you
Together with other yous
Who collectively at the grassroots have
Faith
Trust
Commitment

And the courage to clearly see the current reality is incredibly dire for us all and all living beings if all that happens is less than transformational
Yet phenomenally encouraging if we become aware, have vision and take action for a new reality that’s in harmony within ourselves, with other human beings and all living things.

To create justice in all its forms
To ensure a livable world
To create real, authentic democracy where every single person has the dignity, respect, support and power they should have – for the very first time.

That’s more than Move to Amend’s immediate current strategy
But it’s grounded in our vision
It’s a basis for how we engage with our grassroots leaders and supporters, and
It’s a commitment when connecting with other organizations

Starting with affirming that human beings should have the power and right to determine their own collective future – of self-determination
Not limited by the so-called “rights” of corporate entities
Not trapped by the so-called “rights” of money

This is where we stand
To us, it’s all worth the time, energy and financial resources
As it has to so many like you in the past.
As we hope to you and so many more in the present and future.

Testimony at Kent Democracy Day Public Hearing

KENT DEMOCRACY DAY TESTIMONY

Greg Coleridge, Co-Director, Move to Amend 

October 5, 2022

I’m Greg Coleridge, Co-Director of the national Move to Amend campaign.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Unless we change direction, we are likely to end up where we are going.”

If we’re honest with ourselves about the direction of what little democracy we have, which truthfully was never as much as it should have been from day one in our country, then where we’re headed is a monocracy, plutocracy and corpocracy – not to mention an autocracy – all rolled into one. 

There is no single cause for this, but major factors are the more than century-long series of bizarre Supreme Court decisions anoinging corporations with constitutional rights – corporate personhood some call it – and decades-long series of bizarre Supreme Court decisions anointing money in elections as equal to First Amendment-protected “free speech.” 

Abolishing corporate constitutional rights and money as speech are the two central components of HJR48, the We the People Amendment – now supported by 95 U.S. Representatives – including Tim Ryan – more than 650 organizations and over 700 communities that enacted either a municipal resolution or passed, like Kent, a citizen-driven ballot initiative. 

The leadership of this national effort has come from the bottom-up – from people like Bill Wilen, Lee Brooker and others in Kent who educated, advocated and organized for passing the initiative calling on Congress to pass HJR48.

But people like you, elected officials – both individually and collectively – have an extremely important role – if you so choose – to complement this effort. 

Here are six actions you can take to move this movement forward:

  1. Publicly call out any “pay-to-play” instances – in which developers or others who want something in Kent donate (or, more accurately, invest) to political campaigns of one or more councilpersons just before or after they receive what they want. 
  2. Don’t be intimidated to pass ordinances that protect the health, safety or welfare of Kent residents by corporate threats that they will preempt the law by going to the state legislature or to court claiming their corporate constitutional so-called “rights” have been violated. 
  3. Encourage council colleagues you know in Ravenna and/or any other communities in Portage County and beyond to join the hundreds of other communities that have passed resolutions calling for abolishing money as free speech and corporate constitutional rights. Sample resolutions in support of the We the People Amendment are at https://www.movetoamend.org/pass-local-resolution
  4. Introduce a resolution supporting passage of HJR48 to your County political party. 
  5. If Tim Ryan wins his race, pass a resolution encouraging him to introduce HJR48 in the U.S. Senate – since he already cosponsored the measure in the House.
  6. Finally, personally, don’t accept large individual contributions and corporate PAC funds for your political campaigns. I realize that under the current political reality, it takes an increasing amount of money to run and the threat of so-called “independent” funding from Super PACs and dark money groups is real, but commit to working at collecting smaller donations from more individuals as much as you can – while at the same time calling for passing HJR48.

It’s time to abolish the corrupting influence of big money in elections – which is legalized bribery – and corporate rule. It’s a major way to change direction before we end up where we are headed. 

Feel free to contact me at greg@movetoamend.org for any questions or ways I can assist any of you individually or Kent City Council collectively.

Thank you. 

Ohio Advocate Podcast

May 29th, 2022 Show

The Ohio Advocate

Matt and Justin give an update on the redistricting battle in Ohio, and discuss Starbucks unionization efforts, police surveillance networks, the fight to get marijuana legalization on the ballot this year, and issues with Youngstown’s water meters.

Kathleen Caffrey interviews Greg Coleridge from Move to Amend Ohio about their efforts to reduce the effect of money in politics, and their current fight to revoke FirstEnergy’s corporate charter.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/may-29th-2022-show/id1615298248?i=1000564411534

Greg Coleridge: Cultivating Peace with Justice in a Militarized World

May 20, 2022 Veteran activist Greg Coleridge speaks at Cleveland Peace Action’s 2022 Annual Meeting, on the challenges and opportunities for change in an interconnected world. A lively Q&A follows Greg’s talk, including ideas on Inspiring and sustaining our activist energies.

War Is (Still) A Racket: Corporate Power and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

A Raytheon facility is seen on June 10, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. The Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. have announced a merger, creating a new defense and aerospace company called Raytheon Technologies Corp. (Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

GREG COLERIDGE | March 9, 2022

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/03/09/war-still-racket-corporate-power-and-russian-invasion-ukraine

The Depth of Change

_________________________________________________________________

Order Now!

Selected articles, columns, editorials, letters, sermons, poems, talks and testimonies over four decades on economic, environmental and social justice; democracy; foreign policy/peace/nonviolence and systemic change/movements. Their analysis and calls to action are as timely today as ever.

Greg Coleridge is Co-Director of the national Move to Amend coalition, which works to enact a Constitutional Amendment to abolish corporate constitutional rights (“corporate personhood” for short) and political money defined as First Amendment-protected “free speech.” He previously worked for more than three decades for the Midwest Region of the American Friends Service Committee in Ohio where he educated, advocated and organized with diverse individuals and organizations at the local, state and national levels employing a range of strategies and tactics on issues of peace/anti-war, nonviolence, international trade, economic conversion, local and federal budget priorities, monetary reform, housing, privatization/corporatization of public services, hunger, jobs, poverty, local currencies, alternative media, toxic/radioactive pollution, campaign finance reform and corporate power/rule/rights.

301 pages. $14.95

Order HERE

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION 1

SELECTIONS

More defense dollars only worsen inflation (letter to editor) 4
North’s secrecy was objectionable (letter to editor) 5
KSU/May 4 and the need for action (letter to editor) 5
The Future of National Security and Economic Conversion (talk) 6
Agenda for the peace builders (editorial) 9

Spirituality, Nonviolence and Social Change (sabbatical report) 12
Nonviolent Revolution (sermon) 21
Bosnia: Military Intervention Is Not The Answer (letter to editor) 26
A few resolutions for public officials (letter to editor) 27
Gift-buying for the conscientious (column) 28

Visions of an alternative “Contract” for America’s cities (editorial) 31
Nuclear weapons still addictive (column) 34
Submarine floats as cities sink (column) 38
No need for bombs – Japan on verge of surrender (letter to editor) 41
U.S. must learn from the past (column) 42

Do we live to U.N. standards (column) 47
Put people power back on agenda (article) 50
GM strike localizes world woes (column) 55
The Costs of Technology (article) 59
U.S. takes easy way out on China (column) 63

Our Friend John (poem) 69
Has time for HOURS finally come? (column) 70
Apathy Funeral Service (talk) 73
Ethics and the Culture of Development: Building a Sustainable Economy (Cuba conference report) 75
Change in Relationship to Corporations Urged (talk) 78

Yes-Simple math: Less money, more democracy (editorial) 80
A Call for Help for Uniontown, Ohio (article) 82
Public Hearing sponsored by Robert Martin, U.S. EPA Ombudsman, on Industrial Excess Landfill (testimony) 84
Democracy, Corporations and the World Trade Organization (article) 88
Wrong Turn in Ohio: A wake up call for other states (article) 90

Rumors of USA Democracy Counterfeit (article) 92
Personal Reflections on 9/11 (letter) 99
Corporate Invading and Escaping (article) 103
Evolution and Social Change (article) 107
U.S. Hypocrisy and Immorality (talk) 108

The Invasion has Begun…But so has the Resistance (spoken word) 109
Citizens over Corporations: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future (forward to booklet) 113
Mantra of US Mainstream Left (article) 117
A Fraction of Democracy (article) 117
Statement on Department of Defense Spying on AFSC 120

Request to Rep. Dennis Kucinich to Introduce Legislation Renaming Department of Defense to Department of War (letter) 122
Closing Remarks at U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) National Conference 123
Ranting and Raking on Eminent Domain (article) 129
Keynote address at Martin Luther King Community Gathering 133
10 Democratic Reasons to Oppose Senate Bill (SB) 117 (article) 140

Electronic Voting Machines Undermine Democracy (testimony) 143
Auctioning the Magna Carta (article) 145
The U. S. Constitution: Pull the Curtain (article) 145
Reducing the Power of Juries (article) 155
The Spirit of Change (article/play script) 156

Municipalizing Democracy (article) 163
Democracy Taxed (article) 165
Local Economic Self-Determination (workshop presentation) 167
Six Ways Corporations Profit from War (article) 173
Pillars of Peace (sermon) 175

Opening Remarks at United National Action Conference – on Iraq and Afghanistan 179
Letter to Senator Sherrod Brown on BP Deepwater Horizon and IEL disasters 181
“One Nation” March Organizers Should Remember Coxey’s Army (editorial) 183
The Rigor of Research and Fundamental Monetary Change (talk) 186
Fracking issue tests citizen’ authority (letter) 192

Testimony on Ohio’ New “Plunder Law” – House Bill 193
Corporate Power: The Legacy of Santa Clara (talk) 196
Banking Political Influence (talk) 198
Lessons from Past Movements that Inform our Current Movement (talk) 202
Participation in our undemocratic democracy (article) 204

Organizing for the Right Rights (article) 204
Corporate Chameleons (article) 208
Four Problems with Billionaires Privatizing American Science (article) 209
The Wrath of Steinbeck: Corporate Personhood (article) 210
Supreme Authority: The Growing Power of the US Supreme Court and Democratic Alternatives (article) 212

Different problems. The same solution.(article) 220
Ronald McDonald is not a person (article) 223
Pope Heats Up Climate Change Debate (article) 224
Trans-Pacific Partnership would be assault on U.S. democracy (letter to editor) 225
Monetary History Calendar (intro) 226

Flint’s Water AND Democracy Crisis (article) 227
Testimony on Political Campaign Contribution Limits 228
3 lessons from organizing for justice during the RNC (editorial) 232
Trumped Up Democracy: 10 Reflections on the 2016 Elections and the Future (article) 234
Commit to seeking common ground (letter to editor) 240

This is What Democracy in Ohio Looks Like! Ohio’s Self-Determination “Infrastructure” (intro to directory) 241
Hacked Off by the Electoral College (article) 244
Democracy Convention (article) 249
With Democracy So Sick, Medicare for All Will Be Uphill Battle (editorial) 252
Winter Solstice (article) 256

Big Love Fest Mentors of Love (talk) 256
Don’t Let the Ability to Rein In Corporate Rule Slip Through Our Hands Like Water – Time to Amend the Constitution Now! (article) 258
Knowing history is key to saying no to corporate rights (article) 262
Remarks at Uniting Families Rally 265
Curing the cancer of the body politic (article) 267

Holy Toledo! (article) 270
How Wealth RULES the World (book review) 271
The Declaration of Independence, Then and Now (quiz) 272
Move to Amend poems 274
Simply reversing Citizens United will not stem the tide of corporate money polluting politics (editorial) 276

Ending the Monetary Pandemic (article) 278
Changed “Modes of Thinking” Needed to Create Real Justice and Livable World (editorial) 285
The U.S. Constitution is hopelessly outdated. It’s time to re-envision it (article) 288
Big Tech Shouldn’t Be the Arbiter of Our Free Speech Rights (editorial) 291
Thank you Darnella Frazier (article) 294

FirstEnergy should be put out of business (editorial) 295
Kent “Democracy Day” Public Hearing (testimony) 296
Holistic Solutions to Holistic Problems (talk) 298

APPENDIX 303

ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHY 307