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.

Advertisements

Kent “Democracy Day” Testimony

dem43sign-copy

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.

 

Talking Democracy on Oct. 12

MV-Today-masthead_clear-1024x233

https://www.miamivalleysunday.com/2019/09/12/talking-democracy-on-oct-12/

TROY—Greg Coleridge, national outreach director for the non-partisan, grassroots coalition Move to Amend, will be the featured speaker at “Stand Up for Democracy,” 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Lincoln Community Center, 110 Ash St. The program is hosted by We The People Miami County and Move to Amend.

Also speaking will be Mary Sue Gmeiner, affiliate coordinator of Greater Dayton Move to Amend. Representatives from area justice and peace organizations will be on hand to share information about their work and ways for people to get involved.

The program will begin with the screening of the 30-minute documentary “Legalize Democracy.” Gmeiner will explain how corporate power relates to the issues faced by the participating justice and peace organizations. Coleridge will discuss solutions to the problem of corporate dominance in politics and offer suggestions for restoring the voice of the people. A Q&A will follow.

In addition to his work with Move to Amend, Coleridge is a principal leader of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) and an advisor to the American Monetary Institute (AMI). He previously served on the national governing board of Common Cause. For more than three decades, Coleridge worked with the American Friends Service Committee in Ohio. He is the author of “Citizens over Corporations: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio” and “Challenges to Freedom in the Future” and script writer for the documentary “CorpOrNation: The Story of Citizens and Corporations in Ohio.”

Move to Amend is a national, non-partisan grassroots affiliation of people and organizations working for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that makes clear constitutional rights belong to human beings only and money spent on elections is not a protected form of speech and shall be regulated. We The People Miami County is a local ad hoc working group in partnership with Move to Amend

For questions or more information about We the People Miami County, contact wethepeoplemiamicounty@gmail.com. For information on Move to Amend, visit movetoamend.org.

 

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

Unpublished letter re new corporate goal

end-800x445

The following letter was submitted to, but unpublished by, the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

<><><>

CEOs of the largest US corporations connected to the Business Roundtable recently changed their definition of the purpose of a corporation. It’s no longer maximizing shareholder value and profits, but caring more for employees, suppliers and communities.

Nice try.

Now that it’s becoming crystal clear that maximizing corporate profits above all else has exploited people, places and the planet to near tipping points of calamity and collapse, mega corporate CEOs want us to think they’re on our side.

Too late.

Corporations are creations of government and, by extension, We the People. It’s up to us to do the ultimate defining — as was once reality when corporate charters were democratic tools to instruct what corporations could and couldn’t do.

The creation is not greater that the creator.

Corporations should not be deemed “persons” with constitutional rights, despite what activist Supreme Courts have said.

This must change.

We the People, however, will only be able to authentically instruct corporate entities to promote justice and sustainability by passing the We the People Amendment, HJR48. Co-sponsored by Marcy Kaptur, Time Ryan, Marcia Fudge and 60 other Congresspersons, this Amendment will abolish all corporate constitutional rights and money defined as constitutionally protected free speech.

 

America’s Workforce Radio Interview

AWF

More Broken Promises From President Trump Discussed on America’s Work Force

Check out the second segment of the program.

Greg Coleridge, Ohio coordinator of Move to Amend spoke with AWF on Aug. 29 about passing a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. He also discussed giving more power back to people, and building a democracy where people will be held more responsible for their actions. Coleridge talked about making sure that companies are looking out for their workers, not just the company or their own personal interests.

 

Response to John Pudner

Just prior to my visit, the Concord Monitor published this opinion piece:

My Turn: N.H. Republicans want limits on political spending
By JOHN PUDNER
https://www.concordmonitor.com/Limiting-power-of-special-interests-25111255

I felt that Pudner did not accurately summarize the content of a majority of the municipal actions. Below is an unpublished submitted letter to the editor. Maybe it was because I was promoting the Concord program.

Oh well.

As a result, the mischaracterization will be believed as fact by those who read his piece. Omission (excluding facts) is just as harmful to the truth as commission (lying).

There is quite of bit of steering going on across the country to reframe town hall meeting actions, council resolutions and ballot initiatives that originally called for ending corporate personhood along with getting big money out of elections to ignore or downplay corporate personhood. Pudner’s piece, sadly, is just one example of this trend.

<><><>

To the Editor,

John Pudner presents a compelling case in his April 26 OpEd for the state legislature to pass a bill calling for a Constitutional Amendment to limit political spending and restricting political districts without partisan bias.

The problem is that his evidence at best cherry picks and at worst distorts historical reality.

While true that 82 New Hampshire municipalities have called in recent years for a constitutional amendment concerning political money in elections, it’s incorrect to portray at least a majority of those actions as exclusively addressing money in politics. By my count, 49 of the 82 municipal actions as summarized at http://united4thepeople.org/state-local/ declared that the very same constitutional amendment should also include that constitutional rights apply exclusively to people, not corporations, or similar wording to the effect that corporate constitutional rights (“corporate personhood” for short) should be abolished.

This includes the town of Bradford and several others referenced in Mr. Pudner’s opinion piece.

Many citizens of New Hampshire understand that the hijacking of our democracy/sovereignty transcends political elections to include the hijacking of Constitutional Amendments (including the 1st, 4th, 5th and 14th) and other provisions of our Constitution by corporate entities to overturn democratically enacted laws passed by municipalities and states over decades that protect people, places and the planet.

That’s why a once-generational Constitutional Amendment must address not only money in elections, but also corporate personhood.

I’ll present details of this proposal this Saturday, May 4 at 1 pm at Open Democracy, 4 Park St., in Concord.

Respectfully,

Greg Coleridge
Outreach Director, Move to Amend Coalition
http://MoveToAmend.org
(216) 255-2184 (cell – in Ohio)
(916) 318-8040 (office – in Sacramento, CA)