Corporate Hijacking of the U.S. Constitution

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http://poclad.org/BWA/2019/BWA_2019_Oct.html

Move to Amend recently issued a series of written documents detailing the many constitutional rights awarded to corporations by the Supreme Court. The series, Corporate Hijacking of the U.S. Constitution , includes a four-page summary of many corporate constitutional rights. It’s followed by seven separate two-page douments describing the “corporate hijacking” of individual constitutional amendments and portions of the original U.S. Constitution.

What follows is an abridged version of each of the seven documents.

As stated in the introduction:

Many believe corporate hijacking of the constitution begins and ends with money in elections (i.e. First Amendment ‘free speech’ rights permitting corporations to spend money to influence elections). But the threat to people, communities, the environment and democracy itself is much greater and includes additional parts of the First Amendment, as well as other amendments of our constitution.

Ending corporate constitutional rights is more than simply reversing the 2010 Citizens United vs FEC Supreme Court decision and more than simply ending political money defined as First Amendment-protected ‘free speech.’

The entire series is at https://movetoamend.org/toolkit/corporate-hijacking-us-constitution

Understanding the totality of corporate constitutional rights (better known as “corporate personhood”) is critical. Corporations did not originally possess constitutional rights in this country.

Several legislative and amendment alternatives to Move to Amend’s “We the People Amendment, HJR48 (https://movetoamend.org/amendment) reference corporate constitutional rights, but only focus on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision or only address corporate political money in elections. These alternatives provide a gaping hole for the power elite by simply using their remaining constitutional rights to assert control over people and communities and to further plunder the planet — as they once did prior to winning corporate political free speech rights.

Reversing Citizens United isn’t enough. Simply ending corporate political free speech rights isn’t enough. We must abolish all forms of corporate personhood if we expect as self-governing people to assert our authority to protect ourselves, families, communities and what remains of a livable world…not to mention creating a political system for the very first time where We the People include All the People.

-Greg Coleridge. Member of the POCLAD Collective
and Move to Amend Outreach Director

 

Rest of article at http://poclad.org/BWA/2019/BWA_2019_Oct.html

 

Holding Exxon Corporation Accountable

Exxon Corporation leaders knew for decades that burning their “product” destroyed the earth’s climate. They said nothing to their shareholders. Worse, they said nothing to the public. Check that. Not true. Just the opposite. The corpse was among the most vocal deniers that burning fossil fuels caused the rising of temperatures for decades. If we believe punishment should fit the crime, then what should be their punishment? How about a fine, which is standard practice? The corpse after the Exxon Valdez disaster wrote off $900 million as a business expense. That show’d them how tough we can get, right!? Constitutional “personhood” rights via hijacking several Constitutional Amendments intended for human beings alone shielded Exxon Corporation and gave it numerous anti-democratic weapons — as it does all business corporations — from being help publicly accountable. Nothing fundamentally will change unless we change — unless we work to abolish all corporate constitutional rights — and assert human rights and the right to a livable world over corporate/property rights. 

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/23/exxon-climate-crisis-house-democrats-hearing?fbclid=IwAR0KaABFCNKmdXGfGWN3DBGzokQhrC0PdEwfpPJlt_hT6rWpDPsyfgLHPFY

Working to restore the voices of ordinary people

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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.

 

Talking Democracy on Oct. 12

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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

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

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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.