Ending the Monetary Pandemic

virus-4970581_1280

by Greg Coleridge

The institutions that create and distribute money in our nation and throughout much of the world are diseased due to coney creation and distribution being privatized/corporatized. A democratic money system, which is fundamental system change, is one important piece to addressing our fundamental economic crisis.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Ending-the-Monetary-Pandem-by-Greg-Coleridge-Banks_Congress_Corporate_Corporations-200520-918.html

Hold public officials accountable to the people, not corporations, via We the People Amendment

supremecourt-dd6385dba48910068ac8f1d92526b1f1fe2924f8-s6-c30

https://www.cleveland.com/letters/2020/05/hold-public-officials-accountable-to-the-people-not-corporations-via-we-the-people-amendment.html

Letter to the Editor

State officials are reconsidering whether to use information posted on a website where employers could report employees who don’t show up to work after the site was attacked by hackers. While obviously not the technically appropriate venue, the website was a place where the general public could have symbolically performed their public duty to report every Ohio public official who doesn’t show up and do their job serving the public interest.

Public officials are paid with public tax dollars, yet too many increasingly serve the interests of big corporations and the rich. The list is long of Ohio elected, appointed and agency officials more beholden to energy, insurance, agricultural, financial, real estate and a slew of other corporations — and the richest 1% — than to the general public

We the People’s ability to have our voices heard and basic needs met continues to diminish, due in part to Supreme Court decisions declaring that “political money in elections is free speech” and “corporations have constitutional rights.” The We the People Amendment would abolish both constitutional doctrines.

As conventional arenas for the public to be heard and hold public officials accountable decline, it’s inevitable that the 99% will explore unconventional ways to make democracy real.

Greg Coleridge,

Cleveland Heights

Greg Coleridge is outreach director of the national Move to Amend campaign.

American Workers Get a 4-Month Safety Net; Wall Street Gets a 4 to 5-Year Bailout

looking-for-a-loan-dont-wait-for-a-big-bank1

Many but not all of us will receive (eventually) a one-time $1200 check, many but not all workers will receive (eventually) an extra $600 per month for 4 months, and some “small” businesses – tho many aren’t small at all but merely individual franchises of mega chains – will receive (eventually) some of the $349 billion: tho the $$ must be spent in 4 months otherwise the loan must be paid back, plus that fund is down as of today to just $25 billion with huge numbers still wanting to apply. However, banking and other mega corporations have access to pretty much an open-ended check book funded by us taxpayers for years to come. Who the private NY Federal Reserve Bank decides to bailout will be largely secret with Freedom of Information Act rules suspended and Fed meetings held in secret. The banks and banksters rule. And it will never, ever change unless we make systemic change well beyond changing elected officials, laws or regulations. The issue is not issues, the issue is the system. #WethePeopleAmendment #MovetoAmend

American Workers Get a 4-Month Safety Net; Wall Street Gets a 4 to 5-Year Bailout

Democracy, Corporations and the World Trade Organization

 

image_preview

[The “Battle in Seattle” was 20 years ago this week. Here’s what I wrote after spending the week there — including a notable event on December 1, 1999]

It was a privilege for me to be in Seattle at the time of the recent WTO meetings. I had the good fortune to attend a wide variety of teach-ins, briefings, street actions, cultural events and strategy sessions. I heard in-depth from representatives of citizen groups from all over the world concerning the threat of a global trading system in which commerce is the highest and only rule benefiting rich and powerful individuals and transnational corporations. This comes at the expense, these speakers said, of peoples everywhere who care about issues as wide-ranging but inextricably connected as protecting sea turtles and the environment; to expanding human and labor rights; to opposing the patenting of life and genetic engineering; to affirming the dignity of women, peasants, children and non-materialistic cultures.

Yet, one 60-minute slice of the week I will forever remember. It was two back-to-back events on December 1 that typified for me the relationship between democracy, corporations and the WTO.

The first event was a people’s march to a rally and march to a Methodist church sponsored by the US Steelworkers. It included a wide variety of labor, environmental, and church people from around the world. As we marched with a legal permit, we were joined by a group of young people. Indescribable feelings of liberation, joy and hope consumed me as the two groups (which totaled about 1000 people) linked together and marched, chanted and waved signs peacefully down the street greeting and leafleting pedestrians, drivers and local business owners, including vendors at Pike Street Market. One of the most popular chants of the week summed up the experience well: “this is what democracy looks like.”

In the midst of this wonderful, nonviolent display of freedom of speech and assembly a second event occurred. We were attacked. Out of nowhere and completely unprovoked, we were literally surrounded and fired upon by unidentified police who looked like Ninja Turtles on steroids from who knows where with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades. It was chemical warfare — but only one side was shooting. It was an oppressive, violent, painful, terrifying, secretive, seemingly deliberate and indiscriminate projection of force in response to a unified nonviolent expression of justice, democracy and peace. When property is threatened, throw out the Bill of Rights. “This is what the WTO and corporate rule looked like.”

That one hour dramatically summed up for me the stark contrast between the vision of democracy on one side and the reality of corporate rule and the WTO on the other — spontaneity, equality and compassion vs. order, authoritarianism, and violence. Amidst the fog of tear gas, there it was – laid out for all to experience. Even the vendors at the open air market got more than a whiff of reality as their meats and vegetables were transformed from farm fresh to toxic in a matter of minutes.

For decades, the people of the world over have been victims of the military might of the US. Now we know a bit of what millions of others have known who challenge the global control of corporate power. Governments and their media talk about “democracy” but when the people demand it, out come the guns, bullets and toxic gas. Globalization and militarization are two halves of the same rotten whole.

The WTO is about placing rules favorable to corporations governing commerce and trade over all other considerations. It’s trade and commerce uber alles. Hardly anyone I met opposed international trade per se. What speakers at educational forums and people on the streets opposed was the idolatry of trade and commerce over the protection of the environment and promotion of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights — which are the first responsibilities of nations. Without such protections and rights, the global flow of capital will continue to result everywhere in the exploitation of people, destruction of the natural world and in the widening gap between rich and poor. WTO critics rightly fear that life will be patented, foods will be genetically altered without their knowledge or approval (creating what some call Frankenfood), labor will be exploited and investments, education, and human services will take place with one and only one goal in mind — profit maximization.

The formidable, yet essential, task of all US citizens is to (re)assert democratic control over our own government, elected officials and corporations. The WTO and many other examples of corporate rule (including the many forms in the US) did not happen by magic, accident or overnight, but by persistent and consistent intention by corporate attorneys, CEO’s and compliant government officials who believe that corporations should have more “rights” than human beings. Our task is to challenge this myth in all its forms with dignity and respect and with a commitment to create an alternative of justice, peace and sustainability.

December 1999

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.

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

Elected mayor is a step toward more-real democracy

header

http://heightsobserver.org/read/2019/10/02/elected-mayor-is-a-step-toward-morereal-democracy
by Greg Coleridge

People the world over are increasingly demanding a greater voice in the decisions directly affecting their lives, communities, nations and natural world.

Many/most government, corporate, media, educational and religious “leaders” are increasingly publicly perceived as unaccountable, not transparent, captured by special interests, corrupt and disconnected from the problems affecting people in their everyday lives. Rather than exploring real alternatives to our fundamental problems, our “leaders” seem visionless.

Our own nation’s history is filled with profound movements to give greater voice to citizens over elites. These include a colonial revolution against a self-anointed king; popular resistance to a new Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added; and social movements to provide voting rights to freed slaves, women, indentured servants and indigenous people, as well as to directly elect senators (formerly appointed by legislatures). Those who strive to end voter suppression, gerrymandering, big money in elections, and corporate personhood represent this movement today for real democracy. So do those advocating for ranked choice voting, direct election of the U.S. President and, specifically at the local level, direct participatory governance.

It is this spirit for a greater public voice that drives the effort in Cleveland Heights to popularly elect a mayor.

Let’s be clear: there is no single solution to the challenges Cleveland Heights faces, some of which are rooted beyond our community and beyond our ability to directly influence. All we can do is maximize opportunities for both residents and elected representatives to be mutually heard and accountable.

There is also no single form of government that should be seen as forever, or blindly believed to be adequate. Times change. Conditions change.

Choosing a mayor and appointing a city manager should no longer be “in house” decisions—actions beyond the reach of voters. Let Cleveland Heights voters decide.

Having city council selecting who will be city manager and who will be mayor isn’t remotely the same as citizens directly electing who will represent us and our interests in running the city. Accountability and responsibility under the current system is too dispersed. It’s too easy to pass the buck. We need a full-time mayor (with professional staff) who is directly accountable to voters.

There are those with concerns that a reformed system will invite outside influence from special interests who could flood the local mayoral campaign with political contributions. This implies that special interests currently have no influence on public policy-making, which is not true, though it may be more hidden. It also ignores the reality that politically astute Cleveland Heights voters will see through and reject blatant attempts by special interests to manipulate our elections.

Direct voter election of a mayor is consistent with the current trend to provide residents and citizens a greater authentic voice—which is essential to improve civil skills and competence, to increase a sense of community, and to make people feel more personally responsible for public decisions.

There will be many possibilities to tap our collective skills as we face a future of uncharted political, economic, social and ecological challenges. An urgent first step, however, is to transform the “in-house” selection of the mayor to a public election. Cleveland Heights is our collective “house.” All who dwell here should have the right to decide who will represent us.

___________

Greg Coleridge is national outreach director of Move to Amend Coalition, and a Cleveland Heights resident.

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.

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.

 

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.