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.

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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

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.

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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)

Radio interview

WTAM
May 19, 2019

First hour: Greg Coleridge and Sally Hanley of “Move to “Amend” a national organization- that seeks to put an amendment in front of congress.

Testimony at Democracy Day Public Hearing

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Greg Coleridge / February 26, 2019 / Brecksville, Ohio

Happy Democracy Day! Congratulations once more to the citizens of Brecksville for voting for a ballot initiative in 2012 calling on Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment to end corporate rule and big money in elections by declaring that corporations don’t have constitutional rights and money spent in elections is not equal to political free speech.

Big problems require big solutions. The amendment is a big solution.

While much deserving attention tonight will be devoted to one piece of this proposed amendment – the impact of money in elections from the super wealthy and corporate entities, it’s not the only fundamental problem this amendment would fundamentally solve. The other problem is corporate rule or governance. Ending all corporate constitutional rights goes beyond corporate influence in elections to corporate power in direct rule making.

Inalienable rights apply to human beings. The Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment affirmed certain rights to human persons, not to corporations.

Corporations aren’t mentioned in the Constitution. Originally, they came into existence when sovereign state legislatures granted charters one at a time with clearly defined functions. Corporate charters were democratic instruments. No voter, citizen, social movement or elected official has ever granted corporations constitutional rights. Rather, it’s been activist Supreme Court Justices taking their cues time and again from corporate attorneys.

So, what’s been the impact of the corporate hijack of the Constitution? It’s been lethal on people, communities and our democratic republic.

Corporations have hijacked 1st Amendment “free speech” rights beyond the right to donate to political elections. The never intended corporate 1st amendment right NOT to speak has, for example, preempted passed laws informing consumers whether or not toxins are in their food. Never intended corporate 1st amendment “religious” rights have prevented women employees from receiving health care coverage because it violated the religious right of the business corporation – not the owners — but the corporation.

Corporations have hijacked 4th Amendment “search on seizure” rights. The courts have overturned democratically enacted laws and regulations requiring mandatory inspections of corporate property to ensure worker safety or environmental protections. Corporate rights have preempted these community rights to protect workers and the environment.

Corporations have hijacked 5th Amendment “takings” rights. Courts have overturned regulations ensuring the protection of homes, land and communities from a corporate action – claiming that regulations are “takings” and must be compensated. Thus, corporate property rights have preempted personal property rights.

Corporate have hijacked the 14th Amendment due process and equal protection rights – rights that were intended to apply at the end of the civil war solely to freed slaves. Laws passed by local communities that, for example, support local businesses that keep jobs and money recycling in the community over mega chain stores have been overturned by courts as “discriminatory” under the 14th Amendment.

And corporations have hijacked the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. The power of local public officials to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and the community have by the scores been preempted by corporations claiming that, for instance, toxic waste is commerce and therefore legally permissible to be dumped in a community’s backyard. Efforts by farmers and rural communities in many states against agribusinesses or initiatives that mandate only those who farm the land can own the land have been overturned by the courts as a violation of the Commerce Clause in favor of corporations.

Systemic problems require systemic solutions.

Yet, paradoxically, this amendment is extremely conservative because it advocates returning to a system where questions of money in elections and the relationship between corporations and people are no longer decided in the judicial arena (the courts) but are shifted back to the legislative arena – where they once were decided — where We the People have greater power.

It’s no wonder small businesses, family farmers, and local public officials support this amendment and why citizens across the country who have had a chance to vote on these initiatives like you did in Brecksville vote yes – by the hundreds – because it promotes the fundamental democratic right to decide.

Passing a constitutional amendment that not only ends political money defined as free speech but also ends all constitutional rights will help create real democracy. Awareness is spreading, as is the support because our rising fundamental problems require people to rise up for fundamental change.

It’s nice to have a Democracy Day. But I’m for — and I hope you are as well — real democracy year round.

Thank you.