This reform, passing a 28th Amendment, will make all other progressive reforms much easier. So, keep working on your favorite issue, and support the movement that strikes at the roots of our corrupted democracy: big money and out-of-control corporations.
MoveToAmend uses various methods to build the movement for a 28th Amendment that says 1) Corporations are NOT People, and 2) Money is NOT Speech:
- Policy research and lobbying. We go directly to lawmakers with our Pledge To Amend form. We also lobby for specific legislation by asking lawmakers to sponsor/support those bills.
- Engage the public to support specific policy changes. We approach organizations and individuals with messages designed to engender support for legislation and/or resolutions.
- Grass-roots organizing to build deep and continuous public support. Our grass-roots organizing has taken many forms from rallies and demonstrations to circulating petitions and participating in radio talk shows.
The SCC-MTA Orientation Packet includes these documents:
- SCC-MTA Introductory E-mail
- Actual wording of MTA's 28th Amendment
- Petition form calling for a 28th Amendment (get others to sign-up)
- Santa Clara County Move To Amend Strategic Plan
- Corporate Personhood (4 pages)
- MTA bookmark
- SCC-MTA tri-fold brochure
- SCC-MTA single-sheet flyer (front) and back
- SCC-MTA Volunteer Program
- SCC-MTA business card (front) and back
- Further Resource
In the wake of our most expensive midterm elections ever, decided with the lowest turnout in over 70 years, it’s no wonder that a majority of Americans are fed up with the way big money is distorting our politics. Whatever one’s political philosophy may be, the fact is: wealthy donors are now able to drown out your voice.
This 9-minute video outlines the problem and its background in a clear, concise and entertaining way. http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-citizens-united-v-fec/
This 5-minute video featuring Lawrence Lessig outlines the corruption of Congress by money. https://vimeo.com/95222688
This 3-minute video uses clips from a demonstration to explain how the Supreme Court's McCutcheon decision blew the limits off what the super-rich can spend on elections. https://vimeo.com/81537641
This 2-minute clever and funny parody was created in response to the McCutcheon decision. Say Hello to McCutcheon: The Free-est Speech Money Can Buy (http://unlimitedcorruption.com/)
PAY 2 PLAY follows filmmaker John Ennis’ quest to find a way out from under the Pay 2 Play System, where politicians reward their donors with even larger sums from the public treasury -- through contracts, tax cuts, and deregulation. http://www.pay2play.tv/
Amend the U.S. Constitution to state unequivocally that 1) rights belong only to human beings, and 2) that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns. Formed in September 2009, Move To Amend is the multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition of over several hundred groups and hundreds of thousands of people calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Supreme Court activism.
The judges created two legal doctrines: 1) “a corporation has constitutional rights” rather than merely privileges and 2) “money equals speech”. These doctrines make it virtually impossible for local, state, and federal governments to regulate campaign financing and corporate misbehavior. These two doctrines are critical components used by the super-elite to hijack our democracy and our country.
A teach-in was held in Burlington, VT, with David Cobb, lawyer and spokesperson for Move To Amend. This edited 16-minute version clearly and quickly lays out the Constitutional argument why the Supreme Court was wrong, and what we can do about it.
Crash Course: We the People, Not We the Corporations https://vimeo.com/40726161
Here's the 30-minute version of David's entertaining lecture presented in San Jose on Nov. 19, 2013:
The MoveToAmend website includes an entire toolkit with an introduction that focuses on diversity and inclusion: https://movetoamend.org/toolkit
Of particular note in the toolkit is the petition form. Submit filled (or partially filled) petition forms to SCC-MTA for entry into our local list. Either mail to 1376 N. 4th Street, San Jose, CA 95112, or scan and e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will forward them to national per their instructions for uploading: https://movetoamend.org/petition On the Petitioning webpage of the Toolkit is a list of resources including brief instructions for tabling at https://movetoamend.org/toolkit/collect-mta-petitions
We must stand for a true democracy, first in the US and ultimately everywhere, because that’s the only way we will be able to shape a future that works for our children and our children’s children. Yes, keep doing the projects that call you, the ones that speak to your personal interests, situations and inclinations. And, find a way to also engage in the area of democracy. If grassroots organizing the way MTA offers is not your thing, fine. Find your thing in the area of democracy. There are many, many ways to engage. Find one that works for you, even it it's outside your comfort zone.
The concept of Corporate Personhood, being new to folks, requires special attention. There are two conceptions of "corporate personhood". The first simply bestows upon corporations the ability to engage in many legal actions (e.g. enter into contracts, sue, be sued, etc). This is widely accepted and we do not object to this.
However, "corporate personhood" also commonly refers to the Supreme Court-created doctrine of corporations enjoying constitutional rights that were intended solely for human beings. We believe this form of "corporate personhood" corrupts our Constitution and must be corrected by amending the Constitution.
Justices have struck down hundreds of local, state and federal laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm based on this illegitimate premise. Armed with these "rights," corporations wield ever-increasing control over jobs, natural assets, politicians, even judges and the law.
This 4-minute video outlines the various court cases that gave corporations “rights”:
See the Corporate Personhood article in this packet for a deeper introduction:
For an in-depth investigation, go to:
Removing the doctrine of “corporate constitutional rights” will allow us – through legislation enacted by our representatives - to once again regulate corporations and make corporations accountable to "We the People".
You are joining a movement to enact what is already the will of the people.
Voters across party lines overwhelmingly 1) oppose the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling and 2) strongly support a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision and curb the influence of money in politics. A new bipartisan poll shows that:
- Voters generally oppose Citizens United by a nearly 3-1 margin; Republicans by 2-1.
- By a 6-1 margin, voters feel it's important to reduce the influence of money in politics.
- By a 2-1 margin, voters provided with a short description of the amendment favor a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
- Presented with strong arguments for and against an amendment, voter support for an amendment rises.
The polling data is presented visually at: http://www.nationofchange.org/2014/11/23/majority-americans-want-money-politics/
Momentum is growing. More than 3 million petition signatures have been gathered in support of an amendment, while 16 states and more than 550 local towns have passed resolutions supporting it. (Here are the 16 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana New, Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.)
A Cause for Optimism? (4-minute Bill Moyers video clip) https://vimeo.com/120008277
The fate of society—especially democracy, depends upon the minority of people who care enough to engage and stay engaged. ... The greatest challenge we face in America today is to stop the buying and selling of our politicians and political process by corporations and the rich. .... Either we reverse Citizens United and insist democracy is about equal representation, or we might as well close up shop. - Bill Moyers
Those who say that spirituality has nothing to do with politics do not know what spirituality really means. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Education Work Group
Purview: development of content, messaging, and materials; create Forum on Corporate Personhood; educate about the movement
Contact: Rob Means (email@example.com)
Organizing Work Group
Purview: community outreach and organizing, grow volunteers, new member orientation
Contact: Carol Klein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Political Action Work Group
Purview: engage volunteers, solicit Pledge To Amend signatures from politicians, pass local resolutions/initiatives/ordinances; plan events.
Contact: Jaime Arias (email@example.com)
The rich and powerful have corrupted our government. Restoring democracy requires a 28th Amendment that says Money is not Speech and Corporations are not People.
The rich and powerful 1% have stolen our democracy, corrupted our government, and plundered our country. So, “we the people” must unite to change course with a 28th Amendment that overturns Citizens United to ensure Money is not Speech and Corporations are not People. Let's control corporations so we can take back our country and our democracy! Join MoveToAmend's grassroots movement. We are working to stop corporations from hijacking our essential rights in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the environment, the economy, and the common good. Are you ready to sign our petition? [Various situations call for other closing questions.]
The rich and powerful are stealing our democracy, corrupting our government and plundering our resources. “Corporate personhood” has played a large role in this theft.
Corporations are artificial entities that are created by state law. Originally, they were chartered for a specific public purpose and limited period of time. Now corporations are created without providing any public value - and can live forever!
They have been defined as persons entitled to Constitutional rights by court rulings dating back to 1886 -- see Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Supported by the courts, they have used Constitutional rights to acquire vast wealth, undo regulations that benefit real people, and capture our political process.
In the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo case, the Supreme Court declared that spending money is a form of free speech. In 2010 , in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court gave corporations protection from many kinds of oversight, including limits on money as speech - thus overturning 100 years of campaign finance law. Now, corporations can spend vast amounts of secret money on lobbyists and political campaigns, undermining government by “We The People” and threatening the core of our democracy.
So, “We the People” must unite to change course with a 28th amendment that overturns Citizens United and ensures money is not speech and corporations are not people. Let’s control corporations so we can take back our country and our democracy.
Join MoveToAmend's grassroots movement. We are working to stop corporations from hijacking our essential rights in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the environment, the economy, and the common good. Are you ready to sign our petition? (various situations would call for a different ending, e.g. Please sign our petition.)
Presentation Slide Shows
- Quick 6-slide introduction to the movement for a 28th Amendment.
- Volunteer orientation to the movement and SCC-MTA (16 slides).
- Peoples Movement Assembly at 2015 US Social Forum.