Greetings POCLAD supporter!
It’s been over a decade since we at POCLAD first proposed the idea that corporations were not merely exercising power, but that they were ruling us. At the time the phrase “corporate rule” seemed shocking to many people, and some accused us of using extreme language to make a point.
But for others, the phrase “corporate rule” resonated, and people like you helped POCLAD plant and nurture seeds across the country. We are pleased to report that those seeds that have germinated and grown to become a nascent democracy movement in the United States!
It is easy to see the problem. Recent events have underscored just how brazen corporate rule has become. The oligarchs and plutocrats are destroying the planet we depend upon for life itself, and creating a racist, sexist and class-oppressive world with the plunder.
In 2010, the Supreme Court literally legalized corporate bribery of political candidates in Citizens United vs. FEC. We are proud that POCLAD and several POCLAD-inspired allies filed an amicus brief in that case directly challenging “Corporate Personhood,” the ridiculous legal doctrine that allows corporations to overturn democratically enacted laws.
Because we know what you know-- the problem goes beyond corporate money in elections. The reality is that there are solutions to every single problem facing our country--and we are certainly facing many. But these solutions are not being implemented because “We the People” do not control our own government.
Courts have overturned literally thousands of laws enacted to protect elections, workers, health and safety, and the environment. Unelected and unaccountable judges claim that these exercises of democratic authority are illegitimate, claiming that such laws violate the constitutional rights of corporations.
But there is hope!
The day the Supreme Court issued it’s opinion, POCLAD and several key allies launched Move To Amend—a multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalition of groups and individuals from across the country to demand an amendment to OUR Constitution to make it clear that:
Artificial entities (for-profit corporations, non-profit corporations, unions, limited liability companies, partnerships, etc) do not have the inherent and unalienable constitutional rights of human persons under our Constitution; and
Money is not speech, and “We the People” have the right to pass campaign finance laws to protect the integrity of elections.
POCLAD was instrumental in launching the coalition, and continues to provide key support. POCLAD principal David Cobb serves on the National Leadership Team; Greg Coleridge is coordinating efforts across Ohio; Mike Ferner is helping in Toledo; Mary Zepernick is instrumental in MA. Although not engaged directly with the MTA coalition, Virginia Rasmussen is active in efforts to criminalize fracking in New York.
Here is our quick report to keep you abreast of just how broad—and deep—the Move To Amend movement has become in less than three short years:
Move To Amend’s “We the People Amendment” was introduced in Congress on Feb 14, 2013 by Congresspersons Rick Nolan (MN) and Mark Pocan (WI). What a Valentine’s Day!
Over 280,000 folks have already joined us at www.movetoamend.org, and more join every day. If you have not done so, we ask that you do so now! If you are already signed-up, please forward this email to your family and friends, and use your Facebook account to help grow the movement.
Several thousand groups are either have endorsed the coalition or are actively participating. Get your group to endorse at https://movetoamend.org/node/add/endorsing-organization
Over 500 communities have already passed a Resolution in support of our effort, and 25 communities have successfully placed the campaign on the ballot. We have won every election by overwhelming majorities, including in areas where conservatives dominate. To see a map of all this activity, go to http://movetoamend.org/resolutions-map
Move To Amend supporters have helped to pass Resolutions of support in 7 state legislatures.
We have put this question on the ballot in 25 local/county elections, allowing the people to weigh-in directly on the question of whether a constitutional amendment is needed. And we have won every single time!
Occupy the Courts! On the first anniversary of the Citizens United decision we collaborated with Occupy organizers across the country, helping to coordinate rallies at hundreds of federal courthouses across the country. Virginia Rasmussen of POCLAD spoke at the even in New York City, joined by Lawrence Lessig and Chris Hedges. Cornell West, Media Benjamin, Thom Hartman, Shahid Butter and many other movement leaders joined us in events across the country.
Move To Amend hosts a monthly skills building webinars, and participation is open to anyone and everyone! These trainings are an opportunity for folks to connect with Move to Amend nationally, to learn about organizing tools and campaign opportunities, and to connect with other MTA community organizers across the country. To get plugged in, go to http://movetoamend.org/webinars
We have published editorials, created videos, been interviewed on television and radio stations, and are traveling the country helping folks plug in to the effort POCLAD principal David Cobb travels tirelessly, and is on the road over 1Ž2 of his life. If you want him to come to your community, please email barnstorming@MoveToAmend.org
We collaborated with Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream) to construct and operate The Stampede, a giant traveling Rube Goldberg machine that travels the country as a public art spectacle, an information center, and a money stamping machine where people insert their dollar bills and receive them back imprinted with messages like "Corporations Aren't People and Money Isn't Speech" and "Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians" and "The System Isn't Broken, It's Fixed." Order your own rubber stamps at https://movetoamend.org/stampede
And we are excited to share what we have planned in 2013!
Pledge to Amend
A campaign to make the call for abolishing corporate personhood and money equals speech a major issue in every single election. (NOTE: It was a MTA supporter who prompted Mitt Romney to exclaim, “Corporations are people, my friend.”
National Listening Project
A nationwide canvass where we train our supporters to go door-to-door, inviting conversation on the topic of corporate rule and the need for a democracy movement in the United States. Oh, and we wont be asking for money in this canvass.
Reoccupy the Courts (McCuthceon vs. FEC)
In October the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on whether to remove the last remaining thread of campaign finance reform after shredding most of the protections afforded under the already too-weak the McCain-Fiengold law. We will help hold protests at federal courts across the country to help people express their outrage.
POCLAD participated in both US Social Forums (Atlanta 2007 and Detroit 2010), and we are excited that there will be third social forum in 2014 or 2015! And we will be actively involved again, and POCLAD principal David Cobb serves on the National Planning Committee.
In 2012 there were 7 regional convergences of Move To Amend held all over the country. This year there convergences held in Portland, OR; Madison, WI; Austin, TX and Charlotte, NC. (NOTE: The Madison convergence is nested within the Democracy Convention described below).
Democracy Convention II
Imagine engaged citizens from all across the country coming together in the city that launched the “Wisconsin Uprising.” Well that’s exactly what will be happening Aug 7-11, and POCLAD will be part of it. There will be workshops on the Move To Amend campaign, building a multi-racial movement, and on democratizing media, education, defense, and elections. The first Democracy Convention drew hundreds of folks. This one should be even bigger!
I hope you can see that we have learned from our sister and brothers in Latin America, Iceland, Europe (and from the Tea Party folks here). True social movements do not ask, “What is possible within the existing political and economic power systems?” They articulate their demands clearly and boldly, organize themselves, and force the existing power structure to address them.
We are under no illusion that a constitutional amendment will fix everything that is wrong with our social, political, economic and legal systems. But we think this is the sort of concrete and tangible action that can help spur the systemic change the country needs.
In light of everything we have done-- and all that we plan to do—it is without shame that we ask for your financial support. We don’t get any money from large foundations, and 100% of our budget comes from people like you.
We in POCLAD hail these courageous citizens who know that the time for wresting illegitimate authority from corporations and engaging the struggle for real democracy is now! They have chosen one of the most pervasive corporate assaults of our time to take this case into their communities.
If you want to make a tax-deductible donation, please mail a check to "JAPA" (Jane Addams Peace Association) which serves as our fiscal sponsor and mail to POCLAD, P.O. Box 246, S. Yarmouth, MA 02664-0246.
Onward to the world we deserve,
The POCLAD collective
David Cobb, Greg Coleridge, Jim Price, Lewis Pitts, Mary Zepernick, Mike Ferner, Virginia Rasmussen