Move to Amend
|Focus||Political & social advocacy|
|Method||Education, Lobbying, Resolution & ballot campaigns|
Move to Amend is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization that seeks to blunt corporate power by amending the United States Constitution to end corporate personhood and state that money is not speech. The group was created in response to the Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which held that corporations have a First Amendment right to make expenditures from their general treasuries supporting or opposing candidates for political office, arguing that the Court's decision disrupts the democratic process by granting disproportionate influence to the wealthy. Move to Amend advocates for the "We the People" Amendment, currently in Congress as H.J.Res. 48, to establish that constitutional rights are reserved for natural persons only and require the regulation and disclosure of spending in U.S. elections.
In 2009, several national organizations including the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the Program on Corporations, and Democracy (POCLAD) and Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC) submitted an amicus curiae authored by former Massachusetts assistant attorney general Jeff Clements to the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a U.S. constitutional law case concerning the regulation of independent political expenditures by corporations, which the non-profit organization Citizens United challenged on the grounds of violating the First Amendment’s freedom of speech. The brief argued against Citizens United and called for the court to reverse its precedents on corporate personhood, citing the 1886 case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. that preceded the extension of constitutional protections to corporations under the Fourteenth Amendment.
When the Court ruled to allow for corporations to make political expenditures from their general treasuries under the First Amendment's free speech rights in January 2010, several organizers and attorneys from those organizations behind the brief launched Move to Amend as a national campaign to overturn the Citizens United ruling, arguing that the Court’s decision disrupts the democratic process by granting disproportionate influence to the wealthy with the intent of promoting corporate power at the expense of ordinary citizens.
Resolutions and Ballot Campaigns
Move to Amend's strategy has included grassroots organizing to lobby elected officials and candidates to pass local resolutions and ordinances through municipalities, which call on state and federal representatives to support a 28th Amendment and may include holding a "Democracy Day" public hearing. As of July 2019, over 800 local governments and 20 states have passed resolutions and ordinances supporting a constitutional amendment to address the Citizens United ruling. Over 300 resolutions were passed by voters via ballot initiatives, including statewide initiatives in Colorado, Montana, California and Washington.
Local affiliates of Move to Amend have helped pass many such resolutions supporting the language of the We the People Amendment, including the Los Angeles City Council which voted unanimously to end constitutional rights for corporations in 2011. In Ohio, local ordinances supporting the amendment and creating a "Democracy Day" public hearing to examine the local impact of political influence by corporations have been passed by municipal governments and voters via ballot initiatives, including Cleveland and Toledo. In Wisconsin, over 100 municipalities have passed resolutions, comprising 55% of Wisconsin residents.
The group has included organizers and attorneys from several national organizations among its leadership, including:
- Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Move to Amend’s national director and director of Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County
- David Cobb, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate and principal of POCLAD
- Riki Ott, a co-director of Ultimate Civics, is a co-founder
- Ben Manski, an executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation
- George Friday, national steering committee member of the Independent Progressive Politics Network
- Lisa Graves, executive director for the Center for Media and Democracy
- Nancy Price, co-chair of the Alliance for Democracy and committee chair for Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom
- Jerome Scott, a member of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers and founding director of Project South
- Laura Bonham, a co-founder of Progressive Democrats of America and co-chair of the Justice Party
- Maria Agosto, a member of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC)
- "Move to Amend: We the People, Not We the Corporations". Huffpost. October 10, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- "Move to Amend". Move to Amend. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- "The 'We the People Amendment' Aims to Fix the Crisis of Corporate Rule". Common Dreams. March 7, 2019. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- Clements, Jeffrey. "Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Appellee Federal Elections Commission on Supplemental Question" (PDF). Federal Elections Commission. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission". Supreme Court of the United States Blog. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- "Move to Amend's Quick Guide to the Highlights and Low Points of the Court's Decision". Move to Amend. January 22, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- "8 Words That Could Save Our Country". AlterNet. April 30, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- "Corporations Are Not People". In These Times. September 19, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- Resolutions & Ordinances, United For the People, retrieved July 9, 2019
- "Colorado Corporate Contributions Amendment, Amendment 65". Ballotpedia. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- "Montana Corporate Contributions Initiative, I-166". Ballotpedia. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- "Progressive Policies Win at the Ballot Box". PR Watch. November 11, 2016. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- Dolan, Eric W. (December 6, 2011). "Los Angeles votes to end corporate personhood". Rawstory. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Robert Rozboril (February 27, 2013). "First ever Democracy Day draws wide array of opinions in Brecksville". Cleveland.com. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- "Biennial Democracy Day Event". Cleveland City Council. May 9, 2019. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- David Patch (March 13, 2019). "Toledoans air concerns over money in politics on Democracy Day". The Blade. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- "Wisconsin Ready to Amend". Wisconsin United to Amend. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
- Wisconsin, United For the People, retrieved July 9, 2019
- Devin Henry (7/14/14) Senate vs. Citizens United: Democrats push campaign finance constitutional amendment MinnPost Archive URL.
- . Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County http://www.duhc.org/page/staff-bios. Retrieved June 21, 2019. Missing or empty
- Michael Gillespie (Jan/Feb 2011). "David Cobb Speaks at WILPF-DM Awards Banquet". The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Vol 30. Iss 1: p 60.
- Riki Ott (Autumn 2012). "Citizens united against Citizens United: A movement is building to amend the Constitution". Earth Island Journal Vol 27. Iss. 3. pp. 40,42.
- Matthew Rothschild (April 2010). "Corporations Aren't Persons: Amend the Constitution". The Progressive Vol 74. Iss 4.: pp. 16,18-20.
- Ahmad, Meher; DiNovella, Elizabeth. "We, the People". The Progressive Vol 76. Iss. 4: pp. 8-9.
- "Proposed Constitutional Amendment Claims Money is Not Speech". ABC News. February 12, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- "Corporations Are People, Too". In These Times. March 2, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- "Taking a stand against Exxon". Davis Enterprise. April 2, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- Katz-Fishman, Walta; Scott, Jerome (December 4, 2014). "United States polarising - inequality and injustice escalating". Al Jazeera. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- Bonham, Laura. "Corporate Power on Full Display at Dem and GOP Conventions". Common Dreams. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- Agosto, Maria. "The Sport of Tax Evasion: Follow the Trillions (If You Can)". Occupy.com. Retrieved July 17, 2019.