Amending the Constitution will take nothing less than an organized, disciplined, mass movement of millions. The Move to Amend Coalition is doing the work to build that movement. Our current focus is education and mobilization -- 80% of the American public agrees that corporations shouldn't have the same rights as people, but they don't yet know about Move to Amend. Our task is to inform and engage them, and this year we focused on just that.
Four years ago this month, the Move to Amend Coalition was forming, and plans for the Campaign to Legalize Democracy were underway. We suspected that the Supreme Court would hand down a corporate-friendly decision in Citizens United and hoped we could use the decision to educate and organize around the issues of corporate personhood and money as free speech.
We positioned ourselves to be in the right place at the right time!
But it takes more than luck to start an organization and build a movement capable of winning a campaign to legalize democracy. It takes dedicated organizers and activists like you, working together in communities across the country, sharing a strategy that educates and mobilizes our fellow citizens to action. The national leadership of Move to Amend thanks you for your efforts.
As the New Year approaches, we have been evaluating the past year in order to chart our course for the year ahead. We are happy to report that we have had another great year advancing our goals, but more importantly we are transitioning into a real democracy movement as our analysis, education, and grassroots organizing reaches more and more people.
From the moment we publicly launched in January of 2010, the response to our campaign has been overwhelmingly positive. To date more than 320,000 individuals have signed our Motion to Amend petition -- more than 50,000 in the last year alone. Our petition is the first step to getting people involved in our campaign.
On February 14, the We the People Amendment was introduced in Congress by Representative Richard Nolan (MN) and co-sponsored by Representative Mark Pocan (WI). This amendment is the only one that fully overrules the Citizens United decision by clearly stating that corporations are not entitled to inherent rights under the Constitution and that money is not a form of protected political speech.
In 2013, dozens of local governments passed resolutions supporting our amendment, and voters in Los Angeles, CA; Chippewa County, WI; Fort Atkinson, WI; Whitewater, WI; Defiance, OH; and Cleveland Heights, OH passed ballot initiatives by super majorities. Our record remains intact: Whenever voters have the opportunity, they support the Movement to Amend!
Resolutions and ballot initiatives pass because of the amazing work of our Move to Amend affiliates. This year we welcomed 34 new affiliates to the Move to Amend Coalition, ensuring more successes in more communities in the years ahead.
We held weekend Grassroots Democracy Convergences in Portland, OR; Madison, WI; Charlotte, NC, and Austin, TX. These regional conferences are designed for Move to Amend organizers to broaden and deepen our collective understanding of corporate rule, highlight what we must do to build a vibrant democracy movement, and provide an opportunity for regional and statewide organizing within Move to Amend and with our allies.
Less intensive but equally important are our Barnstorming Speaking Tours. This year we reached thousands of people in 102 cities and towns across the country. Our barnstorming is often the first time people are exposed to the history of corporate rule and serve as an introduction to our Campaign to Legalize Democracy. These tours are perhaps the most effective tool we have in terms of educating the public and building new Move to Amend affiliates.
Move to Amend Speakers David Cobb, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Ashley Sanders.
We will win our amendment through Congress or through a Constitutional Convention, but either way we will need no less than 3/4 of the states on our side. The Pledge to Amend Campaign, a new project we launched this year, is an effort to educate and build relationships with state legislators about the We the People Amendment. A number of affiliates were part of this project in 2013.
We also sponsored We the People Listen, a nationwide community canvass and listening project. Our volunteers spoke to thousands of people in diverse communities, found out what their concerns are, and connected those issues to democracy and corporate power. This effort also helped us hone our organizing skills.
Among our finest accomplishments in 2013 is our mini-documentary “Legalize Democracy,” now available on DVD. The film introduces the viewer to Move to Amend, relates the history of corporate personhood, and motivates action!
Created as an educational tool and for common use, the film at 29 minutes long is perfect for viewing on local access TV, at house parties, and organizing meetings. The funding to produce this film was generated by a fantastic crowd-sourcing campaign -- 759 people donated to make it happen! Legalize Democracy will be a go-to resource for Move to Amend organizing for years to come.
In just four short years, Move to Amend has become a real force for justice and democracy! There is still much to do however, and you won't see us easing up any time soon. In coming weeks, we’ll be looking at what’s ahead in 2014.
The national leadership team is proud to be in collaboration with fine activists and committed organizers under the Move to Amend umbrella. We thank you for your support and participation!
Daniel Lee, David Cobb, Egberto Willies, George Friday, Jerome Scott, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Laura Bonham, Nancy Price, Richard Monje
Move to Amend National Leadership Team