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Thursday, August 27, 2009

APPENDIX III. HOW TO HELP ABOLISH CORPORATE PERSONHOOD




As of November 2011, Take Back America for the People is focusing on a project to make support for a constitutional amendment a campaign issue in 2012 and every election cycle until it passes. The Pledge to Amend campaign is a joint venture of our organization and Abolish Corporate Personhood Now.

There are honest members of Congress who are willing to support such an amendment, but they are in a distinct minority. The path to victory is to force them to declare whether they are working for We the People or They the Corporations. When they face challengers who have taken a Pledge to Amend, the choice will be clear to voters.

This is a flyer outlining the way the Pledge to Amend campaign works. You can cut and paste it into a document and use it to help with the campaign in your area until we get a downloadable version available:




 
PLEDGE TO AMEND

                           MAKING CORPORATE PERSONHOOD A CAMPAIGN ISSUE


A PROJECT OF TAKE BACK AMERICA FOR THE PEOPLE

AND ABOLISH CORPORATE PERSONHOOD NOW


http://www.abolishcorporatepersonhoodnow.org/


To make politicians accountable, we propose the following:

Ask all members of Congress and congressional candidates to pledge their support for constitutional amendment to abolish all corporate “rights” created under the doctrine of corporate personhood.

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP:

1)  Approach your members of Congress in public and private to ask if they will take the pledge.

2)  Circulate paper petitions calling on them to take the pledge. Let them know they will have your support.

3)  Help educate politicians and voters on the difference between an amendment to strip corporations of “rights” that should belong exclusively to We the People and amendments that would only give Congress the power to regulate what should be illegal: Corporate campaign donations.

4)  Work with local groups to help people understand that all progress toward social justice, environmental responsibility and general prosperity depend on their working to end corporate influence over the US government.

5)  Pass resolutions in your political, social, church or other groups calling on your members of Congress to take the pledge.

         

If you receive a written pledge to amend, please notify us at             staggenborg4senate@hotmail.com. As nonprofit organizations, neither TBA nor ACPN endorse or support any candidates.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Wouldn’t any amendment be an improvement?
A: NO! Giving Congress the power to regulate will NOT lead them to cut off the source of their campaign funding. Worse, it will implicitly enshrine corporate personhood in the constitution by acknowledging the “right” of corporations to contribute to campaigns.

Q: What other “rights” would be eliminated?
A:  Corporations could not claim the right to avoid inspections by the FDA, EPA or other agencies charged with protecting the public, among other things. They would still have the privilege of limited liability.
      
       Q: Why should we expect this amendment to pass?
A: By making support for a proper amendment a campaign issue, we can force incumbents and candidates to tell us whether they are working for us or corporations. If they don’t support the amendment we can vote for candidates who will.
       
       Q: Isn’t campaign finance reform enough?
A: The Supreme Court gutted Arizona’s model public financing law using the same twisted “free speech” argument that Citizens United was decided upon.

The only way to effectively introduce campaign finance reform is to abolish corporate personhood. The same amendment can establish the basis for public financing by abolishing all forms of bundled money and placing restrictions on individual donors.


UPDATED LIST OF SUGGESTED ACTIONS:



Ideas for individual and group action:


1) Sign the Move to Amend petition and encourage others to sign it at every event and on Facebook, My Space, etc. You can also start your own petition or cause on these and other sites.

2) Letters to newspapers (mainstream, alternative and student) and phone calls to talk radio shows. 

3) If you want to have maximum effect, help with the Pledge to Amend campaign to make support for a strong amendment a campaign issue in 2012 and beyond. 

-Ask your members of Congress how many hard copy signatures on a petition requesting they introduce an amendment it will take to get them to talk to us about it. Whether they give you a number or not, get out and collect signatures. Then insist they take a pledge to amend.  


-Follow up with letters and phone calls to these politicians who are working for We the People and not solely for corporate donors will show continued support. Examples are Jeff Merkley, Peter DeFazio, Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich and others, ideally including Ron Paul.

Tell them that if they introduce an amendment to abolish corporate personhood that they will be supported by We the People even if targeted by corporate money.

- Encourage supporters of abolition to run for office on a platform based on their pledge to amend. This is a critical part of the effort to make support for the amendment a “litmus test” for all Congressional races.  


-Help pass resolutions at every level of government and in organizations calling on YOUR SPECIFIC MEMBERS OF CONGRESS to introduce or support the strongest possible amendment.

-Show up at town halls in force during campaign season and ask candidates in public whether they will make a pledge to support an amendment to abolish corporate personhood.

4) Promote the idea of tying the abolition message to that of existing groups and movements that you are active in.

5) Organize abolition rallies using these contacts and encourage them to come.

6) Use street theater and alternative theater to dramatically get others thinking about the influence of corporations over our government and our lives.

7) Hold house parties showing The Corporation, Sicko or other movies highlighting the costs of corporate control over our government.

 8) Provide opportunities for experts to give interviews with student newspapers, local NPR, alternative newspapers, internet radio shows and anyone else who will listen.

9) Hole open mike events to which both conservative and liberal groups are specifically invited.

10) Speak at meetings to members of whatever political party, union, church or other group you may belong to about the importance of the issue and what they can do to further the cause. 

11) Arrange for outside speakers to come in to talk to these groups. In Oregon, please contact Rick Staggenborg, MD at staggenborg4senate or 541-217-8044 to schedule speakers. If he cannot be available he will try to arrange to have another speaker participate.

WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE TO DO, PLEASE TRY TO REACH OUT TO THE WIDEST POSSIBLE GROUP OF SUPPORTERS, INCLUDING BOTH LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES.

Passing a constitutional amendment will require the support of all Americans. It is a nonpartisan issue that will determine whether ours will be a government of, by and for the People or one of, by and for corporations.


This means crafting a message that is not only meant to appeal to liberals, but also people who believe in the myth that each of us is supposed to make our way alone in the modern world.

Ideas for messages:

1)   “Corporations are shipping our jobs overseas.”

2) “Congress is not working for We the People but for corporations. Corporations are NOT people.”

3) “This is not an issue only for conservatives or liberals. Abolishing corporate personhood is an AMERICAN issue.”

4)   “If we are building a populist movement, it has to represent ALL Americans.”

5)    “The move to amend the Constitution is the modern abolition movement.”

6)   “The individual can only succeed when corporations are not allowed to use the government for their benefit at the cost of We the People.”

7)   “We can cut taxes and reduce government only by taking away the power of corporations to buy Congress.”

B)   Groups to reach out to:


Note that the principle here is to USE EXISTING GROUPS TO FORM A NETWORK THAT IS PROMOTING YOUR MESSAGE ALONG WITH THEIRS. 

Corporate personhood is THE issue that must be addressed for Congress and the President to act in the interests of We the People rather than their corporate sponsors. 

When you contact these groups, ask them to endorse Move to Amend at the website.

 Examples:

1) Unions and fair trade activists.

2) Americans for Prosperity and other groups that identify with the Tea Party movement.

3) Libertarian and other third Parties.

4) Student Public Interest Research Groups at all universities and colleges.

5) Health care advocacy groups.

6) Antiwar groups.

7) Environmental groups.

8) Any student group.

11) Church socialjustice groups.

12) Existing groups working on the issue in other parts of the state and the nation.  To form a new chapter or affiliate of Move to Amend contact them at movetoamend.org for help.




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