Jambard-Sweet: Grassroots awakening needed to reverse controlWritten by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Jambard-Sweet is Toledo coordinator for Move to Amend (MTA).
Toledo Free Press: What is Move to Amend and when was it started?
Jambard-Sweet: Formed in September 2009, Move to Amend is a coalition committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule and building a vibrant democracy genuinely accountable to the people.
Toledo Free Press: What is Move to Amend working on locally?
Jambard-Sweet: In Toledo, we are educating the public by sponsoring events meant to awaken ordinary people to inequities created by corporate influence and creating a sense of empowerment that, yes, we can change things if enough of us make room in our busy lives to work on issues that will determine the course of society and the type of choices our children and grandchildren will have available to them.
Our short-term goals consist of organizing local outreach, consisting of lectures, rallies, film screenings and theatrical events to bring these issues to life and raise general awareness. Medium-term goals consist of working with elected officials to pass resolutions in support of Move to Amend’s goals. Within the next few years we hope to organize a ballot initiative allowing every citizen the chance to vote in support of a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and declare that money is not speech.
MTA recognizes that to reverse multinational corporate control over virtually every aspect of our lives, there has to be a grassroots awakening in the public mind. Only when that happens will there be an uproar from the public calling for control of corporate influence over the political process.
That corporate influence is primarily the undue influence of money on political decision-makers and using profits to hire armies of lobbyists to ensure their interests are protected. They also use business profits to leverage corporate-friendly legislation, regulations and tax laws. Lobbies can make or break a candidate’s chances for re-election and this power is now magnified virtually without limit by the recent Supreme Court Citizens United ruling.
In Citizens United, the court majority ruled that because corporations have become defined as persons with the constitutional rights of persons, they have the right of free speech, including political speech. The court also ruled that money is equivalent to speech and, since speech cannot be limited, the ruling has led directly to the current situation in which unlimited amounts of money are now spent by corporations to virtually buy elections.
The question we all need to be asking ourselves is “Where does this leave us?” It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that a system that is rigged to protect and enhance corporate privilege may not have the welfare and interests of the general public at the top of their list. Corporate profits now take precedence over basic social needs such as decent food and water, education, health care and civil rights.
Toledo Free Press: Move to Amend is co-sponsoring this year’s NWO Armistice Day Bell Ringing Commemoration with Veterans for Peace (VFP). How does Armistice Day tie in with the movement to end corporate personhood?
Jambard-Sweet: In 1938, Congress declared Armistice Day a national holiday, “to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
This year MTA is partnering with VFP to expand Armistice Day observances. World peace still eludes us, in large part due to the forces of greed controlling valuable natural resources and maintaining geopolitical economic advantage. Exposing the endless cycle of war and conflict to this root cause is as central to MTA’s message as exposing any other aspect of corporate abuse in society.
More information about Move to Amend can be found by visiting: movetoamend.org/oh-toledo.