We just got back from the US Social Forum.
USSF Opening Ceremony
What a week! 18,000 people amassed in Detroit for a week of workshops, networking, strategizing and celebrating.

We were able to chat with many folks there about our work both locally and nationally with MovetoAmend.org.

Democracy Unlimited participated in three workshops - all of which were hugely successful. Folks from many different areas of social justice work coming out to recognize how central the issue of Corporate Personhood is in all of the work we are collectively trying to do.

It was incredible to witness the City of Detroit - with entire city blocks and neighborhoods basically abandoned of services and people. Is this the future we can expect for cities everywhere as the sun sets on corporate capitalism and industrialism? There is also hope and rejuvenation happening in Motown - a squatter movement is occupying abandoned homes and planting gardens in vacant lots. Life is birthed from decay! We commend the USSF organizing committee for choosing Detroit for the Forum - it was eye opening for everyone who attended.Kaitlin facilitating our PMA

Though we are all tired, and David is still on the road in Ohio (what a trooper!), we feel inspired and rejuvinated. You should know that so many people were so impressed with Humboldt County and the work we have all done here.

In our last workshop - the People's Movement Assembly - we were tasked with coming up with Resolutions for the USSF as a whole group.

US Social Forum 2010 People's Movement Assembly: End Corporate Rule. Legalize Democracy. Move to Amend the Constitution.



1) The current U.S. legal and political system is designed and operates to serve the interests of the wealthy and large corporations rather than to protect the interests of the people, the environment, or justice.

2) The U.S. Constitution is valued by most Americans and perceived as upholding democracy, liberty, and freedom.

3) Social movements cannot rely on the federal courts as distributors of justice, and must recognize that the courts serve the interests of the rich and powerful.

PMA Pariticpants

1) We propose that the USSF calls for a series of democracy amendments to the U.S. Constitution, beginning with amendments that make clear that corporations are not persons and have no inalienable rights, and that money is not speech.

2) We propose that every candidate for office (at the local, state, and federal level) who seeks the support of social movements be expected to commit to supporting efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to end corporate rule and create real democracy.

3) We propose that groups pass resolutions in support of efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to end corporate rule and create real democracy, including abolishing the doctrines of corporate "personhood" and “money is speech.”

Workshop Participants

4) We propose that individuals and groups work to have their municipal, county, and state governments adopt resolutions in support of efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to end corporate rule and create real democracy, including abolishing the doctrines of corporate "personhood" and “money is speech.”

5) We propose a series of nationally coordinated actions opposing corporate “personhood” and supporting this call for democracy amendments, and that these actions take place on important days such as: International Workers Day, U.S. Independence Day, Constitution Day, Labor Day, Patriots Day, Juneteenth, Memorial Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and (Mother) Earth Day.

Closing People's Movement Assembly

6) We propose that organizations and individuals join the effort at MovetoAmend.org

For more information about the People's Movement Assembly process at the US Social Forum, check out the PMA website - http://www.pma2010.org.

Views: 108

Comment by Rick Staggenborg, MD on August 18, 2010 at 9:15pm
Did we develop proposed wording for the amendment? I had to leave the workshop early.
Comment by Spencer on September 7, 2010 at 9:27pm
May I ask where this notion that we're a democracy comes from?

"The U.S. Constitution is valued by most Americans and perceived as upholding democracy, liberty, and freedom"

I'm not understanding who would believe that the constitution upholds democracy when the word democracy is not in our constitution.
Comment by DUHC on September 8, 2010 at 8:20am
Rick - the wording is not developed yet...that wasn't the purpose of the session.

Spencer - thus the word "perceived" - many Americans believe the US is a democracy.
Comment by Spencer on September 8, 2010 at 10:44am
DUHC, I'm caught a bit off guard by your response. Your average American perceives many things that are false.

- A large amount of Americans did (and still do) believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. That helped public outcry and support for the war.

- Many Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim or was a Muslim. When in fact that's not the case, he was raised secular and is now a member of the United Church of Christ.

- The main rallying point of this site, and rightfully so, is corporate personhood. Let's face it, your average American doesn't realize the rights that government has granted corporations. Corporations take advantage of citizens and their ignorance.

- Many Americans believe we're a democracy when in fact we're not. I know (or at least hope) that most of the people on here know that we're not a democracy. So is it fair to take advantage of the general public and their flawed beliefs? Shouldn't people work to educate their fellow citizens as opposed to use their ignorance against them? To me that is no better than corporations and their personhood.
Comment by Curtis E. F. on September 8, 2010 at 10:44am
Your response to Spencer is incongruous at best. So your democracy notion is based on the fact that many Americans perceive the US as a democracy? Many Americans also believe that the United States is a Christian nation. Perhaps under the same logic, you can change your name to "Theocracy Unlimited". As absurd as that proposal may be, it is equally as rational as "Democracy Unlimited". Many Americans also perceive Justin Beiber to be a talented musician, so perhaps you should go purchase his most recent album (though that would be contributing to an entity that is working to make a profit, which this site seems to be selectively against). Aside from your amusing ratiocination for the term "democracy", I'm a bit confused on your position. Are you advocating that the United States should be reformed into a democracy, or do you seriously believe that the U.S. already is a democracy?
Comment by DUHC on September 10, 2010 at 9:39pm
Whoa there fellas!

We absolutely do not believe that the US is a democracy -- if we did we wouldn't have language all over this site indicating that the US needs a democracy movement and that we need to create democracy in the US, etc, etc.

The resolution text (not written by DUHC, written by the Move to Amend Coalition) is simply stating that as most Americans value the US Constitution and perceive it to be the legitimate basis for our "representative democracy" - we think that a reasonable response to unchecked corporate power is to abolish Corporate Personhood and make clear that corporations should not, and can not legitimately, claim Constitutional rights -- especially if we have any notion that this is or should be a democracy.

We believe in organizing with people starting from where they're at. If people believe the US is a democracy obviously we need to expose that fallacy. But we are also most effective if we're speaking to people in a language they understand. People understand the idea of rights under the Constitution. Our legal system really needs to go much further -- to assert human rights, not just property rights -- but it is a starting point for a conversation and that's the point of that clause of the resolution.

Hope that helps clarify.
Comment by Curtis E. F. on September 11, 2010 at 10:52am
Why do you believe the U.S. needs to be reformed into a democracy?

Also, are you opposed to property rights, or are you just advocating that more human rights are asserted in addition to property rights. Which human rights are you wishing to assert?
Comment by DUHC on September 14, 2010 at 11:39am
Building a democracy movement is our mission statement. We won't get control of our institutions (like corporations, government) until the people actually rule. We need structures and education that makes that possible.

We're not opposed to property rights perse, but we are opposed to elevating property rights above human rights and the rights of communities. In terms of human rights, the UN Declaration on Human Rights is a good place to start. We also believe in the rights of nature and the right of communities to self-determination.


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