Legalize Democracy | Full Documentary

LEGALIZE DEMOCRACY is a short documentary by Dennis Trainor, Jr. about the movement for a constitutional amendment to abolish in its entirety two illegitimate, court-created legal doctrines—the concept of “corporate constitutional rights” (sometimes known as corporate personhood) and “money equals political speech.”

Produced by and for Move to Amend, the national grassroots campaign to amend the US Constitution to unequivocally state that corporations are not people and money is not speech, This documentary details a history of Supreme Court decision that gave corporations constitutionally protected rights and established that money is free speech.

For more information about Move To Amend, go here. To get  DVD, go here.

Full Movie: Legalize Democracy

Written and Directed by Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Produced by AJ Russo and Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Cinematographers Messiah Rhodes Paul Westlake
Color, Titles, and Graphics AJ Russo
Original score Goldi
Post Audio Engineer Tom Hutten
Additional Camera Arthur Louis
Executive Producers Pamela Brown, Daniel Lee, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Egberto Willies

From TopDocumentaryFilms.com
The most dangerous threat to democracy in the United States of America is the mistaken belief that they actually practice one… because democracy is not a noun, it’s a verb. “Demos” means “the people”, and “kratia” means “rule”, so the word democracy means “the people rule.” We have the trappings of democracy… you just get to go and pull a lever every 2-4 years only for candidates that have been pre-approved and pre-selected by the ruling elite.

But when it comes to actually participating in a meaningful way in how the society is organized, how much pay you might get, whether or not you get healthcare, whether the country goes to war or not, whether we should address the climate crisis… in those kinds of questions the people never have an opportunity to participate.

For example, if in the debate around the healthcare had there not been elected officials with a commitment to pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, if the priority wasn’t making sure that there were profits for people that make drugs and sell drugs, and people who provide medical care as insurers, if they weren’t the priority but the ordinary people don’t you think that would’ve been different?

The prison system along with the education system and the healthcare system are three things among many others that should never have a profit motive attached. The democratic self-government experiment started in the United States over 200 years ago and has gotten completely corrupted. The real people are not been listen to.

When considering the still unfolding history of the United States the words of journalist Molly Ivins ring true: “It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.” In other words who, according to the laws and cultures, gets to be considered a person.

(Political) Reform or Revolution? | Acronym podcast #14

Right now, we are about 24 hours or so before we learn the results of yet another – and final – Super Tuesday in this wild primary election season. No matter what happens in California tomorrow, Bernie has made it clear that he is taking his argument to the convention and the superdelegates, ans so the next chapter in the #FeelTheBern story will begin.

The question regarding if that revolution will lead to a revolution (political or otherwise) is still an open one.

On the podcast today, I speak with Keyan Bliss (Communications Coordinator for Move To Amend) about the road to revolution and where (if at all) that intersects with electoral politics.

Among the more though provoking articles published in the avalanche of thought pieces surfing the wave of #PeakBern is Todd Chretien’s piece at Socialist Worker that begins by imaging a January 2017 where Bernie Sanders has defied the odds and become President of the United States and does a great job is unpacking questions surrounding the possibilities, obstacles and pitfalls of trying to build a revolution from within the Democratic party.

Chretian gives credit to Sanders for highlighting the evils of money in politics, writing:

Sanders rightly points to the corrupting influence of campaign cash. But keep in mind that the Old Jim Crow and the Vietnam War predated the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The capitalist class has other means to assert its domination over the state machine besides campaign contributions.

Getting “money out of politics,” when discussing the American state, is a bit like saying we should get “money out of economy.” The problem of state power and economic monopoly cannot be reduced to tweaking electoral regulations. Something more potent is required.

That something more potent is what the organization Move To Amend is working towards. Formed in the fall of 2009 – in anticipation of the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision that would be handed down in January of 2010 – Move to Amend is a coalition of organizations and individuals that – according to its mission statement individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.

Specifically, Move To Amend is calling for an Amendment to the Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

Mindful that – as Todd Chretian so eloquently put it in the article I refereed to earlier –that the pre Citizens United era in the United States was anything but one in which economic justice and democracy flourished – Move To Amend sees this amendment as the beginning of a revolutionary movement.

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Note: A few years ago, I partnered with the group Move To amend to produce the documentary Legalize Democracy. If you have not seen it, my biased recommendation is that to budget a half-hour of your time to take it in. I’m proud of the project and think we succeeded in packing quite a bit into a tight half hour in a way that is very accessible.

Why Millennials Don’t Vote and What To Do About It {aTV 007}

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

More than half of respondents in the survey, released by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, said they think elected officials don’t share their priorities, and almost two-thirds said elected officials seem motivated by selfish reasons. Less than a quarter of the millennials polled said they will definitely be voting in November.
Read more: http://bit.ly/TAWHR7

On Acronym TV this week, two individuals working to fix our Democracy in crisis.

Christina Tobin is the founder and chair of Free & Equal. She has a long history of supporting ballot access, having gathered and defended over 1 million signatures for the Green Party, Constitution Party, Republican Party, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, Socialist Equality Party and independents. Free & Equal Elections Foundation is a non-partisan grassroots organization, whose mission is to shift the power back to the individual voter through education. Their motto, “More Voices, More Choices.”

Daniel Lee is a lifelong activist. He serves on the national leadership team for the group Move to Amend, which is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy; Move To Amend is calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

vote-for-nobody1

How The Supreme Court Made the U.S. Government Illegitimate

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

(Note: this is an episode clip. The full show will air on Monday, June 9)

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in McCutcheon V. FEC, the court struck down a limit on how much cash an individual could give to all federal candidates during an election cycle.

In the 5-4 decision, the majority of justices on the Roberts court ruled that individuals could buy elections. Or, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts,  “government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.”

In the dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Bryer, did not hold back in voicing the disgust felt by an overwhelming majority of Americans (if not by a majority of Supreme Court Justices) in writing that the majority’s “legal analysis is faulty: It misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake. It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign.”

Furthermore, the dissenting opinion offered up this gem:

“Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws leaving a remnantincapable of dealing with the problems of Democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”  (Emphasis mine)

If we don’t have laws that empower us to deal with the problems of Democratic legitimacy, is our government legitimate?

That question, among others, in one I put to my guests on this week’s Acronym TV.

Christina Tobin is the founder and chair of Free & Equal. She has a long history of supporting ballot access, having gathered and defended over 1 million signatures for the Green Party, Constitution Party, Republican Party, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, Socialist Equality Party and independents. Free & Equal Elections Foundation is a non-partisan grassroots organization, whose mission is to shift the power back to the individual voter through education. Their motto, “More Voices, More Choices.”

Daniel Lee is a lifelong activist. He serves on the national leadership team for the group Move to Amend, which is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy; Move To Amend is calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

State of Union

Legalize Democracy | full documentary 

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

Legalize Democracy is a documentary film by Dennis Trainor, Jr. (American Autumn: an Occudoc) about the movement to amend — why it is needed, and how you can get involved, placing the response to corporate coup of our government in the context of the growing Democracy movement emerging right here and right now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFsq2WMxhzE

Combining interviews with Move To Amend’s national leadership team, with archival footage, and dynamic animated time lines that tell the stories of the Supreme Court cases that shaped the doctrine of “corporate personhood”, the rights guaranteed by amendments fought for by people’s movements, and the intersection of law and culture that codified and created discrimination based on race.

Move To Amend
Formed in September 2009, Move to Amend is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.

We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.
Dennis Trainor, Jr. (director) is a writer, director and new media activist. He directed the critically acclaimed documentary the Occupy Wall Street movement, American Autumn: an Occudoc (“calm and smart, offsetting its stridency with discussion, music, even humor, while issuing a call to arms.”- New York Times ; “as well made as any Hollywood blockbuster.”- MichaelMoore.com ). Currently, her serves as the producer and host of The Resistance Report, which can be seen daily at PopularResistance.org .

His work has been featured on many outlets including Truth Out, Huffington Post, Op-Ed News, Fire Dog Lake, The Real News Network, and many others.

Legalize Democracy
Written and Directed by
Dennis Trainor, Jr.

 

Produced by
AJ Russo and Dennis Trainor, Jr.

 

Cinematographers
Messiah Rhodes
Paul Westlake

 

Color, Titles, and Graphics 
AJ Russo

 

Original score
Goldi

 

Post Audio Engineer
Tom Hutten

 

Additional Camera
Arthur Louis

 

Executive Producers
Pamela Brown
Daniel Lee
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
Egberto Willies

 

To Dump Citizens United, We Need To Legalize Democracy [video]

This is an excerpt from the documentary, Legalize Democracy.

The premiere of the full documentary will be airing on Free Speech TV (FSTV) Tuesday, January 21, 2014- and all throughout the week

Check here for full listing, including how to watch live on the web.

Legalize Democracy
Written and Directed by
Dennis Trainor, Jr.

Produced by
AJ Russo and Dennis Trainor, Jr.

Cinematographers
Messiah Rhodes
Paul Westlake

Color, Titles, and Graphics 
AJ Russo

Original score
Goldi

Post Audio Engineer
Tom Hutten

Additional Camera
Arthur Louis

Executive Producers
Pamela Brown
Daniel Lee
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
Egberto Willies