Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tabling, talking, listening, connecting...

by Barbara Clancy

One of our main occupations at the US Social Forum is staffing the Move to Amend table, along with partners Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County, Liberty Tree, and Progressive Democrats of America. There's been a tremendous amount of activity around the table, hundreds of signatures gathered on the Move To Amend call to action, and wide interest in a constitutional amendment against corporate personhood, both among long-time activists and people new to the fact that corporations, thanks to the courts and the ruling class, have grabbed the same rights that social movements fought for--and are still fighting for.

Outreach to people for whom this is a new idea gives us an opportunity to sharpen our "rap," but it also lets us hear people's stories--the thousand reasons why cutting corporate power off at the root is so necessary. These connections also sharpen our sense of where our work fits in terms of all the movements toward social, economic, and environmental justice here at the Forum. Listening to people is just as much of a skill as talking to (hopefully not "at") them.

There have also been a few backers of constitutional rights for corporations--mainly people who are concerned about hobbling the economy or not sure of the division between freedom of speech and freedom of the press--which nowadays is by and large a corporate conglomeration, in which the mainstream news we read and watch is brought to us by entities with interests in arms manufacturing and extractive industries. At some point we "agree to disagree" and move on, and with luck their arguments will be the basis of FAQ's for those who are coming to the issue of corporate rule fresh from the "other side" or from no side at all.

We've passed on a stack of Justice Risings, with the help of council members Nancy Price, Rick Staggenborg and Bonnie Preston, and Justice Rising editor Jim Tarbell.

More coming on workshops, connections made, and the PMAs we participated in--off to the table...

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