The Coffee Party USA, which has 335,741 supporters on Facebook (up from 334,829 a week ago), has been very busy this week on its website and Facebook page about the national political issues its members consider to be priorities.
This week, Coffee Party USA has concentrated on the upcoming For The People Summit on January 20th-22nd with bonus coverage of videos from the Rally to Restore Sanity and the Coffee Party Convention.
Join me, the maintainer of the Coffee Party USA community on LiveJournal, over the fold for details on the For The People Summit.
For The People Summit
Nearly one year ago, January 21, 2010, the US Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Citizens United v. FEC ushered in a new era of unprecidented corruption, allowing for unlimited corporate spending to influence elections. The American people immediately recognized what this ruling would mean. Polls at the time showed that 80% disapproved of the decision, regardless of party affiliation.
Now, as the anniversary of this landmark decision nears, a trans-partisan coalition is coming together to create the first annual FOR THE PEOPLE Summit in Washington D.C. Jan. 20-22, 2011. That same week, coalition partners will organize networked local events across the country.
The role of money in politics is the overarching theme, one that can be explored with a sense of purpose as well as a sense of humor. Our trans-partisan participation, meanwhile, underscores the importance of engaging on this issue respectfully, putting principle before party.
Coffee Party USA has a very busy schedule of events planned for this extended weekend, which starts on Thursday January 20th and ends on Sunday January 23rd.
Lobby For The People Day
The first event will be Lobby for the People Day. In advance of this day, organizers will enlist people to write to their Representatives and Senators about the role of money in politics. Participants in Washington, D.C., will visit Congressional offices on Capitol Hill, while those participating nationwide will recruit a team to deliver copies of these letters to at least one home district office. Both sets of participants will then begin a collaborative dialogue on how to address the issue of money in politics.
As the article on the website says:
You don't have to be paid to talk to your representatives in Congress. These offices in Washington, and in towns and cities across America, were built for us. Our representatives are elected by us to do the business of real people; not just the bidding of monied interests. You will find that the staffers are thrilled to receive constituents representing themselves, lobbying for themselves and For the People, instead of hired guns paid for by hyper-partisan think tanks, corporations, or special interest groups. Each team will have a leader with lobbying experience, and each participant will receive training materials and an overall game plan.
The purpose of these meetings will be to establish a collaborative relationship and a common goal to pass campaign finance reform legislation and other measures to limit corporate influence on American policies.
More at the link, including instructions on how to use the Coffee Party's Lobby For The People page on Shared Purpose to organize and collaborate.
Corporate Emancipation Satirical Rally at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 21, 2011 at 11 AM
the Corporate Emancipation Satirical Rally will be one of two events held on Friday the 21st, the other being the opening day of the For The People Summit at the Washington Plaza Hotel.
To mark the anniversary of the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court decision, we are preparing a Satirical Rally at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 21st featuring a cast of characters celebrating their identity as Corporate-Person-Americans, and the anniversary of Corporate Emancipation.
The people role-playing as corporations won't have all the fun. Coffee Party USA is looking for artists and performers who will portray flesh-and-blood people, too.
We are looking for writers and artists to lend their creativity. We hope that a humorous approach, which spoofs the notion of "corporate personhood" through the lens of self-righteous identity politics, will grow into an interactive web series with nationwide participation, and possibly a feature length film. They will unveil their "We the Corporations" reworking of the Preamble to the Constitution, only to be met by a "We the People" counter-protest.
If you are an artist, performer, or just someone with a video camera, but you're not going to Washington for the summit, don't despair. You can create at home and present or perform at your local event.
You don't have to come to Washington D.C. to take part. We can connect you with other artists (and closet artists) in your area to create a Corporate-Person American satirical video, and you can write and/or perform a 3-minute Corporate-Person American monologue at an event in your area called "We the People/Free Speech Day."
Click here for the email addresses for participants.
Even better, you can compete to have your video funded and then released by Free Speech for People.
Free Speech for People has posted a competition for a script for a short video (3 minutes or less) that it wants to release on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case. The script should creatively, and persuasively, dramatize the insidious problem of giving corporations the same rights as human beings, and also offer a viable solution to this problem. The more creative and effective ways that we, the people, can fight back, the better. While Free Speech For People (FSFP) believes the best solution, due to the sheer scope of the ruling, is to pass a Constitutional Amendment to derail this egregious ruling, it is also open to any other innovative solutions you might have.
The goal of this script is to increase public awareness of this critical issue and inspire people to reclaim American democracy. The winner will be compensated and be granted funding to produce the video using the winning script.
Enter your script idea at Idea Marketplace. There are three prizes. First place receives $3000, second place receives $2000, and third place receives $1000.
For The People Summit
Can Citizens United unite America? On Jan. 21 and 22 at the elegant Washington Plaza Hotel, we are marking the anniversary of the Citizens United decision with an exploration of the how corporate money impacts representative democracy. Two days of panel discussions, collaborative workshops, and special presentations designed to facilitate trans-partisan dialogue and conservative/progressive alliances in the areas of overlapping interest.
A growing list of speakers and panelists will be participating, including the following confirmed speakers.
• Dean Baker of The Center for Economic and Policy Studies
• Marge Baker of People for the American Way
• John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People (Bonifaz was the guest on Coffee Party USA's Blog Talk Radio show this week in John Bonifaz: An Amendment to Put People Ahead of Corporations)
• David Cobb of Move to Amend
• Ellen Hodgeson Brown author of Web of Debt
• Jim Hightower author of Swim Against the Current
• Steve Meacham of City Life Vida Urbana
• Bill Moyer of Backbone Campaign
• Annabel Park of the Coffee Party
• Sanho Tree of the Institute for Policy Studies
• Kevin Zeese of Voters for Peace
There will be two series of panels.
The Corporate Power vs. People Power panels will examine the ways in which the corrupting influence of money in politics has undermined the best interest of the People on consumer rights, health care reform, environmental protections, civil rights, and campaign finance reform, just to name a few.
Our Victories For the People series will look at case studies from Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and other parts of the country where ordinary citizens delivered legislative and legal victories through a populism that brings our the best, rather than the worst in people, making a real difference in their lives.
Saturday's schedule includes an open mike event called "We the People/Free Speech Day." The participants in Washington will hold theirs in Washington Plaza. Local organizers nationwide will choose a space to set up a microphone, and allow people 3 minutes each to use words, creativity, music, or poetry to express their feelings about money in politics or corporate personhood.
Whether in Washington or nationwide at local events, the message will be the same: This is what Free Speech looks like; not groups of wealthy people funneling unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns.
Finally, all these events require money. You can donate here.