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Move to Amend to cheer Amendment 65, argue corporations aren't people at Denver confab

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The election may be over, but the campaigns continue. While pot proponents celebrate the passage of Amendment 64 at a national marijuana convention in Denver, backers of another successful initiative, Amendment 65, will also be gathering in town for a 2012 Grassroots Democracy Convergence to push for getting money out of politics.

On Colorado Public Television, I called Amendment 65 about as binding as a letter to Santa -- but plenty of Colorado voters believe in a Santa who can get money out of politics, and they sent a powerful message to Congress by giving a resounding yes to a measure that asks:

Shall there be amendments to the Colorado constitution and the Colorado revised statutes concerning support by Colorado's legislative representatives for a federal constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions and spending, and, in connection therewith, instructing Colorado's congressional delegation to propose and support, and the members of Colorado's state legislature to ratify, an amendment to the United States constitution that allows congress and the states to limit campaign contributions and spending?
(See the final amendment 65 document here.

The timing of the measure's passage is a real gift to the Move to Amend Southwest! Regional Convergence, which runs November 9-11 at the Teamsters Local 455 Waterfront Event and Conference Center, 10 Lakeside Lane in Denver. "We're very excited about this convergence and the new organizing opportunities it has the potential to open," says Move to Amend National Field Organizing Director Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap. "The movement against corporate rule has grown exponentially in the last year. To continue to be effective and win real victories in the future, it is vital that we engage in both skill-building and community building -- what's what the real convergence is all about."

Here's the agenda:

Session 1: Friday, November 9, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
The State of the Global & US Democracy Movement

This session will lay the groundwork for our weekend together. We'll address the state of our movement(s) on a national and global scale and discuss the political climate for systemic social change in the United States.

Session Speakers:
Miriam Pena, Colorado Progressive Coalition
Theo Wilson, Hip Hop Poet and Barber Shop Talk
Josh Hoffman, The 99 Percent Foundation
Lalo Montoya, Padres Y Jovenes Unidos (invited)
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Move to Amend

Session 2: Saturday, November 10, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM (Organizing Skills Focus)

Getting Involved with Move to Amend (Starting a MTA Group)
Introductory level. We'll cover how to get started working with the Move to Amend campaign including forming a group, beginning public outreach and growing your capacity. You'll hear from Move to Amend organizers who are leading successful local groups in the region who will share best practices and strategies that have worked in their communities.

Session Facilitators:
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Move to Amend National Leadership Team

Running a Move to Amend Community Campaign
Advanced level. You'll hear from experienced grassroots organizers who have run political campaigns at the local level. We'll discuss MTA's 2012 Resolve to Amend campaign and how your community can get started running a resolution effort that maximizes public engagement and capacity building potential.

Session Facilitators:
Mary Lindsay, Kansas City Move to Amend
Leslie Cates, Pueblo, CO Move to Amend

Session 3: Saturday, November 10, 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM (Strategy)

Engaging Your Community on Corporate Constitutional Rights & the MTA Campaign

Introductory level. We'll cover how to engage and educate individuals and organizations in your community about the campaign to amend the Constitution. You'll learn best practices and talking points for reaching out to diverse constituents in your community and increase your comfort level talking about Corporate Personhood and explaining how it impacts communities and individuals.

Session Facilitators:
Laura Bonham, Move to Amend National Leadership Team

Imagining a New Democratic Framework for Corporations & Artificial Entities

Advanced level. We'll cover how the Move to Amend amendment will effect corporations, unions, non-profits and other organizations. You'll learn the ramifications of the amendment and how the US legal and political system will adjust once corporations and other artificial entities cannot claim rights under the Constitution.

Session Facilitators:
Stephen Justino, Move to Amend National Leadership Team and Denver Metro Move to Amend
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Move to Amend National Leadership Team

Session 4: Saturday, November 10, 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM (Strategy & Organizing Skills)

Building a Multi-Racial Democracy Movement for Social Justice & Constitutional Renewal

This session will address why the emphasis of our movement(s) must be on confronting racism and other oppressions in order to win real democracy. The means are the ends in our struggles for social justice, and this session will provide a framework for why an anti-racism orientation is critical for our movement and how to instill that ethic and commitment within ourselves and our organizations. We will cover theory and practice.

Session Facilitators from MTA National Leadership Team:
Egberto Willies (Texas)
Laura Bonham (Utah)
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap (California)
Stephen Justino (Colorado)

Social Mixer:

Saturday, November 10, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (Fun!)
Mercury Cafe
2199 California Street Denver, CO 80205

Join us for a relaxed evening with your new and old Move to Amend friends. If you want to eat dinner at the Mercury Cafe, there are lots of tasty, affordable options. Or stop by for a drink after you dine elsewhere. No set program, just hanging out and having fun and deepening our relationships. Building community is a key piece of the social change puzzle!

Session 5: Sunday, November 11, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Capacity Building/Infrastructure)

Building Capacity for the Work to Come: Strategy Discussion for MTA Organizers

We'll brainstorm and discuss tools and infrastructure needs to better aid MTA organizers in the Northwest region. We'll cover networking and capacity building infrastructure needs as well as steps toward Move to Amend organizing at the state level in the region.

Move to Amend is a national grassroots coalition with more than 200,000 individual members and a hundred local affiliates around the United States, organizing to pass an amendment stating that constitutional rights belong to human beings only, not to corporations, and that campaign spending is not a form of protected speech. Find out more here.

Can Amendment 65 lead to real change? Read Sam Levin's story on the proposal, "Campaign-finance limits wins in landslide."


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