Session X — Where Do We Go From Here: Local Campaign Development

This is the final discussion session in this study packet.  During this session, the group will need to attend to some logistical business in addition to its regular discussion time. 

After discussing the readings, allow some time to discuss the entire program that the group has experienced together.  Have the people in the group acquired a broader understanding of how the corporate system works and what the power dynamics are behind it?  Does the group have a different vision of democracy and its possibilities?  Are people interested in incorporating more democratic practices in their other social and work organizations?  Do people feel inspired and empowered to change the system?

Please allow time in this session to fill out the evaluation form, either as a group exercise or each person individually.  Feedback from these evaluation forms from people all over the country have helped to improve the study group materials, so we want to know what you think!

Does this group want to continue to meet?  There are abundant materials for continued discussion — you can explore the supplementary materials listed with each session or those in the bibliography; the group can find other materials on its own; or we would be happy to work with you to suggest other possibilities.  Is the group interested in developing a local action campaign?  Would the group like to have a workshop to build on its discussions for action?  WILPF can provide a workshop packet, and leadership team members are available for consultations with groups.

If this is the final meeting of the group, be sure to allow time for closure — to say goodbye, to acknowledge the time the group has shared together, to honor each other, and to celebrate your exploration of democracy.

Readings:

1 – “Speaking Truth to Power About Campaign Reform,” by Jane Anne Morris (7 pages)

2 – WTO article critique by Molly Morgan (2 pages)

3 – “The Crackdown,” by Kalle Lasn and Tom Liacas (6 pages)

4 – “Look Who Demands Profits Above All,” by Robert B. Reich (1 page)

5 – Evaluation Form (2 pages)

Note: There are two optional readings available with additional perspectives on citizen actions consistent with this framework: “Preempt This! Michigan Cities Fight Back,” by Daniel Kraker (3 pages) and “Idiocy and Sustainability,” by Thomas Prugh (3 pages).  Both articles can be found at www.wilpf.org.

Discussion Questions:

1.     How would you describe the difference between focusing our actions on corporations’ behavior, as opposed to the fundamental relationship between corporations and “we the people”?

2.     Consider the two readings that are critiques (campaign reform and WTO protests).  Has participating in the study group changed the way you interpret what you read and hear in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, and the internet?  What do you think of the idea of regularly critiquing information to enhance your skills?

3.     Discuss the ways in which various local actions described in the Adbusters article are rooted in the framework from this study group material.  How are these activities different from trying to change one corporate harm at a time?

4.     How does Robert Reich’s article remind us that the personal is political and that our choices of action every day make a difference in the world?  Does it suggest possibilities for individual or group action to anyone in the group?

5.    Joshua Holland has proposed a constitutional amendment that would restrict US citizenship to human beings. Would such an amendment keep corporate power in check? Do our constitutional protections apply only to US citizens? 
(See Joshua Holland, www.alternet.rog, July 3, 2006).

6.    Corporate Attorney Robert Hinkley proposes that a big improvement in corporate behavior would result from the addition of 28 words to the corporate code of each of our 50 states. The words appear in italics: “The duty of directors henceforth shall be to make money for shareholders, but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public health and safety, dignity of employees, and the welfare of the communities in which the company operates.” (Interview with Arnie Cooper in the September 2000 issue of The Sun.) Would such a code induce corporation to mend their ways?  Would enforcement be the job of some regulatory agency?

7.     In light of the local actions reviewed in Session 3- the Point Arena Resolution, St. Thomas and Measure T—what local action would you propose for you own community?

Supplementary Materials:

     “Citizens Over Corporations: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future,” from the Ohio Committee on Corporations, Law and Democracy.  An example of a citizen-researched and written history of corporate power in their state.  54 pages (equivalent of 27 standard 8.5x11 pages).  Available via: American Friends Service Committee, 513 W. Exchange Street, Akron, OH  44302, 330.253.7151, afscole@aol.com (price $2.50 + $1 for shipping; 10 or more copies: $2 each.)

     When Corporations Rule the World, by David C. Korten.  Kumarian Press (Bloomfield, CT), 1995, 2001.

     The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, by David C. Korten.  Kumarian Press (Bloomfield, CT), 1999.

     “How to Do Legal Research on Corporations,” by Jane Anne Morris.  A simple guide for demystifying legal research and law libraries, July 1998.  24 standard 8.5x11 pages, $5.

?     “Preempt This! Michigan Cities Fight Back” by Daniel Kraker (3 pages)

?      “Idiocy and Sustainability” by Thomas Prugh (3 pages)

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