Projects and Partnerships

Challenging Corporate Rule and Asserting Community Rights

Move to Amend

Move to Amend is a broad coalition of grassroots groups and national organizations that are asserting a bold call to amend the U.S. Constitution to restore the power of people over corporations. Democracy Unlimited provides MTA with its office space, most of its staff, and much of its national leadership.

Since the Supreme Court's January 2010 ruling on Citizens United v FEC, several different groups have amassed to challenge the decision. Move to Amend is the only group taking a broad, grassroots, movement-building approach. Also, we're the only group that has done the work to ensure that the movement is multi-racial, geographically and ethnically diverse, and gender-balanced in its leadership.

At Democracy Unlimited we believe it is time to confront the entire Constitutional framework that currently puts the "rights" of property above the rights of people. It's time to make the promise of democracy a reality. We also see this moment as an opportunity to continue building a grassroots movement to assert democratic local control over corporations.

       ★ To sign the petition in support of the Constitutional amendment, or to learn more, check out the Move to Amend website.

       ★ To engage in the Move to Amend campaign on the local level, check out the Humboldt County Move to Amend webpage.

Asserting Community Rights

In 2006, Democracy Unlimited helped provide leadership for the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights, an organization that successfully passed the Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy, also known as Measure T. Measure T was a county ballot initiative banning non-local corporations from donating to local elections and challenging the legal doctrine of Corporate Personhood.

In the eyes of organizers across the country, Measure T became a model for how it may be possible to effectively challenge corporate rule. In response to that wide interest, we developed the annual weekend-long Deep Democracy Retreat.  For years, the Retreat brought organizers from the far corners of America to Humboldt County to learn about Measure T and to gain networks, skills and strategies for building a movement for genuine democracy. Although we no longer hold these retreats, the network of activists formed through them helped pave the way for the Move to Amend coalition. Indeed, a number of Deep Democracy graduates went on to anchor Move to Amend affiliate groups in their own communities.

Arcata Committee on Democracy and Corporations

The CDC, or Arcata Committee on Democracy and Corporations, was an official standing committee established by the Arcata City Council. The CDC sought to create policies and programs “which ensure democratic control over corporations conducting business within the city, in whatever ways are necessary to ensure the health and well-being of our community and its environment.” Democracy Unlimited helped pass the ballot initiative that led to the creation of the CDC and played a lead role in organizing the two Arcata town hall meetings which shaped the formation of the Committee. The committee was a unique and valuable resource for local residents and the only entity of its kind in the country.

Although the city indefinitely suspended the Committee in 2012, policies developed by the CDC are still embodied in Arcata law, and it could be revived. We encourage any Arcata resident interested in bringing back the Committee to contact city council, and let us know if we can help.

Economic Democracy and Sustainable Alternatives

Food and Democracy Project

The Food and Democracy Project seeks to lessen the dependence of the Humboldt community on corporate agribusiness by connecting them with healthier, more democratic food systems.

To that end, we also partner up with local farmers to coordinate one or more Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs with a pick-up site in Eureka. In 2014, we have partnered with Earthly Edibles and Luna Farm.

★ If you would like to sign up for a share in one or both of these CSAs, click here.

★ Democracy Unlimited also supports and encourages participation in other CSA programs, as well as community gardens and other sustainable and democratic food systems. Check out our complete list of all the CSA Farms in Humboldt County.

★ Make use of the Food and Democracy Networking Group on this website to stay informed or get involved.

Humboldt County Independent Business Alliance (HumIBA)

The Humboldt County Independent Business Alliance (HumIBA) is no longer in operation. The following information about this discontinued project is provided for historical purposes.

Independent Business Alliances are a proven tool for protecting unique community character, ensuring continued opportunities for entrepreneurs, building local economic strength, and preventing the displacement of locally-owned businesses by chains.

HumIBA had four main areas of focus:

1) Informing citizens about the value of community-based businesses and their importance to the local economy, culture and social fabric. To that end, it annually published the Local Options Directory, a listing of Humboldt-based independent businesses.

2) Strengthening the voice of the locally-owned independent business community by creating strong relationships with local government and the media.

3) Elevating the profile of our community-based businesses through group branding and advertising to help level the playing field with national chains.

4) Developing and supporting policies that promote community-rooted enterprise.

In this way, HumIBA sought to support local economic democracy through support of both businesses and policies that place power over important economic decisions in the hands of community members, and create a viable sustainable system for doing community-minded business in Humboldt County.

Culture Shifting and Education

The Honor Tax

The Honor Tax is a project to encourage individuals, community organizations, and businesses to recognize and pay tribute to those Native tribes whose land they occupy. The tax is self-imposed and the amount is self-determined. The act of paying the Honor Tax is meant to recognize the sovereignty of Native nations, many who were forced off the lands that white people and other immigrants now occupy.

The Honor Tax project aims to place power in the hands of individuals and communities to take action to recognize not only our national history genocidal, but to help eliminate current racist discourse that both makes Native peoples invisible in our society and fails to recognize the sovereignty of Native governments and their right to self-rule.

This project is co-sponsored by Democracy Unlimited and the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development, who each pay the honor tax to the Wiyot Nation in Humboldt County. Our groups do not collect the tax from others interested in participating, or involve ourselves in any way with handling of the funds. Rather, both groups seek to educate fellow citizens on the importance of recognizing Native sovereignty and to encourage payment of the Honor Tax.

★ Participation in the Honor Tax is simple: determine how much you wish to pay and contact the governing authority of the tribe on whose land you live or work to figure out how best to send them the tax. If you don't know which tribe or nation to contact, do a little research and find out!

★ You can sign up to pay your Honor Tax on the project website:

★ Check out the Honor Tax Networking Group on this website to stay informed or get involved.

Workshops: Uncovering Our Hidden History

Please note that due to how very busy our role as national field organizing office for Move to Amend keeps us these days, we currently do not hold regular workshops. The information below is provided for historical purposes. However, we hope to resume holding workshops at some future date.

Democracy Unlimited understands the importance of transforming the ideas that shape our world in order to make it more just and democratic. To that end, our local education program engaged community members to reconsider what the idea of democracy is, and to rediscover the history of the United States from a framework of radical democracy.

In Humboldt County, we offered an all-day introductory workshop, "Challenging Corporate Rule, Creating Democracy," three times a year. This workshop provided understanding for how corporations have been granted both the rights and decision-making power which only we as citizens should have, and presented ideas and strategies for creating a genuine democracy in which people, not corporations, rule.

Our local education program also involved work with other local community organizations, schools, and universities.

★ To find out more about our different workshop offerings please visit our Workshops Section.

Community Skillshares

NOTE: Due to how very busy our work on Move to Amend keeps us these days, we do not currently hold skillshares. However, people are still encouraged to offer their personal services at our quarterly pancake breakfasts. The following is provided for historical purposes.

In our consumption driven society many of us have forgotten the skills necessary for self-sufficiency and autonomy. There is a growing resurgence of interest in these skills, but often community empowerment is still left out of the equation: what good does it do us to learn to take care of ourselves in isolation or for purely selfish reasons? We need to re-awaken our communal preservation instincts!

For years, Democracy Unlimited hosted free Community Skillshare events, offering the opportunity for neighbors to teach and learn from each other about a wide-range of valuable skills including herbal first aid, sock darning, changing your car's oil, baking break, bike maintenance, putting a website online, making tamales, saving and starting seeds, sewing outdoor clothes, canning, making mead and beer, and many, many more.

Now instead of an annual event, we encourage folks to offer their personal services at our quarterly pancake breakfasts.

Organizing Skills and Training

Internship Program

For multiple years, we had an internship program that provided intensive training and hands-on experience for two interns every spring, summer, and fall. Interns provided valuable support for us while gaining the skills they need to pursue a wide variety of organizing opportunities. Local, national, and international students have all participated in our internship program, and gone on to help build the democracy movement both locally and abroad. Democracy Unlimited's internship program informed the development of the Move to Amend Internship program running strong today.

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