Anti-Monopoly

ANTI-MONOPOLY

We’re in the midst of a historic consolidation of corporate power.

In the past 20 years, more than 75 percent of American industries, from corn to pharmaceuticals, have experienced increased concentration, with the average size of public companies tripling.

As monopoly regulations have eased through the intervention of corporate interests over the last 40 years, everyday Americans – particularly those from low and middle-income brackets – are dealing with the consequences and beginning to understand the impact concentrated economic power has on competitive markets, local communities and the lived experience of individuals and families. Today, we are seeing a mix of simmering public anger, legal and economic innovation and grassroots mobilization directed against monopolies, particularly Big Tech.

ESP is investing in anti-monopoly research. Submit a proposal here for the first round of funding on May 17th or the second round on July 19th.

To take advantage of the opportunity afforded by this moment, the Anti-Monopoly Fund fills a need of directing resources to organize and expand the efforts of groups already dedicated to creating fair markets and enacting smart anti-monopoly enforcement and policy. The goal of the AMF is to harness the political and cultural moment we are in to create meaningful structural change to our economy and effectively use civic power to check private power that has fueled the massive inequality and lack of economic mobility that has plagued poor and middle-class Americans for nearly half a century. Ultimately, we aim for this effort to result in a stronger economy and democracy for all Americans.

The Economic Security Project is interested in supporting projects that advance AMF’s mission. If you’re interested in applying for funding or collaborating with our team, please reach out to antimonopoly@economicsecurityproject.org

Grantee Highlights

ACRE

ACRE Institute is a campaign hub for organizations working at the intersection of racial justice and Wall Street accountability. With investment from the Economic Security Project’s Anti-Monopoly Fund, ACRE Institute plans to center the fight against rising corporate power in racial justice. The work will include bringing new racial justice groups to the table and running racial justice focused corporate campaigns designed to influence the public narrative on corporate concentration and win real victories for communities of color around the country.

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ADAMANT MEDIA

Adamant media is a non-profit, mission-driven production house that tells stories that educate the public, provoke debate and inspire social reform. They will produce a short (10-15 minute) documentary on how corporate consolidation within the animal agriculture industry has trapped farmers in debt servitude, forcing them to adopt practices that are toxic to the environment, hazardous for humans and torturous for the animals they raise. The film will document the efforts of one animal rights activist who has forged relationships with growers in the poultry industry, and is helping them transition away from animal agriculture and toward sustainable, plant-based agriculture, liberating both animals and humans at once.

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AMERICAN ECONOMIC LIBERTIES PROJECT

The American Economic Liberties Project advances policy ideas, builds political will, develops compelling communications narratives, and executes collaborative, high-impact strategies to address concentrated economic power and advance economic liberties for all. Since launching in February 2020, Economic Liberties has quickly become a leading voice in Washington on the problem of corporate power, driving advocacy and communications strategies to lift up solutions to challenges ranging from Facebook, Google, and Amazon to the ways in which policymakers’ response to COVID-19 is augmenting corporate and financial power. With support from the Anti-Monopoly Fund, Economic Liberties will accelerate work to develop accessible, solutions-oriented policy ideas on top-of-the-agenda issues, while cultivating new, cross-cutting networks, including with local and state stakeholders, movement groups, and the small business community, to help inform and popularize them.

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AMERICAN INDEPENDENT BUSINESS ALLIANCE (AMIBA)

The American Independent Business Alliance’s (AMIBA) strengths stem from encompassing more than 60 local Independent Business Alliances across the country with distinct and innovative leadership, representing over 20,000 independent business owners that provide crucial grassroots support; and maintaining the capacity to deploy resources on both nationwide and local bases as needed. The vast networks of local businesses that comprise AMIBA support each other and contribute to the vitality of their communities.
AMIBA is well positioned to detect antitrust violations. Involved in a broad array of industries, the 20,000 small-business members can uncover potential antitrust violations if they are sufficiently educated about tell-tale signs of anticompetitive conduct. The content of the education would consist of providing a basic overview of antitrust law (in layman’s terms) and describing specific, visible indicators of various antitrust violations. The latter would involve informing members of exactly how to identify potential Section 1 and Section 2 violations of the Sherman Act.
To create thriving local economies in the post-COVID pandemic stage, AMIBA is proposing to pilot, refine, and distribute a new “business retention and expansion” strategy that places racial equity at the center. We want to activate and empower our local business alliances to leverage their unique perspectives to pilot a new model for economic development.

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AThEna

Athena is a powerful emerging force of diverse people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ folks, and working class people and organizations working together to break the increasing stranglehold of corporate power over our economy democracy, and planet. The entry point: reining in Amazon and exposing and remedying the dynamics in our democracy that allowed Amazon and corporations like it to amass and abuse such dominant power and wealth.

Athena is a growing group of forty-plus organizations, representing people coast to coast and South to North, whose communities and livelihoods are affected by Amazon, as well as advocates, policy experts, and academics. Athena’s aim is to break up the power of Amazon and other mammoth corporations and recreate a world where all people, our environment, and our economy are healthy and sustainable; where everyone is safe, respected, and able to thrive.

With investment from the Anti-Monopoly Fund, Athena will highlight the concrete ways that Amazon’s monopoly power is an acute threat and popularize initiatives that rein them in.

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Color Of Change

Color Of Change designs campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. They will infuse a racial justice lens into anti-monopoly organizing and implement an emerging anti-monopoly program built from their many years of corporate accountability work and campaigns to advance Black economic empowerment.

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Coworker.org

Coworker.org allows workers to start, run, and win campaigns to change your workplace. Every day, people are launching and joining campaigns around issues large and small – from improving an office breakroom to providing paid sick leave to employees.

Coworker.org is developing a program to address the impact of technology on workers and low-wage communities through legal frameworks beyond labor and employment law. This will include cross-sectoral policy research of technology, trade, data, antitrust, civil rights and tax policy as well as participatory research with groups of employees using Coworker.org as part of their organizing campaigns. They aim to help the field advance a hybrid policy approach that emphasizes economic equity, deconcentration of power, increased workplace rights and public oversight of technology.

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Creative Action Network

Creative Action Network (CAN) is a global community of artists who believe that art is the most powerful fuel for social change. Using their powers for good since 2008, they’ve become the go-to marketplace for social impact design and crowdsourced protest art.

Coming in 2020, CAN’s army of artists will be joining the fight for a new economy, for a world where power lies with the people, not corporations. With support from the Anti-Monopoly Fund, CAN’s upcoming crowdsourced art campaign will invite artists & designers from across the country to expose how our economy really works, to paint pictures of what it could be, and to inspire the action that will get us there. This new collection of infographics, data visualizations, and graphic art will be distributed online and offline via gallery shows and other art installations, to build power for the anti-monopoly movement.

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DEMAND PROGRESS

Demand Progress and their two million affiliated activists seek to protect the democratic character of the internet — and wield it to render government accountable, protect civil liberties and human rights, and contest concentrated corporate power. To forward these causes they employ a variety of tactics, including policy development, lobbying, mass mobilization, research, writing, and engagement with the media. Under this grant, Demand Progress will continue its efforts to contest the power of the dominant online platforms and to otherwise combat concentrated corporate power and its deleterious impacts on the economy, governance, and our broader society. In particular, they will make policy recommendations and will engage in grassroots mobilization and direct advocacy related to relevant investigations, proceedings, and legislative efforts — and they will work to promote progressive personnel for government positions.

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GEORGETOWN CENTER ON POVERTY AND INEQUALITY’S ECONOMIC SECURITY AND OPPORTUNITY INITIATIVE

The Economic Security and Opportunity Initiative of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality (GCPI ESOI) engages in research, policy analysis, and idea development to alleviate poverty and inequality, advance racial and gender equity, and expand economic inclusion for all of the United States. GCPI ESOI’s approach to research consistently blends qualitative and quantitative analysis, develops new frameworks, and extensively engages experts and stakeholders, including people with lived experience. With support from the Economic Security Project’s Anti-Monopoly Fund, GCPI ESOI is conducting research on the impact of market concentration, monopoly power, and labor monopsony on people of color and low-income consumers and workers.

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Inequality Media

Co-founded by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, Inequality Media educates and engages about inequality and imbalance of power through the use of digital media. We used to assume that corporations succeed by becoming better, cheaper, or faster than their competitors; they now succeed mainly by increasing their monopoly power.

Inequality Media will create explainer videos, interviews, and data visualizations to educate the public about anti-monopoly, depicting how America’s move from stakeholder to shareholder capitalism has shifted the balance of power out of the hands of workers and into the hands of corporations.

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INSTITUTE FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

The Freedom From Facebook coalition brings together progressive organizations representing more than 10 million members to educate the public about the need to break up Facebook to address its threats to democracy. Since Freedom From Facebook’s inception, two federal agencies, the House Antitrust Subcommittee, and nearly all state attorneys general have opened investigations into Facebook’s monopoly power or potential antitrust violations. The Anti-Monopoly Fund provided support to the Freedom From Facebook coalition through its co-chairs Demand Progress and the Open Markets Institute.

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Institute for Local Self-Reliance

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a national research and advocacy organization that challenges corporate control and advances policies to build thriving, equitable communities. ILSR has been a leader in showing how public policy decisions have fueled monopoly at the expense of entrepreneurship, and how the decline of independent businesses has harmed communities, weakened industries, and intensified inequality. ILSR will launch a new initiative to spotlight the impact of concentrated power on small businesses, lift up their stories, and activate them in support of strong anti-monopoly policies.

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I-MAK

I-MAK is advocating for a more just patent system.Their team of former private sector lawyers and scientists has successfully litigated against some of the world’s biggest drugmakers, unlocking more than $2 billion in savings for low- and middle-income countries who can now get lifesaving medicines to millions more people. In the U.S., their hard-hitting investigations have exposed the unjust ways the patent system spurs high drug prices and harms marginalized communities.

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FREEDOM FROM FACeBOOK

The Freedom From Facebook coalition brings together progressive organizations representing more than 10 million members to educate the public about the need to break up Facebook to address its threats to democracy. Since Freedom From Facebook’s inception, two federal agencies, the House Antitrust Subcommittee, and nearly all state attorneys general have opened investigations into Facebook’s monopoly power or potential antitrust violations. The Anti-Monopoly Fund provided support to the Freedom From Facebook coalition through its co-chairs Demand Progress and the Open Markets Institute.

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Law and Political Economy Project

The Law and Political Economy Project, a network of legal scholars that investigates the interrelationship between politics, power, and the economy, will work to translate values of democracy and an analysis of power into policy conversations, drawing on the rich legal traditions of anti-monopoly and regulated industries law. They will develop an intensive policy academy that will introduce policymakers to the latest and most relevant legal and scholarly developments.

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LIBERATION IN A GENERATION

Liberation in a Generation is a national movement support organization building the power of people of color to totally transform the economy — who controls it, how it works, and most importantly, for whom. They bring together economists, advocates, community organizers, and other proven and emerging leaders of color across the country to build a Liberation Economy, within one generation. Liberation in a Generation is incubating at PolicyLink. Liberation in a Generation will develop a policy position paper that explores the impacts of corporate concentration on people of color. and makes recommendations for what topics grassroots organizers should prioritize for policy advocacy.

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Museum of Capitalism

The Museum of Capitalism engages the public with economic issues and institutional structures through a speculative future in which Capitalism has fallen and it’s artifacts are memorialized as art. Since the Museum debuted in Oakland in 2017, over 20,000 people have visited versions of the Museum across the country, viewing art and participating in public events. The Anti-Monopoly Fund provided support for their research into the strange history of the game Monopoly, and it’s illicit spawn, Anti-Monopoly, which culminated in a lecture and live game playing event in New York this past November.

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Open Markets Institute

The Open Markets Institute is a team of journalists, researchers, lawyers, historians, and advocates working to protect our democracy, our prosperity, and the stability of vital international systems from threats posed by dangerous concentrations of economic power and control. Open Markets has been a leader in elevating the problem of monopolies in the national debate on corporate concentration and inequality. They see a growing recognition in public conversation and among lawmakers of the problem of big monopolies, especially Big Tech, and the urgent need to tackle their threat to our democracy and economy but more remains to be done. Our first grant to Open Markets focused on public opinion research. This grant will support their research, advocacy and legal work to analyze and elevate the problem of monopoly across the economy, in sectors like healthcare, energy, agriculture, and even national security as well as its impact on technology innovation and how it exacerbates structural discrimination. It will accelerate the efforts led by Open Markets’ Center on Journalism and Liberty on countering monopolization’s impact on a core pillar of democracy, a free and strong press and other forms of expression and communication in the public square.

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PrEP4ALL

The PrEP4All Collaboration is an activist group aimed at getting life-saving medications into the hands of the people who need them. Founded in 2018, PrEP4All takes on pharmaceutical companies that profiteer off of epidemics like HIV and COVID-19, charging irrationally high markups on drugs that are often developed by the federal government using taxpayer dollars. By challenging these monopolies and advocating for government intervention for the benefit of public health, PrEP4All aims to spur generic competition and lower drug prices, thereby creating universal access to medicines and ending some of the United States’ most pressing public health problems.
With an express focus on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) at launch, PrEP4All has expanded its efforts to include ensuring access to COVID-19 therapeutics and preventatives. With support from the Anti-Monopoly Fund, PrEP4All develops policy reports and hard-hitting media publications to pressure agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to use their existing statutory authority and break up pharmaceutical monopolies, thereby increasing generic competition and driving down drug prices. Much of their work targets Gilead Sciences, the only manufacturer of HIV PrEP and COVID-19 drug remdesivir in the United States.

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Public Knowledge

Public Knowledge promotes freedom of expression, an open internet, and access to affordable communications tools and creative works.

PK will catalyze an effort to appeal to federal lawmakers and state attorneys general to create new accountability frameworks that put individuals and communities first in the digital economy. The PK team will promote antitrust and regulatory policies on Capitol Hill, at regulatory agencies, and with state attorneys general. Perhaps most importantly, PK’s policy experts will work to bring various stakeholders and grassroots leaders to Washington to amplify their voices on the federal stage, provide information and training, and share their experience with Washington public interest groups and policy makers.

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Public RIGHTS PROJECT

Public Rights Project works at the intersection of community organizing and government enforcement, with a specific focus on catalyzing equitable and community-based enforcement to protect residents’ legal rights. They work to achieve this mission by training attorney fellows to catalyze the proactive work of government law offices; providing strategic support in legal strategy, research, partnerships and data analytics to help offices develop high-impact legal cases; and designing and spreading community outreach and organizing approaches that empower community residents and advocates to be active partners in an enforcement agenda rooted in equity.

With support from the Anti-Monopoly Fund, Public Rights Project will develop legal case pitches for their extensive partner network of public law offices across the country — including over a dozen state attorneys general — to combat corporate power and its effects on workers, tenants, and consumers. They will also work with community-based organizations and academic thought partners to brainstorm and vet potential topics, with an emphasis on cases that will address the needs of low-income communities of color and other marginalized groups.

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Revolving Door Project

The Revolving Door Project scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement.

With support from the Anti-Monopoly Fund, the Revolving Door Project will monitor how the “revolving door” between competition regulators and pro-monopoly forces casts a shadow over the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (DOJ ATR) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They will systematically track key enforcement actions and secondary reviews undertaken — or not taken — by the DOJ ATR or FTC in 2020 by building an online public tracker highlighting the revolving door figures involved in ongoing merger and enforcement actions. The support will allow them to investigate and share our findings of conflicts of interest with leading regulators as well as the media. They will also expand on FOIA efforts to shed further light on how the agencies designed to protect the country from consolidation have instead abetted it.

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ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE

The Roosevelt Institute is working to drive a progressive economic agenda that demonstrates how we can respond to today’s challenges in a way that creates lasting, structural economic change. As leaders focus on COVID-19 response and recovery, we have an opportunity to make fundamental rules changes that remake the way our economy operates — and for whom it operates — in order to build an economy that works for the good of all.
Roosevelt will continue to demonstrate to key audiences and stakeholders how the dysfunction in our economy — including its ability to respond to large-scale health and economic crises — is driven by a concentration of power with the wealthiest and an erosion of government as a countervailing force. This includes working to advance an agenda aimed at ensuring more dynamic, competitive, and worker- and small-business focused markets through our work on corporate power and economic policy. They will continue their work to advance policy ideas to fight monopolies and corporate concentration, such as exploring how the U.S. tax code facilitates monopoly growth and outlining ideas to increase revenue and fairness; and strengthening the case for how shareholder-focused corporate governance hurts workers and the economy and developing new elements of corporate governance reform.

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Thurman Arnold Project

The Thurman Arnold Project (named in honor of Thurman Arnold, Yale Law Professor and head of the Antitrust Division of the DOJ from 1938-43) brings together Yale faculty, students, and scholars from other institutions to collaborate on research related to competition and competition policy, as well as antitrust enforcement. The goal of the project is to generate discipline-based, rigorous scholarship and disseminate it through multiple channels to impact competition enforcement on the ground in a way that protects and benefits consumers. Current areas of research activity by TAP affiliated scholars include agricultural markets and the challenge of antitrust enforcement in rural areas, applying antitrust to labor markets, and mapping traditional antitrust concepts onto competition in digital businesses.

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TOWARDS JUSTICE

Towards Justice is a non-profit law firm dedicated to representing workers and consumers in challenging systemic impediments to worker power and economic and racial justice. With the support of the Anti-Monopoly Fund, Towards Justice will seek to launch creative impact litigation to attack monopsony power and anti-competitive practices in the labor market. Towards Justice will focus in particular on cases that may shape the law to make it more protective of workers, cases that challenge widespread and systemic practices that are unlikely to be challenged by the private bar or public enforcers, cases that change the conversation about monopsonies and anticompetitive practices, and cases that support worker-led organizing.

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U.S. PIRG EDUCATION FUND RIGHT TO REPAIR CAMPAIGN

U.S. PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group, with state affiliates across the country, that works to stand up for the public interest whenever our health, rights or democracy are at risk. Along with its sister organization, U.S. PIRG, the organization has been at the forefront of the Right to Repair campaign, which seeks to break open repair monopolies.
When the only company that can fix a product — whether it’s tablet, a tractor or even a ventilator — is the original manufacturer, they can charge whatever they want to fix that product, or they can deny repair and push the customer to “upgrade.” As the COVID-19 crisis hit, it became clear that medical device manufacturers’ restrictions on the repair market was undermining hospital response including preventing the repair of usable ventilators. PIRG’s campaign seeks to organize hospital repair professionals, part of the frontline workforce, to force manufacturers to provide access to critical parts, service instructions and service keys. Already the campaign has forced notable concessions, including the release of GE ventilator service manuals. The campaign also seeks to expand Right to Repair reforms to enable more computer refurbishing to help address the digital divide.

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Washington Center for Equitable Growth

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth is a non-profit research and grantmaking organization dedicated to advancing evidence-backed ideas and policies that promote strong, stable, and broad-based economic growth.

Monopoly power threatens broader economic growth and exacerbates inequality by increasing prices, hindering new business formation, stifling innovation, and diminishing workers’ wages. Current research on the U.S. economy increasingly finds decreasing competition and increasing concentration across industries. With support from the Economic Security Project’s Anti-Monopoly Fund, Equitable Growth will expand its work to support research and policy analysis on how strong competition among U.S. businesses affects inequality and broad-based economic growth.

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