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.

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

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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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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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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 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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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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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

Open Markets Institute (OMI) is a team of journalists, researchers, lawyers, and advocates working together to expose and reverse the stranglehold that corporate monopolies have on our country. They are conducting public opinion research.

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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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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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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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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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