Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Albuquerque Protests in Support of Constitutional Amendment Spurred by Anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision
The following is a report from Contributing Writer Suzanne Prescott.
A group of about 20 people gathered in Albuquerque at the home of Margaret Viers, to plan protests against the US Supreme Court decision nearly two years ago which ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. While awareness of what Citizens United vs. the FEC means has grown, as we approach the January 2012 two-year anniversary of the decision, its impact is still not widely understood. Protests in Albuquerque against the Citizens United decision are planned for the third week of January, specifically January 17th and 20th. In addition to increasing awareness of the ways in which the Supreme Court decision destroys the integrity of elections, the protests are focused on gathering support for a constitutional amendment which will make it clear that corporations are not people.
The controversy centers on the Supreme Court’s ruling that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited. Citizens United is a conservative non-profit organization. The case, known as ‘Citizens United v Federal Election Commission,’ allows corporations to use their general funds to buy campaign ads. Previous to this ruling, campaign finance rules prohibited TV attack ads funded by outside groups. The decision opened the door for unlimited contributions by corporations as well as unions. The high court cited the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of the right of free speech, and it was the first time a corporate entity was treated like a person. Detractors of the ruling cried foul and correctly point out that the decision by the Supreme Court hands lobbyists even greater powers. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official, “If you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.” The ruling also opened the door for foreign governments to affect the outcome of United States elections.
The planning meeting was sponsored by five national organizations, and held at the home of Margaret Viers, who said of the impact of the Citizens United decision, “The court’s decision gave corporations the same status as people and this unprecedented move increases the influence of corporations in politics at a time when Americans are clearly concerned about corporate influence and are looking to restore the power of people in a government of by and for the people.”
The Citizens’ United ruling was especially welcomed by Republicans who respond to corporations in exchange for campaign contributions. The cozy relationship became more obvious after reports that two Supreme Court Justices attended a secret Koch Industries strategy meeting prior to voting to extend free speech rights to corporations just in time for the 2010 midterm campaigns. The midterm elections saw a record amount of campaign contributions from anonymous sources that were illegal for years until the high court broke with precedent and gave personhood to corporations. The rash of Republican governors’ victories and subsequent corporate favoritism and tax cuts at the expense of poor and working class Americans is evidence that there is a serious need for accountability and transparency in campaign financing.
Margaret Viers also points out an additional concern about the ruling involves its secrecy, “Even worse, the Supreme Court decided that there was no need to disclose where the money came from. By protesting the Citizens United Decision, we hope to spread awareness of the dangers of the ruling and to increase the momentum for a Constitutional Amendment which makes it clear that corporations are not people.”
Details about times and locations will be available shortly. Persons interested in more information should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or 505-242-4107.
December 22, 2011 • 2:40 am
More laws controlling corporations aren’t the answer. Instead what is needed is a foundational change in the definition of the relationship between living human beings and the nonliving legal fictions we call corporations. Only when corporations are legally subordinate to those who authorized them that is, real human beings and the governments representing the real human beings will true change be possible.
Without exception is that if the super wealthy and corporations would be countered by whatever bill, law, regulation, rule or decision the public wants and requires, it won’t happen.
If something does pass, it’s so stripped down in depth, breadth or enforcement like the federal Dodd-Frank financial ”reform” bill that the intention is lost. Actually, such half-assed measures are worse than useless as they are proclaimed by corporate propagandists as real reform.
Our political system by bribery is fundamentally undemocratic and actually harmful to American’s well being. That is what OWS and before being co-opted, the Tea Party, was about.
Real democracy doesn’t exist anymore because wealth and corporations have attained rights and disproportionate power as compared to the actual living human citizens. Can we have a real representative democracy in a society that defines money as speech and corporations as people with inalienable constitutional rights? No.
Posted by: qofdisks | Dec 27, 2011 4:24:23 PM
You make a more successful point FOR the constitutional amendment than AGAINST it.
Posted by: suz | Dec 28, 2011 8:20:33 AM
Stand up, fight back. Spring in America will be bigger than any protest known thus far.
We have to take back our democracy, and it is going to be a tough fight.
Posted by: bg | Dec 28, 2011 11:04:52 AM
Organizational meeting for Move To Amend at Abq. Center for Peace and Justice 10 AM Thursday 12/29. Topics include:
--city/state resolutions in support of amendment to abolish corporate personhood,
-- Occupy The Courts action 1/20/2012 at 333 Lomas NW 12-3 PM
-- Local organization and completion of affiliation with national Move To Amend via conference call.
Posted by: LeMoyne | Dec 28, 2011 2:44:55 PM