Recent news and notes from the movement to overturn Citizens United…
Pittsfield Passes Resolution for 28th Amendment
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a citizens’ petition to add their voice to the list of local governments calling for a constitutional amendment to invalidate the Citizens United ruling. The resolution had garned favor from councilors at a previous subcommittee hearing devoted to the subject, and was passed with little debate. Numerous Pittsfield residents spoke adamantly in favor of its passage during the council meeting’s open mic period Tuesday.
The Baltimore Sun
Will 2012 be the year American democracy dies?
Who’s buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, among others. And they’re doing much of it in secret. It’s a perfect storm — the combination of three waves that are about to drown government as we know it.
NLR endorses amendment against Citizens United ruling
Robert Nunn sent me a note that says the North Little Rock City Council last night, led by Mayor Pat Hays, endorsed the resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to override the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United that gave personhood to corporations. He said Tea Party-style mayoral candidate Mark Clinton spoke against the resolution. Here’s the resolution [pdf].
Aldermen OK ‘Citizens United’ referendum
It took Evanston aldermen just a few minutes at a special meeting Thursday night to place an advisory referendum on the November ballot asking voters whether they favor a constitutional amendment to limit corporate spending on election campaigns. By City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz’s count, the special session lasted just 11 minutes.
Noozhawk (Santa Barbara, CA)
Rally Calls for Santa Barbara City Council to Oppose ‘Corporate Personhood’
Activists gathered in front of Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon for a rally calling on the City Council to pass a resolution in support of a U.S. constitutional amendment to end “corporate personhood” — a legal doctrine that grants corporations many of the same constitutional rights as individual citizens.
Corporations Can’t Pledge Allegiance
Outcries against the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, extending corporations’ 1st Amendment rights, point to many advantages giving corporations the edge over natural persons: “Limited liability” protects company owners from personal responsibility for business debts; and corporations are virtually immortal — a big advantage. Mostly, though, critics point out the obvious: that a corporation’s resources — Exxon Mobil earns $1,300 per second — typically dwarf those of ordinary mortals. But whatever one’s stand on “free speech rights” for corporations, what seems inarguable is that once the Court — notably in its 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision — began conflating spending and speech corporations and the wealthiest among us have been the big winners.
In These Times
Representative Democracy, Heal Thyself
The demand to “get money out of politics” was a rallying cry for the Occupy movement, and it’s one that, thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, resonates deeply with much of the public. Citizens United opened the door for unlimited corporate spending in elections and is largely responsible for the Wild West of campaign finance in which we find ourselves this election season. But is “money in politics” the problem, or is it shorthand for record levels of inequality that will inevitably distort our political process? In These Times spoke to Sarah Leonard of Dissent magazine, Doug Henwood of Left Business Observer, and Lisa Graves of the Center for Media and Democracy about progressive electoral strategies and what it would take to build a popular movement around something as wonky as campaign finance reform.
Avoid campaign propaganda and be a winner
Citizens United may give First Amendment rights to entities that cannot vote, but it does not necessarily give them an audience. Let the special interests spend their money on ads, spend lots of it. Money coming into the state for ads will bolster our economy. But I don’t plan to listen to any of them. It is a game anyone can play and I encourage everyone who is tired of this nonsense to join.