Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down its McCutcheon v FEC decision. While plutocrats are celebrating, many Americans, conservative and liberal, are concerned about how destructive this decision will be on top of the unpopular Citizens United decision four years ago. While more Republicans are comfortable with plutocracy than Democrats, people are waking up to danger of Supreme Court decisions.
While we agree with almost everything Toure states, he is misleading at the very end when he does not spell out that contending with the problems of having financial donations protected by the First Amendment as an expression of speech (“money is not speech”) and associational constitutional rights (“corporations are not people”) must be addressed with a constitutional amendment. This isn’t “reform;” it is fundamental to our Constitution. Move to Amend’s National Director, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap stated:
“The only solution is to overrule the Court through a Constitutional amendment. Any attempt to solve the issue of money in elections through a regulatory or legislative fix is at the mercy of a Supreme Court and legal system only interested in protecting the interests of the monied few. It is time for Americans to Move to Amend. Washington DC can not be trusted to fix this problem for us — it is in our hands.”
No campaign finance reform effort can be comprehensive and effective until this is accomplished. It will take time before we find out if this plutocratic, anti-democratic decision will wake the American people up. Hopefully, it will not be too late by then. Like Move to Amend‘s field organizer, David Cobb, “We…call on the American people to build a movement to force Congress to overrule the Court through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to make clear that corporations do not have Constitutional rights and money is not speech and campaign spending at all levels can be regulated.”
If the wealthy few get their way, this will, of course, never happen. On March 13, 1962 President Kennedy said “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” In all likelihood, the “Supreme” Court may have done just that. It is frightening to consider that the abolition of corporate personhood, defined in law as properties being people, may require as much bloodshed as the abolition of slavery, defined in law as people being properties. Just expressing support for such violence could, and probably would, result in arrest since doing so is a violation of federal law as upheld by the Supreme Court in Brandenburg v Ohio.
If this plutocratic decision creates a more robust backlash across party lines than the response to the Court’s Citizens United v FEC decision, which spurred only one Republican to co-sponsor an amendment proposal, we could peacefully legalize democracy and restore our democratic Republic. If not, it’s unlikely the plutocrats with their bought Congress and their military-industrial complex will ever lose their power, even if the people feel compelled to resort to violence. Unfortunately, just using an explanation by Toure, a black man on MSNBC, a channel many Republicans consider the “Obama channel,” to explain what the McCutcheon decision will mean, is enough to stop too many conservatives from reading this far. This is not, however, ideological. This is about the Court intentionally corrupting the rights in the Constitution.
Congressional Republican leaders, Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority leader McConnell, want to make this a partisan decision with their support for McCutcheon. However, this decision will convey to every voter which side their representative is on: the plutocrats or the voters. Support for this decision has no basis in constitutional* or historical writings. It was not “originalist.” Whereas the Court’s Citizens United v FEC (2010) decision legalized corporate corruption, McCutcheon v FEC legalized individual corruption. Although McCutcheon is not as damaging to American democracy as Citizens United, it does make a bad situation worse.
These decisions turn the pledge of allegiance into a lie. The American flag should stand for a republic, not an oligarchy. The existence of two parties makes it seem like there are two factions, but there’s good reason to believe that it is really one faction with multiple rivalries for power, i.e., corporate feudalism. What Republican or Democrat can support the loss of our American republic and sleep well at night?
Studies have proven that it only takes 3.5% of the population taking nonviolent action to create meaningful and positive change. We can only hope that these people, if that many folks come together for an amendment, make it clear: this is not about Parties. Republican Party leaders are showing their cards. Overturning these decisions is about restoring a Republic that has been sold out by five men judging in the tradition of Louis Powell, in favor of corporate influence and “louder” speech by the wealthy few. Unpatriotic, multinational corporations have as much power in America as they do because of Judge Powell and his like-minded successors on the Supreme Court. These anti-democractic decisions must not be allowed to stand.
*Spending money is not an act of speech. Money is legal tender and best addressed under Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution. It is functionally a “manner of holding elections.” There is also no language in the Constitution which supports the possibility of associations having rights. The words “person,” “persons” and “peoples” refer to human beings. The Framers considered corporations temporary and task specific or, in James Madison’s view, “evil” when ecclesiastical corporations engage in “the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity…” He added, “The power of all corporations, ought to be limited in this respect” – (Detached Memoranda, circa 1817)