"We the People believe corporations are not people and money is not Speech. We support an amendment to the constitution to provide that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."
--------- from Move to Amend
"Money isn't speech and corporations aren't people"
--------- David Kairys, Professor of Law at Temple University School of Law.
Action-A-Day: 6/6/17 What to do about Citizens United Vs The Federal Elections Commission? Democracy for All? And Support for H.J.Res.48 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
BACKGROUND: Currently in the 115th Congress, there are 5 House and 2 Senate proposed constitutional amendments and/or bills in response and reaction to the 2010 Supreme Court decision of Citizens United vs The Federal Election Board------- commonly referred to as 'Citizens United'. The Supreme Court decision in 2010, was a legal battle over the meaning of free speech in this country. The argument and consequent vote was 5 to 4 in favor of the use of money as free speech. Additionally, the question of stifling free speech/money with time limits became the centerpiece of the decision. After the decision was handed down, even the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) stood in support of the decision on Constitutional Freedom of Speech grounds.
Freedom of speech and expression has always been foundational to Americans' understanding of basic liberty, freedom and justice. The Citizens United case put this central in the debates to the High Courts. And that's how they won the argument in legal terms. However, the definitions of corporations as people is weak. The notion that money is the same as speech is also flawed. And notably behind this concept of free speech is the Real Harm done to democracy with unlimited use of money by corporations (as speech) and the unknown sources from which that money arises.
Historically, the courts when pushed, have always set some reasonable limits on speech. For example you may not yell fire in a crowded public space without consequences of fine or possible imprisonment, due to the harm such action may cause others. Reams of articles backed with data support the notion that Citizens United has become the equivalent of shouting fire in a crowded public space, because it is doing great harm to the state of the democracy and the people living in it. The idea that a person with $3 can be heard equally as a corporation with $3Billion is a fantasy.
The reality is that we have had this unjust, unfair, unbalanced system, since 2010. Most people want to change it. But many are afraid doing so gives unfair advantage to the 'other side'. Our members of congress also wanting to keep power and the benefit of large corporate donors cannot police itself enough to "do the right thing". So we are stuck.*
Following former successful constitutional amendment processes, however, the people do have the power if they can keep up the resistance. As the 'Iron-Jawed Angels' succeeded in getting women the right to vote; And as Prohibition was passed and then repealed; We can push back against the entities that threaten our republic and democratic ideals. With massive widespread bipartisan effort, amending the constitution is the way to save the republic from dark money and unknown foreign donations and interference.
Many states have passed State Constitutional amendments in this direction as well. But it will take huge grassroots effort to keep the pressure on to make this a reality at the national level. 'We the People' must take a stand for the long haul to say ABSOLUTELY NO! No more lies. No more cheating with big money. We are taking back the protections of unalienable rights. Too much is at stake: healthcare, voting rights, education, environmental concerns including clean air and water, and climate change which ultimately threatens National Security. 'We the People' want a Constitutional Amendment to protect human rights of natural persons. This right does not extend to corporations or artificial entities.
What can be done? All prior successful Constitutional Amendments have had several things in common: 1). They must start at the grassroots and come from the people: numbers and activism and pressure on congress. 2). Don't give up. We live in the time of instant gratification but most fights worth fighting have taken our forebears decades or generations to accomplish.....(that is to peacefully accomplish by law rather than by force or war). 3). Do the things you CAN DO.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
- As always educate yourself. Read the attached links to get you started.
- Go to Move to Amend and consider joining and or starting a chapter in Your State: Meet the 'Move to Amend' National Leadership Team: https://youtu.be/UgbEsYjs8fY via@YouTube
- Make phone calls to every member of congress in your state, Senators and Congressional Representatives, and ask them to get behind 'Move to Amend, and HJ Resolution 48. (Note: Jamie Raskin and Elijah Cummings are co- sponsors along with 38 others to date.) Use the easy to find directory below:
House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
*To further understand this historically, go back to 1976, to the rise of Powerful Unions, the changes in the use of media as weaponized propaganda, and fear of a leftist agenda. See the references below under Additional Resources.
January 24, 2017: Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United
From Public Citizen: Democracy is for People, A Public Citizen Project
April 2016: The Atlantic: How to Reverse Citizens United
January, 2016. We Can Do This: Seven Steps to Reversing Citizens United
From July 17, 2012: How Much Has Citizens United Changed the Political Game?
United for the People: http://united4thepeople.org/amendments/