Senate Joint Resolution 19 is a proposed Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United, but it doesn’t address corporate constitutional rights at all.
Move to Amend has vowed that we will not support any halfway measures that don’t amend the Constitution in two necessary ways:
Make clear that only human beings, not corporations have Constitutional rights;
Make clear that money is not speech and campaign spending can be regulated.
Tens of thousands of volunteers across the nation have been building a grassroots movement over the past four years from the bottom up. This movement came from everyday people taking this issue to their city governments, to town meeting debates, to candidate forums, to newspaper opinion pages, and to the ballot box directly. Nearly 600 cities and towns have now passed amendment resolutions.
Polling shows 80% of the American public believes that corporations should not have the same rights as people. State legislatures have been pressured to stand up as well, with 16 states passing resolutions calling for an amendment. “Ending Corporate Personhood” was a major theme in the demands that came from Occupy encampments across the country.
The plan is that this amendment will get a vote in the Senate this year – before election season. We cannot allow a proposal that doesn’t address corporate constitutional rights to get traction – the amendment must match the demand of our movement: “A Corporation is Not a Person! Money is Not Free Speech!”
Fill out this form to send a message to the authors of SJR19 – let them know that Corporate Personhood MUST be included in the language of the amendment.
“While voting in the Irish marriage equality referendum yesterday it occured to me how much the United States could learn from Ireland about democracy.
First was the fact that this was a refrendum on changing our constitution, making that document a living, adaptable thing capable of change, growth and development. Contrast that with the rigidity of the US constitution, ever-fixed, unchanging and worshipped on it’s historical pedestal and incapable of progression within the current US politcal climate.
That political climate is also a major difference between Irish and US democracy. Ireland’s campaining and campaign-finance laws made this a fair competition, with both sides having fair access to the media and with special interests minimised. Perhaps as a result (and with a few, minor, exceptions), Ireland’s marriage referendum was conducted in an air of civility, respect and even humour, not just in the media, but in Facebook conversations and Twitter feeds. America can learn from this.
Finally, I was impressed by how easy and fair it is to vote in Ireland. Registration is easy and heavily promoted without regard to party, and even if you’re not registered you can just swear an oath that you’re elegible. There are almost no lineups at polling stations (media reported that SOME stations had lineups to the door at peak times). Everybody has access to the counts where votes are counted.
The ‘greatest country in the world’ could learn from this example.” GC
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sanctioned giving federal lands belonging to indigenous Americans to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the British Australian multinational, Rio Tinto.
The United States Congress is about to give 2,400 acres of national forest in Arizona that is considered ancestral land by Apache Native Americans to a mining company.
The House and Senate Armed Services Committees quietly amended a provision to a national defense act that would sanction the handover of a large section of the Tonto National Forest to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the British-Australian multinational mining company Rio Tinto Group.
Despite a last minute attempt to remove the land provision from the measure, the amendment moved through the U.S. House Rules Committee on Wednesday night.
The amendment is part of a measure attached to annual legislation governing allocations of funds to the U.S. Defense Department, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This determines how funds are allocated to the US Defense Department.
The “Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015” – named after the soon-to-retires chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services panels – includes the mandate to give away Apache burial, medicinal, and ritual grounds currently within the perimeters of the national forest to the mining company.
Section 3003 of the NDAA reads, “Subject to the provisions of this section, if Resolution Copper offers to convey to the United States all right, title, and interest of Resolution Copper in and to the non-Federal land, the Secretary is authorized and directed to convey to Resolution Copper, all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to the Federal land.”
However, the proposal brushes over the fact that the land to be conceded to the mining company includes cherished territory Apaches have used for centuries to gather medicinal plants and acorns. It is close to a location known as Apache Leap, a summit that tribal members jumped from in the late 19th century to save themselves from marauding settlers trying to kill them.
Terry Rambler, chair of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, told the The Huffington Post that while heartbroken, he was not all that surprised by the news.
“Of all people, Apaches and Indians should understand, because we’ve gone through this so many times in our history,” he said. “The first thing I thought about was not really today, but 50 years from now, probably after my time, if this land exchange bill goes through, the effects that my children and children’s children will be dealing with.”
The 2015 NDAA provides for other land grabs, including one that would allow logging on 70,000 acres of Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and another that would hand over 1,600 acres of one of the most polluted nuclear sites in the country, located in Washington State, to industrial development, a plan that has likewise sparked protest within the Yakama Nation. In October, Tribal Chairman JoDe Goudy wrote to the Committee on Armed Services urging them to stop the amendment.
In another controversial aspect of the amendment, the new NDAA also includes provisions related to allowing domestic “indefinite detention.” In other words, it “paves the way for Guantanamo-style indefinite detention being brought to the United States itself,” the American Civil Liberties Union concluded in its Blog of Rights.
A new coalition called Move To Amend is working to abolish corporate personhood in the US; they’re working at the local and state level to pass laws to undo the work of Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that equated money with speech.
Movement to Abolish Corporate Personhood Gaining Traction
In the year and a half since the Citizens United decision, Americans from all walks of life have become concerned about corporate dominance of our government and our society as a whole. In Citizens United v. FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court (in an act of outrageous “judicial activism") gutted existing campaign finance laws by ruling that corporations, wealthy individuals, and other entities can spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns.
Throughout the country people have responded by organizing against “corporate personhood,” a court-created precedent that illegitimately gives corporations rights that were intended for human beings.
The movement is flowering not in the halls of Congress, but at the local level, where all real social movements start. Every day Americans experience the devastation caused by unaccountable corporations. Thanks to the hard work of local organizers, Boulder, CO could become the next community to officially join this growing effort. Councilmember Macon Cowles is proposing to place a measure on the November ballot, giving Boulder voters the opportunity to support an amendment to the U. S. Constitution abolishing corporate personhood and declaring that money is not speech.
At the forefront of this movement is Move to Amend, a national coalition of hundreds of organizations and over 113,000 individuals (and counting). Move to Amend is committed to building a grassroots movement to abolish corporate personhood, to hold corporations accountable to the public, and ultimately to fulfill the promise of an American democratic republic.
Boulder is not alone in this fight, nor is it the first community to consider such a resolution. In April, voters in Madison and Dane County, WI overwhelmingly approved measures calling for an end to corporate personhood and the legal status of money as speech by 84% and 78% respectively. Similar resolutions have been passed in nearly thirty other cities and counties. Resolutions have also been introduced in the state legislatures of both Vermont and Washington.
Despite the momentum, Move to Amend organizers know this won’t be an easy fight. Corporate America controls traditional media, and has invested heavily in politicians, lobbyists, and extremist groups to oppose our efforts. We can’t expect Congress to act, nor can we depend on the courts to solve a problem of their own making. We draw our strategy and inspiration from the great social movements of history.
The abolition of slavery, the struggle for women’s suffrage, trade unions, and the civil rights movement all started with grassroots organizing. The ruling elites denounced these movements as un-American, and they will make the same accusation against this effort. Others claimed that those movements went “too far,” and were unrealistic. Thankfully, folks before us did not quit or give up. They gained traction with solid strategy, unwavering commitment, and moral authority.
Move To Amend proudly identifies with this tradition of engaged citizen participation. Building momentum with local organizing and resolutions is our best chance of driving a constitutional amendment into Congress. Recent events in Boulder provide an example of this strategy in practice. Months of education, organizing, and advocacy by Boulder Move to Amend empowered Councilman Cowles to provide political leadership and prepared the community to respond.
Awareness of corporate personhood in Boulder is now higher than ever before. It is widely viewed as a mainstream issue, having earned the support of local Democratic Party leaders. Answering critics of the measure, Boulder County Democratic Party Chairperson Dan Gould recently told the Daily Camera that corporate personhood is an issue that must be addressed locally. “This is as important as municipalization, this is as important as school bonds,” he said. “This is immediate."
Move to Amend is gaining momentum rapidly in communities throughout the country precisely because the problems of corporate power are most evident locally. Developers seeking special favors pour money into elections. Big polluters avoid investigations and litigation by hiding behind their illegitimate “rights.” Bad employers lie to the public about unfair labor practices with no legal consequences. People see it every day. They get it and they’re ready to fight back. Move to Amend is here to help them do that with a strategy for long-term success.
Wolf PAC, we need your help now making phone calls and sending email!
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (April 26, 2012) – On the heels of successfully passing a resolution calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United decision, three California Assemblymen are championing a resolution that goes one step further.
Assemblyman Michael Allen (D-Sonoma County), Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), and Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) have filed Assembly Joint Resolution 32. If passed, this resolution – the first of its kind – will start the process of the States calling for a constitutional convention, which would be limited to amending the Constitution to limit corporate personhood and declare that money does not constitute speech and can be democratically limited.
Citizens United vs FEC (Federal Election Commission) - establishing CORPORATE PERSONHOOD
5 members of the Supreme Court chose to allow corporations to spend as much as they would like on getting politicians elected. This ruling on January 21, 2010 opened “Corporate Personhood” by stating that it was a violation of the freedom of speech for corporations to be required to report campaign spending to the Federal Election Commission.
There are HUGE problems when corporations are given the same rights as people, the FEC has been keeping track of campaign contributions. Corporations now have free reign to ensure the politicians that will give them bailouts get elected by contribution massive amounts of money into their campaign funds.
If 85% of US citizens feel corporations have too much power, how is it that they were given even MORE? We have a Supreme Court that needs to be reviewed through the checks and balances of our 3 tier government. But Congress gets elected through the funds they get for campaigning - they aren’t going to kill the golden goose! How about the Executive branch?
IF CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE THERE ARE SOME THAT SHOULD BE SERVING TIME IN FEDERAL PRISON. Atrocities committed by this personhood have defrauded the general public, and this is one reason why OCCUPY WALL STREET is demanding justice be served for criminal activities that are evident.
So how do you jail a corporate person? Did the Supreme Court Justices that supprted understand 1st Ammendment Rights are for PEOPLE, not corporations. They obviously didn’t think it through… how about the other 9 in the Bill of Rights? Are they going to be drafted during times of war? Money is driving the choices of the world beyond the concerns of people. Money is NOT greater than People! Money is a tool used by people and has been misconstrued greatly. The skill of the person wielding the tool enables great things to be done - so if you misuse the tool you don’t get to stand behind it and point saying “IT DID THE MISTAKE”. People control tools and know when they are working or not. Each Supreme Court Justice is at cause for this rather than the collected entity of the Supreme Court. You don’t get to step away from your choice and declare yourself absolved from your work.