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Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.
Dec
2011
7

L.A. Could Become First Major U.S. City to Formally Denounce Citizens United

Possibly the biggest problem in reforming American politics is the fact that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. FEC decision gave corporations legal “personhood” and made their money as good as “speech.” Since this decision, the amount of money corporations have used to buy politicians has skyrocketed. Corporations are not simply at the table, they are now effectively at the head of the table when it comes to crafting policy.

As we have chronicled in recent weeks, a grassroots movement in cities such as Madison, Boulder, and Missoula has called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the decisions made in favor of corporate personhood because people are people, corporations are corporations, and we should never confuse the two if we are to have a healthy socio-political environment.

Now, the City of Los Angeles is looking to become the first major U.S. city to hold hearings on corporate personhood with hopes of passing a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to Citizens United:

Next week the Los Angeles City Council will vote on a resolution that calls on Congress to amend the Constitution to clearly establish that only living persons — not corporations — are endowed with constitutional rights and that money is not the same as free speech. If this resolution is passed, Los Angeles will be the first major city in the U.S. to call for an end to all corporate constitutional rights.

The campaign in Los Angeles is the latest grassroots effort by Move to Amend, a national coalition working to abolish corporate personhood. “Local resolution campaigns are an opportunity for citizens to speak up and let it be known that we won’t accept the corporate takeover of our government lying down,” said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, a national spokesperson for Move to Amend. “We urge communities across the country to join the Move to Amend campaign and raise your voices.”

Earlier this year voters in Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin overwhelmingly approved ballot measures calling for an end to corporate personhood and the legal status of money as speech by 84% and 78% respectively. In November voters in Boulder, Colorado and Missoula, Montana both passed similar initiatives with 75% support.

This national movement has been led by grassroots organizers Move To Amend who, besides spreading the good word about this bad deal, have also been planning “Occupy the Courts” — a nationwide protest to be held on January 20th, 2012, the second anniversary of the Citizens United vs. FEC decision.

According to AmericaBlog, these are the major complaints pertaining to corporate personhood.

The world of the Top 0.01% is organized by very simple principles. This is how the Barons of the 21st Century get their power:

■ Corporations suck most of the created wealthy out of the world. (And lest you forget, labor creates wealth, not capital.)

■ The mega-rich suck most of the wealth out of corporations. Corporations are just their engines, the organs through which they operate. It’s like Ripley and that giant humanoid lift-loader at the end of the second Aliens movie — the corps are a power-multiplier for the mega-rich, but they have no separate mind.

■ The mega-rich use their wealth to buy the world. They don’t work for a living; they feed. The politicians (the Clintons, the Bushes, the Cheneys, the … guess who) do work for a living. They, like Gov. Scott Walker, report to the Kochs of the world, and serve them.

This sounds way too simple, I get that; but how is it wrong? Caesar used his army and his allies to control and loot northern Europe. You disagreed, he killed you. That was simple too. At the level of the real Masters, it’s not a complicated world.

The power of the mega-rich to loot corporations would end immediately with a return to Nixon-era top marginal taxes. It’s not worth stealing (sorry, getting your hand-picked Compensation Committee to approve) an extra $2 million per year if you have to pay 75% of it (or a job-killing Eisenhower-era 92%) to the government. At those tax levels, it makes more sense just to grow the company.

The power of corporations to loot the world via power-enhancers like “money equals speech” would end immediately if “corporate personhood” were repealed. (I’ll have more on how corporate personhood happened tomorrow.)

The 1% vs. 99% messaging that has crossed over into mainstream discourse undoubtedly helps the movement to amend Citizens United. While the Occupy Wall Street movement has been a sprawling, shape-shifting beast, there has been a ubiquitous chord struck among occupiers who agree that corporate over-involvement in politics leads to the deprivation of the American system. Move to Amend is likely to see gains from this rolling tide of malcontent.

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