By Beth Eriksen Shoup, Contributor
Today marks the ninth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling, striking down limits on independent corporate spending in elections.
It also marks the anniversary of the founding of Move to Amend, a group that sprang up to fight corporate personhood after the Citizens United decision.
Concentrated economic power and wealth has historically been seen as a foundational threat to constitutional democracy. The threat to authentic democratic self-governance comes from the fact that corporations have been defined as legal persons and the corporate acquisition of constitutional rights intended solely for natural persons, have usurped the rights of We the People to govern ourselves.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day you can join Move to Amend, take a stand and demand real democracy for all.
Keyan Bliss, a grassroots volunteer coordinator with the National Move to Amend Coalition is in Tampa for a national barnstorming tour. Today, he will tabling at the Tampa MLK Parade with the Tampa Chapter of MTA. Tonight, Keyan will be the keynote speaker at a free special event, “Citizens United & Beyond: A Call for Political Justice”, from 6:30pm to 9pm at Bounce Boy, 5008 E 10th Ave, Tampa.
Bliss will be giving the talk “We the People vs. Corporate Rule: It’s Up to Us,” part history lesson and part call to action, He will tell the story of the American creation myth and the Constitution as it pertains to Corporate Personhood and illegitimate but legal corporate constitutional rights.
Sean Kinane of WMNF Community Radio recently interviewed Keyan as he explained the movement:
“Move to Amend is a national non-partisan coalition of over 500 organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social, political and economic justice, ending corporate rule and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to all people without distinction and not just corporate interests.
“To accomplish this vision, Move to Amend is seeking to amend the U.S. Constitution to unequivocally state that corporations – artificial entities created by state law – are not people with the same inalienable constitutional rights as human beings. And that money is not equal to free speech under the First Amendment, so that we can actually regulate it within our political campaigns and political processes.”
“Together our coalition drafted and supports the ‘We the People amendment,’ which was introduced into Congress in the last session as House Joint Resolution 48. This is the only proposed amendment that would address both of these court-created doctrines: corporate constitutional rights and money equals speech, which are the very foundations of corporate rule in the United States.
“Last year we were able to secure the support of some 66 House representatives from both sides of the aisle. And now we’re currently working to reintroduce the We the People amendment in the current Congress and in the U.S. Senate for the first time as well.”
Citizens United did not grant corporations personhood, they already had it. Despite the fact that the U.S. Constitution never mentions corporations, corporate personhood has been established by the courts since a headnote in the 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad forever shifted the meaning of the 14th Amendment.
The case is remembered less for the decision itself—the state had improperly assessed taxes to the railroad company—than for a headnote added to it by the court reporter at the time. It quoted Chief Justice Morrison Waite as saying: “The Court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution which forbids a state to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does.”
The corporate perversion of rights and the Constitution has resulted in the destruction of our communities, economy, politics and natural world in many ways for a very long time. Since the problem of corporate constitutional rights is multidimensional, the solution must be comprehensive. ALL corporate constitutional rights should be abolished.
If you want more information, or to join the nationwide movement to end corporate personhood and get big money out of politics, check out https://movetoamend.org/