Press Release by Occupy Nevada County:
Saturday, January 21, is the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission, which overturned decades of campaign finance law and allows unlimited corporate funds to flood our election system. On Saturday, a coalition of local groups is hosting a Festival and Teach-In in Nevada City as part of a National Day of Action, in coordination with other events that will take place nationwide. The purpose of these events is to raise awareness and educate people about how corporations dominate the political process and to build momentum for a Constitutional Amendment to abolish “corporate personhood” and overturn the controversial Citizens United ruling.
A poll taken by ABC News/Washington Post revealed that eighty percent of Americans opposed the ruling. Seventy-two percent stated that they would support efforts by Congress to reinstate the restrictions that were stripped away by the decision. California Lawmakers in California have now introduced a resolution calling on Congress to “propose and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.” Similar resolutions have been passed in many city councils, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Albany, Boulder, and New York.
The Festival will begin at 10:30 am, with people of all ages gathering at the Nevada City United Methodist Church for face painting, shadow puppets, music, games, arts and crafts, stories, food, displays, and informal discussion. At 11:30 there will be a colorful parade down Broad Street to Robinson Plaza, where there will be a rally with street theater, speakers, music, song, and dance.
After returning to the church for a finger foods lunch, childcare will be provided during a two-hour Teach-In, in which local speakers will explain the Citizens United decision and its implications, the concept of corporate personhood, and the movement to amend the constitution to abolish corporate personhood and overturn Citizens United. Sharon Delgado will present an interactive workshop on these issues. Jedediah Biagi, Mia Nash, and Lorraine Reich will present a Corporate Personhood Timeline explaining how corporations were gradually given constitutional rights and protections originally designed for human beings. Tom Grundy will present an overview of local and state resolutions that support a constitutional amendment. Discussion will focus on action opportunities, including organizing to pass local resolutions.
Occupy Nevada County initiated the organizing for this event. They were contacted by the national Move to Amend coalition, then formed a Working Group to focus on this issue and called together local groups to form a coalition that includes the Nevada City United Methodist Church and Society Committee, Grass Valley Friends Social Action Committee, Nevada County Democrats, Grandmothers for Peace of Nevada County, Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Mountains, the Peace Center of Nevada County, and Earth Justice Ministries. National groups working on this issue include Public Citizen, People for the American Way, and Move to Amend. More information about this event and Occupy Nevada County can be found if you sign up at http://www.occupywallstreetnc.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Occupy Nevada County Website: http://www.occupywallstreetnc.org/
Contact Occupy Nevada County at: email@example.com
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The Movement to Amend the Constitution to Abolish Corporate Personhood
By Sharon Delgado
Through a gradual process, corporations have been growing in power. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs. the FEC created a whole new level of imbalance, because it gave corporations the right to spend unlimited funds out of their treasuries on campaigns to elect candidates of their choice. This money allows corporations to create a megaphone so big that their message drowns out the voices of the people. This decision has been describes as meaning that “money equals speech.”
Several ideas have been put forth as ways to correct this power imbalance and restore democracy to the people. One approach is to pass a constitutional amendment stating clearly that corporations are not persons, and that civil rights are for the protection of actual human beings.
Although it would not be easy, a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood would not just level the playing field, it would change the playing field altogether. It would prevent corporations from drowning out the voices of the people.
To find out more, go to:
Move to Amend, the movement for a constitutional amendment:
Public Citizen’s Democracy is for People
People for the American Way, including background on the Supreme Court Ruling: Citizens United vs. the FEC
Resolutions–California and others
U.S. Poll on Citizens United
People for the American Way