Originally published December 18 2011
Efforts to reverse 'corporate personhood' gain momentum as groups seek to curb campaign contributions
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Free speech is one thing. The right to contribute to a political campaign is another. But labeling the contribution of hundreds of millions of dollars in donations by corporations to political campaigns the same kind of free speech the Constitution guarantees you and I is not the same thing, groups, cities and organizations are increasingly asserting.
The latest effort to reverse this sort of Corporate Personhood comes from Los Angeles, where city council members voted unanimously on a resolution that calls for a constitutional amendment asserting that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights, and that corporate donations do not amount to practicing freedom of speech.
The effort was supported by a group called Move to Amend, a national coalition whose aim is to see the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision overturned, which said that corporations and unions could spend as much as they wanted to influence elections, as long as said actions are not coordinated with a candidate's campaign.
"Move to Amend's proposed amendment would provide the basis for overturning the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission," said Mary Beth Fielder, Co-Coordinator of LA Move to Amend. "The Supreme Court has no legitimate right to grant people's rights to corporations. We must clearly establish that it is we, The People, who are meant to rule."
While the effort is being described by L.A. city council officials as "largely symbolic," it's meant to send a message: too much big money influence in elections means too little influence for ordinary Americans. And it's that "big special interest money," according to City Council President Eric Garcetti, that is causing so much gridlock in the nation's capital.
The movement's L.A. organizers hope it spreads. "Our plan is build a movement that will drive this issue into Congress from the grassroots," Fielder said. "The American people are behind us on this and these campaigns help our federal representatives see that we mean business. Our very democracy is at stake."
She said she would like to see "50 towns and cities" put the organization's amendment on ballots in time for the presidential election in November 2012.
On the national level, Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Michael Bennett of Colorado are co-sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would hand Congress and state legislatures the authority to set the rules for elections, thereby overturning the Citizens United ruling.
In a nation that cherishes its liberties and freedoms, it's mindboggling to think they may only have been kept intact so far because there hasn't been enough money spent yet to extinguish them.
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