Saturday, January 23, 2010

We need a constitutional amendment

Declaring corporations are NOT people.

Go to Free Speech is for People and take back control of our elections and our country.

The amendment as it stands (and the site is welcoming ideas):
What will the Free Speech for People Amendment say and what will it do?

* Solution Q&A

The Free Speech for People Amendment will overrule the Citizens United v. FEC case and return the First Amendment to its longstanding purpose as a guarantee of the fullest rights of a free people and the press. The Free Speech for People Amendment will overrule the fabrication by activist judges of a “corporate rights doctrine” to defeat democratically enacted laws, and will restore the First Amendment to its meaning and intent for two centuries. The Amendment will ensure that all people have the most robust freedom of conscience, speech and debate and that a vibrant, diverse press remains free and unfettered, thus strengthening, rather than weakening, democracy.

The Free Speech for People Amendment Campaign will work with others to develop specific language for the Free Speech for People Amendment. Here is one example of language for the Free Speech for People Amendment:

Amendment XXVIII

Section 1 The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, no corporation, limited liability entity, or other corporate entity created by state or federal law or the law of another nation shall enjoy the rights of free speech and expression protected for the people by the First Amendment.

Section 2 Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity in public election activity.

Section 3. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

h/t to Dusty Crickets in comments and Southern Beale.

Update: Greg Palast gives examples of what the Supreme Court has allowed to happen:
In today's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court ruled that corporations should be treated the same as "natural persons", i.e. humans. Well, in that case, expect the Supreme Court to next rule that Wal-Mart can run for President.

The ruling, which junks federal laws that now bar corporations from stuffing campaign coffers, will not, as progressives fear, cause an avalanche of corporate cash into politics. Sadly, that's already happened: we have been snowed under by tens of millions of dollars given through corporate PACs and "bundling" of individual contributions from corporate pay-rollers.

The Court's decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.


Mustang Bobby said...

Isn't it ironic that the conservatives are willing to grant rights to entities that are not entitled to them such as corporations -- or a clump of cells attached to a woman's uterus -- but deny them to gays and lesbians. Funny how that works.

Steve Bates said...

I agree wholeheartedly with what Bobby says. There's bigots on them benches...

Bryan suggests, and though IANAL, it sounds reasonable to me, that we would have better luck leaving the Constitution alone and using legislation to insert into all corporate charters a statement that nothing in the the charter shall be construed to confer any general aspect of personhood on the entity created by the charter. Personally, I think it would also be good to insert a limited lifespan as the price of the corporation's limited liability... our nation's founders certainly limited charters on the rare occasions they created things similar to corporations.

ellroon said...

Mustang Bobby, remember the conservative focus in government is to benefit boardrooms not bedrooms. It's in their DNA.

Really good idea, Steve. Can we also have a termination trigger for corporate inhumanity, callousness, and greed? ... although that would probably take out too many businesses...