Move to Amend: End Corporate Rule. Legalize Democracy.
On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
". . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."
~Supreme Court Justice Stevens, January 2010
Elections are not only about candidates and issues. They’re also, as always, about money. BIG money.
It’s estimated that total spending on the November midterm elections will top $9.3 billion, which will surpass the midterm record of $7.1 billion in 2018.
Political donations are made directly to candidate committees, organizations like political parties that donate to candidates, Political Action Committees (PACs), and Super PACS. They’re also made to “social welfare” organizations and trade associations, which by law don’t have to disclose individual or corporate/organizational donors. This “dark money” that shields donors is used to wage outside “independent” (i.e. not supposed to be coordinated with the candidates that they are supporting) campaigns – most of which are used to fund distorting “issue” attack ads. Dark money spending is soaring in elections. Though difficult to compute, it’s estimated that dark money groups “received $2 billion to $4 billion during the 2008 to 2018 election cycles.”
Last week, Senate Republicans blocked efforts to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which would have forced the disclosure of corporate and billionaire donors of dark money sources. Earlier this month, however, the Democratic National Committee panel refused to allow a vote on banning dark money in democratic primary campaigns – despite an onslaught on dark money that flooded into democratic primary campaigns targeting more progressive candidates.
This comes on the heels of the massive $1.6 billion donation by a secretive Chicago industrialist to a non-profit run by Leonard Leo, the architect of the right-wing takeover of the federal courts – some of which will be spent on elections.
Passing the DISCLOSE Act in Congress and a DNC ban on dark money in primary elections were missed opportunities. Both should happen next year.
The right to know the funding sources of political ads is a democratic necessity. But transparency by itself means little if mega wealthy individuals and corporate entities that don’t represent the interests of the vast majority of people are all the political voices we hear.
Yes, “dark” money is a big problem. But so is “light” money.
The never-ending increase in election spending – be it “dark” money or from sources we well know, is due to the decades-long constitutional ruling that political spending in elections by individuals and organizations is “free speech,” protected by the First Amendment. Abolishing “money is speech” is one part of HJR48, the We the People Amendment that with your help has secured, to date, 94 Congressional co-sponsors.
Yet, democracy is more than elections. It’s also about governing – the right to decide policies, plans and programs.
Abolishing “dark money” spending and even “money as speech” only impacts elections. Having more representative representatives by itself isn’t enough if they are limited or boxed in by constitutional limitations preventing them from improving people’s lives and communities.
Corporate rule would remain potent even without First Amendment “free speech” rights due to the corporate hijacking of Constitutional Amendments that were intended to apply exclusively to human beings.
Democratically enacted policies, plans and programs by representative representatives (or directly by individuals via ballot initiatives), for example, seeking to:
√ Label harmful ingredients on food packaging have been overturned in court as a violation of corporate First Amendment “right” not to speak
√ Ensure safe working conditions through regulatory inspections have been overturned in court as a violation of corporate Fourth Amendment search and seizure “rights.”
√ Favor local businesses over chain stores have been overturned in court as a violation of corporate Fourteenth Amendment equal protection “rights.”
√ Saving the climate by forcing fossil fuels to be kept in the ground and not burned could be overturned in court as a violation of corporate Fifth Amendment takings “rights.”
For these reasons, ALL corporate constitutional rights – not just First Amendment free speech – must end, as stipulated in the #WeThePeopleAmendment.
It’s not just dark money. It’s money as speech.
It’s not just elections. It’s governing – the right to decide – which is unattainable so long as corporations possess constitutional rights.
Shelly, George, Leila, Daniel, Saleem, Jessica, Joni, Milly, Keyan, Jason, Jennie, Tara, Alfonso & Greg
- Move to Amend National Team
Record Courier / Kent, Ohio / Sept 25, 2022
Democracy Day public hearing
Our election system is broken because of the destructive influences of money in politics and the misguided notion that corporations may claim constitutional rights. With these rights, they are able to spend tremendous amounts of dark money through organizations and PACs to support the candidates who will serve their needs. And their primary need is profit. While profits are essential in a capitalist system, the needs of “we the people” should be primary since we are also a democracy.
Move to Amend's Ecology Network has been invited to participate in the Scientists, Activists, and Families for Cancer-Free Environments (S.A.F.E.) EPA Protest to make the connection - corporate constitutional rights harm you, your family, your community, our environment, and democracy.
Move to Amend Co-Directors Jennie Spanos and Greg Coleridge will participate! Join us as we petition and march on September 20th!
Hope to see you there! Please send us an email to [email protected], if you are going to be in DC on the 20th so we can connect!
Much will be said, remembered and commemorated on this day, the 21st anniversary of the tragedies on September 11, 2001.
While there are many lessons from what happened prior to, during and following that day, there’s one take-a-way that should never be forgotten: the political and economic power elite never lets a tragedy, catastrophe or crisis go to waste to further attempt to increase their political and/or economic dominance.
In the case of September 11, a major success in this vein was the Patriot Act, passed soon afterwards to supposedly enhance “national security” to catch “terrorists,” specifically Middle Eastern Muslims inside the United States. While some of its provisions were intended to address problems that predated 9/11, most of the others allowed the government to more easily and effectively violate the privacy rights of innocent citizens and residents. These included tracking the activities of people on the Internet, compiling credit and bank records and expanding the monitoring of phone and email communications. September 11 was just a pretext by the government to enact unprecedented violations of civil rights and surveillance expansion that were labeled as “un-American” prior to 9/11.
The Move to Amend Coalition is a grassroots campaign to amend the Constitution to state that artificial entities such as corporations, unions, and non-profits do not have inherent rights under the Constitution, and that money is not political speech so campaign spending can be regulated. Move to Amend focuses on movement building and community organizing, emphasizing leadership from communities most impacted by corporate power such as people of color, low-income people, women, LGBTQIA+ people and youth.
Move to Amend is structured to empower grassroots community leaders through affiliate groups and advocates that organize locally for the passage of the We the People Amendment. The coalition’s “We the People Amendment” was introduced in Congress in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. Representative Pramila Jayapal introduced the We the People Amendment into the 117th Congress as HJR48.
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