A Movement Coopted - Going beyond a “Citizens United Amendment”

It's happening again...

You may have received a recent mailing from a national group calling for reversing the 2010 Citizens United vs FEC Supreme Court decision. Enclosed was this U.S. map showing by state the number of communities that have passed resolutions, in this case, supporting a “Citizens United Amendment.” 

The number of resolutions totals more than 800.

The map is extremely misleading. It gives the impression that the resolutions primarily address Citizens United


The reality is that the vast majority of the passed resolutions by municipal governments and citizens at the ballot box affirm that the rights protected under the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only or end corporate constitutional rights or corporate personhood and some variation that money spent in elections is not First Amendment-protected free speech. Most don’t directly mention Citizens United. 

Go HERE to see for yourself. Wisconsin and Massachusetts are good states to review. 

To be clear, honest and accurate: Move to Amend volunteers from coast to coast are responsible for 700 of these municipal resolutions and ballot measures. These organizers and advocates educated residents, lobbied municipal officials, collected initiative campaign signatures and organized ballot campaigns for a 28th Constitutional Amendment that went way beyond merely reversing Citizens United. And still do.

Why? Our volunteer leaders aren’t under a delusion that simply reversing Citizens United will return the nation to a “democratic nirvana” that existed prior to 2010 when our elected officials genuinely and regularly responded to the voices of their constituents. Money had corrupted the political system decades earlier and corporations hijacked Constitutional Amendments as far back as the 19th century.

Characterizing these resolutions as “Citizens United only” disrespects the knowledge and efforts of legions of volunteers who understand that constitutional change must include, but must also transcend, overturning Citizens United

It’s true that Citizens United increased awareness about and energy against big money spent in elections from individuals and corporations, but it more so energized and mobilized people at the grassroots to act for more fundamental change. We’re seeing similar grassroots energy in response to several recent Supreme Court decisions undoing Roe v. Wade, environmental regulations, gun control, and other concerns – to not simply reverse these individual decisions, but to support structural changes to the institution of the Supreme Court.

The effort to abolish “money equals free speech” and ALL corporate constitutional rights will not be co opted -- intentionally or not -- by those who seek to minimize, compartmentalize and advertise that the monumental grassroots energy from people (like you!) who’ve worked so hard for more than a dozen years is primarily about Citizens United

Move to Amend has always envisioned a future free from corporate rule and big money in elections, reflected in our We the People Amendment (HJR48), but also free from oppression in all its forms and inclusive of all in making decisions affecting their/our lives, communities and natural world.

We are proud of our work, don’t take credit for what others have done and continue to focus and evolve on what we feel is necessary to do, whether or not it’s perceived in the mainstream as “realistic,” “reasonable” or “doable.” 

If ever there was a time in the midst of multiple daunting crises, it’s now to act with integrity and boldness – to envision an entirely different future that is radically democratic, just, and peaceful. We believe, as novelist Margaret Drabble says, “When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

Everything IS possible, but only so if we act by promoting solutions proportionate in scale to the problems we collectively face – but also if we act with integrity.