A Massachusetts coalition of Common Cause, Move to Amend, Progressive Democrats of America and others are celebrating an overwhelming victory for Measure 4. On the ballot in 30 state representative and 6 state senate districts, including Senator Dan Wolf's, this non- binding resolution calls on our legislators "to propose an amendment to the US Constitution stating that 1) corporations are not entitled to the constitutional rights of human beings and 2) both Congress and the states may place limits on political contributions and spending." It passed on Cape Cod by an average of 78% and 79% statewide. Despite widespread organizing and press work, countless citizens met Measure 4 for the first time in the voting booth and voted YES.
Prior to the recent election, 70 Massachusetts communities joined people around the country in passing local resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to negate the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v the Federal Elections Commission that has flooded our elections with money from corporations and the super wealthy. Citizens United joins a history of Court decisions granting to corporations rights that belong to"we the people."
The very idea of corporate "rights" would have shocked the founders of our country and should shock us. The Constitution delegated certain powers to the federal government, which in turn conferred on states the power to charter corporations to perform specific activities for "the public good." Corporate charters were privileges, not rights, and were often revoked when violated. The current groundswell around the country signals that it's time for the sovereign people to find our 21st century means to exercise authority over the legal fiction called the corporation and the decisions that affect our lives and communities.
Like yeast in bread, the people are rising.