Jurich: Be (a part) of a wholeWritten by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As voters and American citizens, we are constituents. We are the people that are the essential agents in constituting a whole. Together we form many entities, including the Constitution of the United States. “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Friday, January 20 is the two year anniversary of the ruling of the Supreme Court case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), a decision in which the Supreme Court prohibited any limits on political campaign spending by corporations or unions, naming it a ‘freedom of speech’ and thus extending our First Amendment to recognize corporations as people. In 2010, the year Citizens United ruling was passed, the kind of “independent groups” that corporations are now allowed to support spent $300 million; that’s more combined spending than every mid-term election since 1990 (The Story of Citizens United v. F.E.C., 2011). That amount of advertising can easily drown out the voices and influence of the people’s freedom of speech.
To mark the two year anniversary, MovetoAmend.org has rallied over 100,000 people to organize actions at federal court houses across the country, including the Supreme Court, to protect our democratic republic and call for a Constitutional Amendment. “MovetoAmend.org is a coalition supported by hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals dedicated to ending the illegitimate legal doctrines that prevent the American people from governing ourselves.” Occupy Toledo has organized a march and rally for all of us in Toledo as part of MovetoAmend.org’s strategy “to work on the local level before moving on to the state or federal level to build a grassroots movement organized and powerful enough to force Congress to act.” In addition to this week’s protests, MovetoAmend.org’s main tool to abolish corporate personhood is helping cities pass resolutions and/or place measures on the ballot for voter approval. “Local resolution campaigns are an opportunity for citizens to speak up and let it be known that we won’t accept the corporate takeover of our government,” said David Cobb, a spokesperson for Move to Amend.
Eighty-five percent of Americans, regardless of political (or non) affiliation, feel that corporations have too much power in our democracy and people have too little (The Story of Citizens United v. F.E.C., 2011). It is because of this power and monetary influence that our law makers are writing laws to favor corporations, which leaves our values in the dust. Workers’ rights, clean air and water, safe and healthy products and food, quality jobs…not too much to ask for, really. It has become more obvious with the Occupy Movement that many of us are dissatisfied with our government, its laws (or lack thereof), oversight, economic and housing policies, etc. I would imagine most all Toledoans could name at least one reason why she or he would want to keep our democracy as one that is run by “We the People” and keep our Constitution under our control. It is a slippery slope into a pile of corporate control and who knows what else if we let this slide. [Oh yeah, I know what else…corporate support of Congress bills HR3261 (SOPA) and S968 (PIPA) to grant the ability to take down any web site that affects corporate profits -- without due process or judicial oversight -- in the name of combating “online piracy” (http://www.craigslist.org/about/SOPA).]
Last November, cities including Madison, WI, Missoula, MT, and Boulder, CO approved ballot measures supporting a Constituional amendment. Recently, New York City and Los Angeles City Councils passed resolutions “calling for a Constitutional amendment to establish that only living persons — not corporations — are endowed with constitutional rights and to overturn the Supreme Court created doctrine that campaign spending is equivalent to free speech” (MovetoAmend.org). Occupy Toledo placed a positive light on Toledo in the national and international news with its impactful and bold ‘mic check’ at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting in Monroe, MI in December. This action set precedent for a ‘mic check’ by Occupy Wall Street at an NRC public meeting in New York regarding possible closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Toledo could make positive progressive news again with a passing of a similar resolution.
Occupy Toledo is inviting everyone to meet at Third Space (137 N. Michigan) at 2:30 P.M. Friday, January 20 to march to the Federal Courthouse (1716 Spielbush) for a rally.