Each decade or so, the humans who live in the United States amend The Constitution. The last time that happened was in 1992 (link to 27th Amendment). It needs to happen again because, in 2010, the US Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC exacerbated the “corporate personhood” problem introduced in the 1880s and then revived in the 1970s. The result? Now, it is no longer possible for average citizens to express their free speech as much as a corporation can–and only a new Constitutional Amendment will fix that.
Why? Because Citizens United was the nail in the coffin for the “people” of “We the people…”
Only the new 28th Amendment will fix this problem, as explained by John Bonifaz on Alternative Radio back in December 2011 (link to sample audio clip and to purchase transcript). Thankfully, I just caught the re-broadcast twice… This post is a summary of the broadcast. I highly recommend that every human follow the link above and pay the $4 for the transcript.
A few basics: You ask, “Ada, I’ve heard it over and over these days, but I don’t actually know what Citizens United is. Can you tell me?” Thanks to Bonifaz, now I can…
Basically, John says it like this: In the Citizens United ruling, the US Supreme Court was faced with determining whether or not the group named Citizens United broke the 2002 Bipartisan McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act when they expressed their opinions about Hillary Clinton in a “documentary” that was then broken into 30-second clips and aired in commercial format during election time in 2008.
Five of the justices said that a corporation has free speech and is allowed to interject their money into an election cycle in this way. The court treats corporations like persons– to the extent that persons are no longer treated as persons because they are not corporations. What do I mean by that?
It’s something that’s been brewing for a long time. For example, in the 90s in Vermont, Monsanto and the International Dairy Association fought against the people of the state of Vermont over milk labeling. The state wanted industrial milk producers to comply with labeling their milk as either “with bovine growth hormone” or without. The corporations said that requiring them to label their own product is a violation of the corporations’ free speech. There you have it.
So, in Vermont, humans do not have a right to know what they are buying when they are buying “milk” because a corporation’s free speech is violated by forcing them to label the “milk” as either with or without growth hormone. Bonifaz described this situation in more detail during his interview on Alternative Radio.
Back to Citizens United: You’re hearing about it these days because the current 2012 election is unfurling before our very eyes the reason for why corporations should not be treated as better than humans when it comes to the ability to exercise their free speech.
Humans can only contribute a certain amount to an election. SuperPACs? They can spend any amount they want… In short, your election has been decided for you because there is no way any candidate can enter the race without serious corporate backing.
To overturn the “corporations are people” notion that the US Supreme Court interjected into American reality with Citizens United, the citizens of the US will need to amend the US Constitution. That’s the only way to undo a ruling by the US Supreme Court, as far as I can figure out.
I should point out that Bonifaz informs us that the notion of “corporate personhood” is a clearly invented reality, with Justice Powell as the lead modern architect. He began formally constructing corporate personhood and its defense at the highest levels of the US court system in 1971 when he worked for the US Chamber of Commerce. True story!
Now, we all know that there is a lot wrong with our world today. I doubt any human is going to argue with me on that… there are activists for every cause under the sun, and even anti-activists against the activists. Honestly, no matter what “cause” you feel called to or driven to, it will be impossible for you to succeed if corporations are not explicitly defined as non-persons in a new Constitutional Amendment.
Corporations are chartered legal entities, but that is not how they are treated. Almost every human I know thinks of a corporation as having a “right” to operate, and this is just not true! Corporations have been given a privilege, and that privilege can be rescinded. It never is, mind you. For some reason, humans are afraid to revoke corporate charters.
Either that, or humans have been complacently fed by corporations with false corporate generosity to the point that they do not even know they are being oppressed. Could that be? If so, then it’s time to wake up and realize your life is going to get a lot worse if you ignore the fact that it is time to amend The Constitution.
There is a tremendous amount of public support for the idea of the amendment to make clear that corporations are not persons. The chart below is based on a poll by Hart Research Associates, which is a leading polling contractor for NBC News and for The Wall Street Journal.
Here’s the big point of today’s post: Bonifaz notes that it was not men who inspired the amendment to The Constitution to allow for women to vote. Similarly, it required black men and women to stand up for the rights of black men and women to both be considered fully human legally and to be allowed to vote. So, do not think that a politician willingly is going to amend The Constitution in a way that will limit their funding supply. (Remember, it’s “corporate personhood,” complete with the free speech that persons had, that allows corporations to fund-politicians-at-will.)
Polititicians are driven individuals. Many have been bought and paid for (and thanks to Citizens United and the outcome of superPACs, you don’t even know which corporation pays for which candidate these days). Therefore, very few politicians will amend anything unless you make demands of them with your vote and your voice. Hurry, before those rights are taken away, too.
It’s up to you. Here are a few links to help you learn more and get started:
P.S. It is an election year. Why aren’t humans battling this out on the campaign trail?
Note: The Constitution states that there are two ways to amend it. The first is through convention, which requires 2/3 of states’ legislatures to call for it. The second is through each house of Congress, in which the amendment would have to pass with a 2/3 majority and also be ratified by 3/4 of the states. The first way has never been used. But it might have to be this time. That’s the only way to get around Congress actually voting on limiting their own corporate funding supplies.