A Call to Action: “We the People”…not “We the Corporations”

One $

When the Supreme Court ruled in January 2010 that Corporations had the same rights as people, many groups organized to fight back. One of those groups, Move To Amend, has been working at local levels to change state election laws (dealing with financing state campaigns, i.e. Governor, Assembly and Senate, and local elections) and and the federal level to amend the United States Constitution to “firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.” Sixteen States have passed resolutions to support this movement to amend the constitution. Twenty-two states, including New York, have resolutions waiting to be voted on.

Move To Amend is collecting signatures on petitions to show support for their cause. Their  goal is to have at least 500,000 signatures by the end of 2014. Currently they have over 340,000.

There is one Move To Amend affiliated group in the NY 23rd congressional district, which is in Ithaca.  There are also ones in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.

Besides Move To Amend, People Power Initiatives’s Stamp Stampede  is working creatively to amend the Constitution. Ben Cohen, Ben of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, is the President of the People Power Initiatives. They are also concerned with Money in Politics, and has developed a unique program that really translates into Money is Free Speech, almost literally. They have developed political phases that can be stamped directly on US Currency. (Move To Amend also has similar stamps.)

MOVE TO AMEND Stamps 

“A Corporation Is Not a Person”      “Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians”

“The System Isn’t Broken, It’s Fixed”      Price= $12 each or all three for $30

 STAMPSTAMPEDE Stamps

“Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians”     “Stamp Money Out of Politics”

“The System Isn’t Broken, It’s Fixed”           “Corporations are Not People”

“Not To Be Used for Buying Elections”         Prices vary from $7.50-$10.50

StampStampede is quick to point out that stamping these phrases on money is LEGAL—it is not defacing  the bill; the bills are still useable.

While both organizations are concerned with the Citizens United, and now the McCutcheon v FEC Supreme Court decisions, StampStampede focuses mainly on stamping the messages on dollar bills, and organizing sampling parties. MTA has a broader view of amending the constitution, and has videos, readings, webinars and other ways to organize their campaign. The sites compliments each other well.

THIS IS WHERE WE CAN STEP IN:

We can download petitions from Move To Amend which holds nine signatures, and get friends, family members, and other like thinking citizens to sign them. According to the coordinator of Ithaca’s Move To Amend, they will deliver petitions from our district to our congressman, Rep. Tom Reed’s office. If we fill out 150 petitions, that will be 450 signatures from the NY 23rd! If you down load petitions, please let Move To Amend/Ithaca or the New NY 23rd know (by emailing stewartr@roadrunner.com, or via Facebook)  We will let you know how to hand in the petitions.

We can buy Stamps and start stamping our own bills. We will be highlighting the problem by purchasing everyday items with our “adorned” stamped currency.

We can combine petition signing and stamping. We can set a card table up and ask people to sign the petition, and let them stamp their money for free. This can happen at events that might draw a lot of people (Art/Music Festivals, or Parades, for example).  We can set a up a table on public property (Some municipalities may have rules about not blocking walking traffic on the side walk, or obstructing the view of drivers.)  A friendly store owner who believes in the cause might be helpful in finding a location to set up in front of, or, inside their store.

The Move To Amend website has other ideas and a lot of  support material.

Surveys on this topic constantly show more than 67% being against these Supreme Court’s decisions (1), (2), (3), (4)  With that support a little activism can go a long way.

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About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
This entry was posted in 2014, Campaign Finance, Constituents, Constitution, Economics, Supreme Court and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Call to Action: “We the People”…not “We the Corporations”

  1. whungerford says:

    Legal or not, I am uncomfortable with the idea of defacing currency. While I have no objections to the proposed messages, stamping them on bills intrudes on the rights of others. I would greatly resent finding a bill with a political message offensive to me in my wallet.

    • Deb Meeker says:

      While I respect your opinion, I see it differently. Money is a symbol. The voices of those who have little of it, should be encouraged to be heard by whatever non-violent means available. Not all Americans get accurate or reliable news and have no idea how their representation is being purchased.

      If money is speech as the Supreme Court has decreed, let all Americans use it as they see fit. The conversation much reach beyond the kitchen table, and the choir.

      • pystew says:

        Money is property, the court should have ruled tat way according to former Justice John Paul Stevens.The 16th Amendment states that the money is property, so like any other kind of property, you can regulate it.

    • whungerford says:

      I don’t get it. The Court ruled 5-4 in Citizens United that political advertising is speech protected by the First Amendment for persons and corporations, corporations being persons before the law. The 16th Amendment made income taxes Constitutional. Neither Citizens United nor the 16th Amendment had anything to do with money, right? The question of whether political spending can be limited and the question of corporations having the rights of persons are separate issues, aren’t they?

      • Deb Meeker says:

        Evidently not to the majority of the presently sitting Supreme Court.

        “The Court having failed to bear witness to these debilitating changes since Buckley, the people have the power to act. Independent expenditures, like direct contributions, should be subject to reasonable limits and should be transparent. And corporations are not people. For if they were, as Justice Stevens points out, how could we deprive them of the right to vote?”
        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/the-supreme-court-still-thinks-corporations-are-people/259995/

      • whungerford says:

        I believe that the doctrine that corporations are persons in law is well established and unlikely to be overturned. Justice Stevens–decrying wooden application of the First Amendment to corporations–suggested that corporations be treated differently from natural persons wrt campaign finance; that works for me.

  2. BOB McGILL says:

    As a show of support for these groups, why don’t you see if you can get 500,000 people to quit their jobs, if they work for a corporation ? 🙂

  3. josephurban says:

    The real issue here is not the buying of Congress. That has been going on for many years. To me the issue is transparency of political donations. IF money is Free Speech then all of us need to know WHO is speaking. After all, free speech protects PUBLIC discourse, doesn’t it? Since the SCOTUS has now ruled that Congress is for sale we certainly should be able to know who the buyers are. If political donations are not public, then what is to stop foreign interest from buying Congress? Let the Koch Brothers and others spend billions. We have the right to know who is doing the buying.

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