Defend Democracy: Join with us to Abolish Corporate Personhood
The Citizens United decision has been called the "worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott."
Untold amounts of corporate and special interest dollars already make free elections difficult and keep otherwise good people from running campaigns that demand obscene amounts of money and media connections.
Corporate Power is an issue that undergirds and creates obstacles for all the issues important to WILPF branches and members. It will take a concerted and strategic approach from all of us towards a unified response in order to move each of our issues forward, through the walls of corporate personhood.
Many are saying that with this decision American citizens will see their civic engagement in the voting process as both unnecessary and irrelevant, since corporate CEOs will be able to hand select our candidates, our priorities and our policies. No further voting or political contributions from ordinary citizens will be required, since none will be
effective against the billions of dollars corporations will be unleashing on our so-called democracy.
Pundits on both the conservative and progressive sides are calling it a dangerous threat to democracy. Even Tea Party founders are recognizing the negative impact this decision will have.
This case goes back to the Buckley vs. Valeo decision which equated free speech with money in a dangerous precedent that set the stage for this further miscarriage of justice. In that scenario, the truth is we can never have equal amounts of free speech unless we also have equal amounts of money. The playing field will always be tipped in favor of huge corporate profits over people and the planet. Corporations will legally be able to silence the public while they set the national agenda and foreign policy too. Voters won't be required to show up.
What WILPF is Doing-We've known about the strong possibility of this decision for some time. Together with our colleagues at POCLAD (Program On Corporations, Law and Democracy) and others we have been preparing.
Because of our long history of work against corporate power, WILPF was invited to join the Steering Committee of a
national movement to amend the Constitution in order to reverse Corporate Personhood. Click here to sign on to the Move To Amend website.
You'll see we're not alone; many important progressive leaders including Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, David and Fran Korten, Joanna Macy, Media Benjamin and many, many others have already signed on to this effort. After you sign on, paste the website address onto your own Facebook page, your branch website, or email it to your members and friends.
This is a moment in history some of us never expected to see -- ordinary citizens organizing across the nation to
ABOLISH CORPORATE PERSONHOOD and legalize real participatory radical Democracy, perhaps for the first time in our nation's history.
We have no illusions that it will take a long time, many efforts and many voices. This is as important and challenging as the efforts for Women's Suffrage and the work done to end slavery. It will demand coalitions of environmental, peace, justice, civil rights and labor groups working together, unified to move the country towards leveling the playing field and stripping the rights of individuals from the legal fiction of corporations as "persons."
What Else Can You Do? - Don't just sit there and fume. Go Raise A Ruckus!
Here are some ideas:
On Your Own
Write a letter to the editor! Click here to personalize our sample.
You can also view a sample of our Op-Ed letter here.
Call, email or visit your elected officials to express your concerns.
Meet with the chairperson of your political party and ask them to stand up to big corporate contributions and defend the integrity of our free elections.
Sign on to the Move To Amend petition.
With Friends and Family
Hold a Funeral
Mourn the end of democracy, the integrity of free elections. Organize a mock funeral outside your federal building, with mourners, music, speakers, and eulogies for democracy. Take video to post on YouTube, invite the media, and make sure your political officials are invited to speak in memory of democracy.
Present a megaphone for "Calling the shots"
Go visit with the CEO of a big corporation and congratulate him/her on receiving all the power they need to set the agenda for America, to drown out the voices of everyday Americans and to take the pesky responsibility for self governance out of the hands of we the people. Present a big oversize golden megaphone to make your point, and take a nice photo or video! (Print out the template for the megaphone from the Move to Amend website.) Now that we the people can only whisper, why even show up to vote?
Present a new Sponsorship Jumpsuit to you Party Chair
Meet with your Party Chairperson and congratulate them on no longer having to raise money among we the people. Present a jumpsuit with all the possible corporate logos they can display to give credit to the companies who will really be underwriting our elections from now on. Heck, buy them lunch. You can afford it now that you no longer have to contribute to political campaigns. (You can find a template of logos on the Move to Amend website.)
Organize a Town Meeting to Discuss How Things Will Change in Your Community
Most folks will not have a deep understanding of what this Supreme Court Decision means to democracy and elections. Click here for an organizing packet that will give you some good information to convey. (our site or theirs?)
Need a Speaker?
Maybe we can help. Click here for someone who can come talk about the Move To Amend and what we can still achieve if we work together.
Here's More Background Information
Hey, if you are leading this local effort, you should have some history of how we got into this mess and some ideas of how we might get out of it. WILPF provides free study materials on our website. Click here to order them.
Do You Live in the Hometown or Attend the Alma Mater of One of the Five Justices Behind the Citizens United Ruling?
Organize a rally/circulate a petition and send a press release to the media declaring your town/college is disowning the Justice as an embarrassment and disgrace to democracy. Send the Justice a "Certificate of Disownment."
Trenton, New Jersey (born)/p>
Hamilton Township, New Jersey (childhood)
Princeton University (undergrad)
Yale Law School
Stanford University (undergrad)
Harvard Law School
Buffalo, New York (born)
Long Beach, Indiana (childhood)
Harvard College (undergrad)
Harvard Law School
Trenton,New Jersey (born)
New York, New York (childhood)
Georgetown University (undergrad)
Harvard Law School
Pin Point, Georgia (born)
Savannah, Georgia (childhood)
College of the Holy Cross (undergrad)
Yale Law School