COLUMN: Are corporations people? Is money speech? We don’t think so

— Two years ago, the Supreme Court, in a decision known as “Citizens United,” ruled that corporations are people and have the same rights under the constitution as people. This ruling allows corporations to make unlimited donations to political campaigns.

It also allows them to do a lot of other things; like not tell us what is in our food because corporations viewed as people have the right “not to speak” about what is in the food. They can continue to have unsafe working conditions because now OSHA needs a warrant and 30 days notice before it enters an unsafe workplace. More and more corporations are suing local and state governments (and winning because how can a small town afford to fight a big company?) if the company doesn’t feel local laws benefit them. Armed with “peoplehood” rights, corporations have ever-increasing control over jobs, natural assets, politicians, even judges and the law.

The Move to Amend (movetoamend.org) was formed in response to this decision. Move to Amend seeks to overturn “Citizens United” with a new amendment to the constitution, which states clearly that corporations are not the people and money is not speech. The constitution has been amended before, and will be again. It takes the people, and I mean actual human people, insisting with a strong enough voice, that the constitution be amended.

The Move to Amend is making great progress toward this goal; within the last year a good number of towns, cities, counties, and at least one state have declared, through resolutions, that they want state and federal government to pay attention and make some changes.

Move to amend feels that the federal government will not pay attention until enough small local governments, acting as the voice of the people, force them to. Resolutions at the local level say that corporations are not the people, money is not speech and instruct state legislators to move the resolution to the state level. If enough states can do this then the federal legislators will be forced to call for an amendment.

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