‘We the Corporations, in Order to…’
Your lead editorial "Democracy Inc." [Feb. 15] rightly points out the need for a constitutional amendment to prevent corporations from buying elections. An Angus Reid poll showed that 65 percent of Americans disagree with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC campaign finance decision. The nationwide revulsion at this abhorrent decision creates an opportunity to bring about a series of amendments to truly make our democracy of, by and for the people.
The Citizens United decision may be the final nail in democracy’s coffin. I appreciate that The Nation is "committed to the struggle" against this atrocity, but a constitutional amendment is very unlikely (remember the Equal Rights Amendment?).
And so the Republic dies. The Supreme Court shores up the doctrines that money is speech and corporations are people. Those with the most money will have the strongest speech rights, making corporations supercitizens and the rest of us second-class citizens. The arc of history likely leads us to a corporatist state, like Italy, 1922-45; Spain, 1936-73; and Germany, 1933-45. Another label for it is "fascism." We can keep the Constitution as a historical document in our archives to be viewed but essentially irrelevant, quaint.
MARK L. THRON
Gnashing of teeth. Rending of garments. Wailing to the heavens, as you go after the five GOPer Supremes and their siren song for oligarchy on the half shell. Nice.
Now it is up to us to organize and fight. First up: frame the issue. Real people are what the Bill of Rights is for, not legalistic fictions. As the Real Rights for Real People movement, pass bills that define corporations as outside the Bill of Rights (how does freedom of religion apply to Goldman Sachs?); get shareholders to file suits against officers who sign political contribution checks from corporate coffers; boycott corporations and media outlets running corporate political ads. If Democrats are not to wimp out–or be wiped out–real battle must be joined. Or we’ll have another generation lost in the desert.
The Citizens United decision legalizes corporate bribery of candidates, but the problem goes beyond that. Courts have overturned thousands of laws enacted to protect elections, workers, health, safety and the environment, claiming that such laws violate the constitutional rights of corporations. The late Howard Zinn observed, "Liberals get excited about things like the Citizens United ruling as if they signal a dramatic change. No, the corporations ran our elections before the decision and will do so now–just with a fig leaf of ‘legality.’ The designation of corporations as ‘persons’ is just proof of how our legal system, the Constitution, the courts have always been tools of the wealthy classes." A broad-based coalition of grassroots groups and national organizations has launched the Campaign to Legalize Democracy to fight this. In the first weeks since the decision, more than 55,000 folks joined us at movetoamend.org. To be part of the growing grassroots rebellion, join us online or call (707) 269-0984.