BOULDER, CO - Just days after Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney angered attendees at the Iowa State Fair by declaring that “corporations are people,” the court-created doctrine of “corporate personhood” is once again making headlines.
On Tuesday evening the City Council of Boulder, Colorado voted to place a referendum on the November ballot calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Boulder’s decision came after months of grassroots organizing by Move to Amend, a national coalition working to abolish corporate personhood.
“This is a very important development at exactly the right time,” said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, a national spokesperson for Move to Amend. “Americans are fed up with corporate dominance of our political system. The people of Boulder have an opportunity to lead the way for other communities throughout the country by taking a strong stand.”
Boulder’s decision comes just months after voters in Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin overwhelmingly approved measures calling for an end to corporate personhood and the legal status of money as speech by 84% and 78% respectively.
"Wow. What an outpouring of emotion and feeling and sincere interest in making changes, which I don't think anybody in the room would deny we need at the highest level," Councilman Ken Wilson told the crowd before he voted in favor of putting the referendum on the ballot. "My family and I were very, very disappointed in the Citizens United decision. I think it's a real threat to our government, and whatever we can do to change that, I think we should."
Similar resolutions have been passed in nearly thirty other cities and counties. Resolutions have also been introduced in the state legislatures of Vermont, Washington, Montana, and New Mexico. The City Council of Missoula, Montana will be considering placing such a measure on the ballot next week.
“We are excited to be a part of this rapidly growing national effort,” said Carolyn Bninksi, a local organizer with Boulder Move to Amend. “The strength of Move to Amend’s strategy is that it is based on grassroots work at the local level. This is the only way to build a movement powerful enough to take on entrenched corporate interests.”
Move to Amend is a national coalition of hundreds of organizations and 130,000 individuals. The group is committed to building a grassroots movement to demand corporate accountability to the public by abolishing corporate personhood through an amendment to the US Constitution.