The California Resistance Calls for an End to Corporate Rule

August 23, 2017
Keyan Bliss and Daniel Lee

California has been a leader in the so-called Anti-Trump "Resistance" with everyone from the State's Governor Jerry Brown to the newly minted State Attorney General Xavier Becerra challenging the Federal Government to bring it on. With regular protests occurring in streets from Eureka to San Diego on a near weekly basis, California is ready for a fight.

As much as the growing energy is being directed at an emerging fascist government, the resistance is not just about Trump, but about a system of government that prizes the bottom line of multinational corporations over the lives and welfare of human beings. Endowing corporations with constitutional rights not only makes no logical sense, it is an affront to the very notion of democracy itself, which is translated from the Greek to means "rule by people." In our current political circumstances, not only do multinational corporations have undue influence in every aspect of our daily lives and in the political process, but one could argue that our current commander-in-chief is the physical embodiment of corporate rule and corporate personhood.

At a contentious California Democratic Party (CADEM) Convention in May that saw ideological conflicts between an entrenched establishment of privileged professionals and an emergent grassroots progressive insurgency, there were two notorious doctrines that delegates across the board nevertheless agreed to come down firmly against: the fiction that "corporations are people" and the related fallacy that "money equals political speech". Widespread opposition to these two false doctrines was at the heart of a resolution that Move to Amend introduced to the CADEM resolutions committee for a floor vote during the convention, calling for a 28th Amendment to the US Constitution, which was mandated by nearly 7 million California voters who passed Proposition 59. In a historic vote, delegates passed our resolution without objection, joining 11 other state-level Democratic Parties to support this.

The resolutions committee initially referred this resolution to the executive board (where resolutions often go to die), despite having garnered an initial 66 delegate co-sponsors, well beyond the committee's 25-delegate minimum. The committee presented little reason for its referral, other than alluding to the desire for a "deeper conversation" to be had in a statewide tour to which we were promised to be invited. Such an important conversation is well worth having with communities across California and the rest of the country, a conversation which Move to Amend has worked tirelessly to broach since its launch the day of the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision over seven years ago. But this is a conversation we should have regardless of whether California Democrats support it or not.

In a show of true grassroots organizing, the sponsors of the resolution rallied a team of volunteers, including several delegates, to garner over 450 delegate signatures in less than 24 hours, pushing the resolution to the floor on Sunday, where it passed without objection in an up-or-down vote.

"The resistance is alive and well, but its focus extends far beyond the confines of the Trump administration to the heart of corporate power," said Kimmy Boyle, a local Sacramento Volunteer. "If the people don't speak up in a passionate and sustained way, then we have ceded our democracy."

"Despite the resistance from corporate-sponsored democrats, there were a lot of people who were over-the-top happy to sign on to this resolution. Many were eager to help us out," said Megan Shumway, a Sacramento volunteer. "It was physically demanding for someone with limited abilities, but it was something I needed to do. This was something that we really needed to do."

"Getting this resolution passed by California Democrats was an empowering victory," said Move to Amend intern Delphine Brody, who helped gather delegate signatures at the convention. "Any elected official in California who wants to stay in office should get on board with the We The People Amendment, the only amendment in Congress that would fulfill the Proposition 59 mandate."

With California's most powerful political party standing in support of abolishing corporate constitutional rights and money as speech, the national movement to amend the Constitution is gaining momentum. Hundreds of organizations of every political stripe across the country have already passed similar resolutions calling for a 28th Amendment that makes clear that constitutional rights belong to human beings, not corporations, and that money spent on political campaigns is not protected political speech.

Whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or Greens, California voters have made it abundantly clear what they want their elected officials to do, and the time has come for public officials at all levels of government to heed their instructions and support the We the People Amendment. In doing so, they will find themselves in good company, alongside of the Pottawattamie Republican Party, the Green Party of California, and the California Democratic Party.

Read the full resolution (17-05.54) here:

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