Corporations are not people. Money is not speech.

January 20, 2012

That was the message as about 70 people gathered near the federal courthouse on Marconi Blvd as Columbus joined communities across the country to mark the second anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Three of our city’s organizers for Occupy the Courts spoke with the Columbus Free Press recently. Two of them also spoke with WCRS Columbus.

Doug Todd, Bob Krasen, and Michael Greenman work with Move to Amend, Central Ohio. Krasen said the word about today’s protest is out to a fairly good number of organizations.

“Nobody really knows how many are going to come, but we’re hoping for a crowd of a couple hundred.”

Krasen said the demonstration against the Citizens United decision is also a celebration of activists coming together in common cause to defeat a serious threat to our democratic republic.

He said Move to Amend has crafted language that makes its amendment to the US Constitution the best among as many as seven other proposals

His fellow organizer Todd said giving corporations the rights of natural persons is the result of a long string of Supreme Court decisions going back to the 19th Century, but that Citizens United was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“It opens the floodgate to money in elections. But even before Citizens United, there was already too much money in elections.”

He said the ruling has made it easier for super PACs to spend a lot of money on media

Michael Greenman said corporate power over major media outlets is only one part of the problem.

“Most of the major issues today that are a detriment to society, to quality of life, to freedom, to democracy, to the environment, and to education, come back sooner or later to corporate influence or corporate money.”

This is at least part of the reason our political system is at an impasse, said Greenman.

“There is no way for our elected representatives to go against the significant wishes of the corporate will.”

He said Congresspersons have to spend a great deal of their time every day getting money to get reelected.

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