Wayne Citizens Supporting Democracy

November 22, 2014

The fall election netted a very interesting result: Citizens of the United States are ready to amend the Constitution.

    From Massachusetts to Ohio, from Illinois to Florida, and Wisconsin, citizens voted overwhelmingly on Nov. 4, to pass a Constitutional amendment calling for an end to the recent doctrines of corporate Constitutional rights and money as free speech.

    A series of Supreme Court decisions that led to designation of corporations as persons, and money as free speech has corrupted our system of government, allowing a deluge of corporate and private money to taint our politics.

    Leading democracy scholars and activists, and now the voters, are calling for a mass movement to confront the crisis of corporate personhood that is strangling our democracy and perverting our democratic values.

    Most of the candidates elected today are beholden to the deep pockets of corporate interests and the ultra-rich, not to the average citizen.

    This election was the most expensive midterm in history: $4 billion.

    “Our elected representatives are most likely to answer to those who keep them in the money,” says Katharine Dodge, founder of Wayne Citizens Supporting Democracy and a resident of Lake Ariel.

    “In today’s current political scene, the candidates with the most airtime and the slickest campaigns are going to win. That means lots of money to pay those who will promote them. It takes thousands if not millions of individual supporters to equal the amounts given by just one billionaire or one super-PAC. Is this reflecting the voices and needs of the ordinary citizen?”

The only way to fix this, according to Move to Amend.org, a national coalition of which Wayne Citizens Supporting Democracy is a member, is to amend the Constitution to negate the idea that corporations are natural persons, and that money constitutes free speech. Here is the text of the proposed amendment:

Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

 Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

 The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

    Section 2. [Money is Not Free Speech]

Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

 The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

    To sign a petition endorsing this amendment, one may visit movetoamend.org.

    Anyone wishing to participate in the work of Wayne Citizens Supporting Democracy may attend their monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of each month at the Wayne County Public Library in Honesdale at 5:15 p.m. Anyone wishing a presentation about this effort, may contact the group at wayne-pa [at] movetoamend.org.

    Use of the library’s rooms by Wayne Citizens Supporting Democracy does not constitute an endorsement by the library of the group’s policies or beliefs.

 

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