LOS ANGELES—After forty-five minutes of public testimony urging a "yes" vote, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support a resolution calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to clearly establish that only living persons, not corporations, are endowed with constitutional rights and that money is not the same as free speech. The vote makes Los Angeles the first major city in the U.S. to call for an end to all corporate constitutional rights.
As AVN reported yesterday, the campaign in Los Angeles is the latest grassroots effort by Move to Amend, a national coalition working to abolish corporate personhood.
"Local resolution campaigns are an opportunity for citizens to speak up and let it be known that we won't accept the corporate takeover of our government," said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, a national spokesperson for Move to Amend. "We urge communities across the country to join the Move to Amend campaign and raise your voices."
Earlier this year, voters in Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin overwhelmingly approved ballot measures calling for an end to corporate personhood and the legal status of money as speech by 84 percent and 78 percent respectively. In November voters in Boulder, Colorado and Missoula, Montana both passed similar initiatives with 75 percent support.
"Move to Amend's proposed amendment would provide the basis for overturning the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission," stated Mary Beth Fielder, co-coordinator of LA Move to Amend. "The Supreme Court has no legitimate right to grant people's rights to corporations. We must clearly establish that it is 'We, The People' who are meant to rule."
Move to Amend's strategy is to pass community resolutions across the nation through city councils and through direct vote by ballot initiative.
"Our plan is build a movement that will drive this issue into Congress from the grassroots. The American people are behind us on this and these campaigns help our federal representatives see that we mean business. Our very democracy is at stake," stated Sopoci-Belknap. "Our goal is for 50 towns and cities to put Move to Amend's resolution on the ballot for the Presidential election in November, 2012."
Move to Amend is calling for a national day of action on January 20 to protest the second anniversary of the Citizens United ruling. Occupy the Courts will be a one-day occupation of Federal courthouses across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The group is collaborating with several Occupy sites and several other organizations to orchestrate national actions across the United States on January 20 and 21.