Move to Amend came onto the scene, in the wake of the Citizens United ruling to push for a 28th Amendment, 'to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.' Their slogan - 'End Corporate Rule. Legalize Democracy.' resonated and inspired folks to action. The Monahan brothers, at the age of 67 and 70, were so outraged that they decided to walk across the country to raise awareness and support for a constitutional amendment. Prior to the Supreme Court's decision, the most that the brothers had done politically was to post a yard sign. In the two years they have been joined by other concerned citizens and organizations who recognize the threat posed by the court's decision. Resolutions against the decision and to 'declare that corporations are not entitled to the protections or "rights" of human beings and to declare that the expenditure of corporate money is not a form of constitutionally protected speech" have been introduced or passed in over 75 localities.
Move to Amend, inspired by Occupy Wall Street and Dr. Cornel West, has called for a national day of protest and bold actions to mark the second anniversary of the infamous Citizens United v. FEC decision! Occupy the Courts is a call for a one day occupation of Federal courthouses across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday January 20, 2012.
People are responding to the call and organizing over one hundred actions in cities and at Federal Courthouses across the country. They are recognizing that laws written of, by, for corporations and court rulings that favor corporations over human beings means that wealth determines the most important decisions over our society and the world, that democracy is a myth, that those wielding power are illegitimate, that the people must rise up and assert control over the levers of government.
Over a decade ago, the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) contributed to a book entitled 'Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy - A book of history and strategy.' They also traveled a spoke with people across the country to come to a deeper understanding of the root cause of all the challenges that people face today, not only in America, but throughout the world. One of the contributors to the book, Greg Coleridge, also a founding member of Move to Amend, authored a pamphlet entitled 'Citizens Over Corporations, A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future.' Greg is also the Director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), writer of the documentary CorporNation - The Story of Citizens and Corporations in Ohio, and helped organize a 2008 municipal campaign opposing the privatization/corporatization of the wastewater system and a citizen-led initiative requiring voter approval of any future sale or lease of any public utility. He addresses not only the history of corporations and social struggles, but points out in detail and has implemented the processes that people have used to assert democratic control over powerful interests. Greg will be a guest on the weekly radio show, Community Currency on the Progressive Radio Network, Thursday, January 19, 2012, 2-3 pm (PST) to speak about the national day of action, lessons learned, and what the next steps might be.
In the San Francisco Bay area, there are many actions taking place on Friday, January 20, 2012 in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. In Oakland inspiring speakers, including Aimee Allison and Laura Wells, the singing group Occupella, and a skit will be at the Federal Courthouse (1301 Clay St.) between 8 and 11 am and actions will take place the entire day, but many people are planning to go to San Francisco at 11 am, to join in with the multiple events taking place there. Over fifty groups are working together on Occupy Wall Street West, to shut down San Francisco's financial district and highlight some of the worst corporate offenders. Occupy the Courts in San Francisco begins at the Civic Center BART Station at 11:30 am, there will be a march to rally in front of the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The San Francisco actions will last all day long at multiple locations. In San Jose the rally begins at St. James Park, in front of the Old Courthouse where corporate personhood began, 161 N. First St, at 12 Noon. There will be speakers, a skit, the Raging Grannies, followed at 1 PM by a march to the Federal District Court. The rally is being organized by the Santa Clara County Move to Amend Chapter and endorsed by numerous local peace and justice groups, including Occupy San Jose.
Despite the bleak weather forecast for the Bay Area, the activists are prepared to follow their plan - rain or shine. All are encouraged to come and support their efforts.
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