Populist columnist and all-around champion of progressive causes Jim HIghtower published a single-issue newsletter today backing the growing grass-roots movement to enact a Constitutional amendment barring corporations from personhood and redefining money as not being speech.
The movement — of which I’m a part through my involvement with MoveToAmend — proposes a two-clause 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Here’s the text of the amendment as proposed:
House Joint Resolution 29 introduced February 14, 2013
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.
In our present circumstances, the Constitutional amendment route is really the only open avenue to reforming a badly out of control government. Mere legislation — even assuming it could pass a House of Representatives hell-bent on making government irrelevant and non-functional — would simply be struck down by a Corporatist majority on the Supreme Court. To be sure, an amendment is a tough hill to climb. There are no fewer than seven different Constitutional amendment proposals on the legislative agenda in Washington. The Senate is expected to vote on some form of this law before the year is out. I think it’s important that the language above — or something substantially like it — be adopted. Some of the other proposals don’t go far enough or are vaguely worded, presenting the Supremes with yet another opportunity to legislate from the bench in their corporate owners’ interests.
Sixteen state governments have already sent petitions to Washington asking for an amendment to accomplish what the MTA proposal would. That’s almost half of the 34 that will be required to get the issue enacted. Here are those states and the dates of passage of their petitions:
Hawaii, April 2010; New Jersey, Oct. 2012; New Mexico, Jan. 2012; Montana, Nov. 2012; Vermont, April 2012; Colorado, Nov. 2012; Maryland, April 2012; West Virginia, April 2013; Rhode Island, May 2012; Maine, April 2013; California, July 2012; Illinois, May 2013; Massachusetts, July 2012; Delaware, June 2013;Connecticut, Sept. 2012; Oregon, July 2013
If your state isn’t on that list, I urge you to join MTA, get active in this movement, and overrule a corporatist Supreme Court by the will of We the People. There’s no time like Independence Day to re-declare our freedom from tyranny.