GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Monday, January 25, 2010
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com
Greens urge a new constitutional amendment affirming that 'We the People' means humans, not corporations
Green Party Speakers Bureau: Greens available to speak on democracy, electoral reforms, and corporate power: http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-democratic.php / http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-corporate.php
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Supreme Court's 5-4 Citizens United v. FEC ruling will turn national, state, and local elections into a corporate power game, said Green Party leaders in reaction to the decision handed down on Thursday.
Greens predict that the decision, which strikes down laws limiting the use of corporate money for campaign advertising, will have extremely damaging consequences for democratic elections and for the existence of the US as a republic. The Green Party accepts no corporate funding and advocates clean elections, free of the money and influence of corporations.
Many Greens are supporting Move To Amend (http://www.movetoamend.org), which, like the Green Party, asserts that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights; that money is not speech; and that the right to vote and have one's vote counted must be guaranteed. Move To Amend demands a constitutional amendment enacting these principles.
Quotes by Green Party leaders:
Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States:
"The decision will cement the Democratic and Republican parties' status as subsidiaries of Wall Street, oil companies, defense contractors, insurance firms, media conglomerates, and other top corporations. It cancels the idea that candidates run for public office to serve the public interest. The ruling will help block government measures to curb global warming, regulation of financial firms, health care reform, consumer rights, and all other protections for 'We the People' against corporate power."
Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States:
"Thanks to the Court's ruling, we'll see a flood of election season ads promoting corporate-sponsored candidates, overwhelming those who would serve the interests of the public instead of the demands of lobbyists. The ruling also frees unions from campaign advertising restrictions, but unions don't have the economic resources and clout of major corporations. The ruling especially hurts the ability of parties that don't accept corporate contributions, like the Green Party, to compete." (Ms. Everette is working with other democracy activists to pass the California Fair Elections Act (http://www.yesfairelections.org); such efforts are threatened by the Citizens United ruling.)
Rich Whitney, 2010 Green candidate for Governor of Illinois (http://www.whitneyforgov.org):
"In a transparently political decision, a majority of the US Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech. Drawing upon a much older precedent -- the legal fiction of corporate 'personhood' that it created in 1886 â€“ the Court determined that these contrived 'rights' trump the public interest in having genuinely representative government.... In the face of this devastating threat to what remains of democratic process in our country, I, along with my fellow Green Party candidates, now present an even clearer choice to voters. We remain the Party that stands on principle, the Party that does not accept, and whose candidates do not accept, corporate money. We are the Party that is serious about establishing government of, by and for the people." ("How We Can Trump the Supreme Court and End Corporate Domination of Government," http://www.whitneyforgov.org/joomla/index.php)
Farheen Hakeem, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States:
"This is a civil rights issue. The legal idea of 'personhood' for corporations was introduced after the Civil War and passage of the 14th Amendment, which was intended to protect freed slaves. But around the same time that Jim Crow laws were enacted, the protections of the 14th Amendment were in effect transferred from Black Americans to corporations in a series of landmark Supreme Court decisions beginning with Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad in 1886. These decisions helped set off the Robber Baron Era of unrestrained corporate power, until campaign financing laws and other restraints on corporate power were passed. The Citizens United ruling strikes down those restrictions and puts America in danger of a new Robber Baron Era. Restoring democracy and the idea that constitutional rights should only apply to humans will now require a citizens' effort as strong as the Civil Rights Movement."
David Cobb, 2004 Green Party nominee for President and a member of Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (http://www.duhc.org):
"We need publicly financed elections, we need laws requiring a majority of shareholders to approve corporate political contributions. But even if every one of those laws passed, it would not be enough. The Court relied on the illegitimate legal doctrine of 'corporate personhood' in order to justify this profoundly undemocratic decision. The Court has literally legalized corporate bribery of our elected officials. Itâ€™s time to amend the US Constitution to make it clear that only human beings can claim to be 'persons' with constitutional rights."
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, in his dissent to Citizens United, wrote "[C]orporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.... [T]hey are not themselves members of 'We the People' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established." (http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page.htm?shortname=citizens_united_v_fec_stevens)
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