Our politicians are finally talking about the excessive influence (particularly money) exerted by corporations, both foreign and domestic. The story says corporate influence has been bad for a very long time, but it became grossly worse when the Supreme Court made it’s decision in the infamous 2010 case Citizens United vs FEC. So today we hear many progressives and Democrats (sadly including Bernie Sanders and now Hillary Clinton) pushing for an amendment to the US Constitution overturning the Citizens United decision. Wow, that sounds great, but somehow it misses the most important point.
By excessively focusing on an amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision we are deceived into thinking anything meaningful would really be accomplished. That effort, even if successful, is really about trying to control the corporate money in politics, but does nothing regarding the myth that ficticious legal persons/entities (corporations) somehow have constitutional rights, that were intended for human persons. Essentially this massive effort would do little more than place a mere bandaid, maybe a tourniquet, on the traumatic injuries done to our democracy.
The Citizens United decision basically said: “Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections. While corporations or unions may not give money directly to campaigns, they may seek to persuade the voting public through other means, including ads, especially where these ads were not broadcast.”
Yes that was horrendous but if we are going to expend the effort to amend the constitution, we need to put corporations in their proper place. “The best way to counter whatever watered-down amendment a possible Clinton administration might come up with is to build support for the We the People Amendment among current and potential elected officials.” This effort is being promoted via a ten year plan formed by MoveToAmend “a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests”.
See the two links below for further perspectives on both possible amendments. I vote for the Move To Amend approach. It may take longer, but if accomplished, we will actually have something with real power. Remember, corporations fought for corporate personhood for over 100 years. That should tell you where the real power lies.