HOW TO GET BIG MONEY OUT OF ELECTIONS & RECLAIM THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF ‘WE THE PEOPLE’

Please join David Cobb, nationally known spokesperson for Move to Amend, as he pulls back the curtain on the decades-old story of how corporations have gotten the Supreme Court to give them constitutional rights reserved for the people by the framers of the Constitution. Using these rights, corporations and the super-rich are now allowed to spend unlimited sums to influence our elections!

David’s talk couldn’t be better timed.  On November 6, nearly a third of Massachusetts voters will have the chance to vote on the “Democracy Amendment” question, a nonbinding ballot question calling for a constitutional amendment to end corporate constitutional rights and allow us to establish spending limits in political campaigns.

Meet other concerned citizens who want to reclaim our democracy! Get involved in the growing national movement for an amendment to the US Constitution!

Date:    Thursday, September 20th, from 7p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location:   Natick Senior Center,  90 Oak Street, Natick MA

David Cobb is National Projects Director of Democracy Unlimited. He is a lawyer and political activist. David has sued corporate polluters, lobbied elected officials, run for political office himself, and has been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience.  He truly believes we must use ALL the tools in the toolbox to effect the systemic social change we so desperately need. 

Co-Sponsored by Common Cause, Democracy Amendment Coalition of MA, Occupy Natick
Progressive Democrats of America – Greater Boston (PDA)

Major Updates: Need Help!

Not only did Needham pass our town meeting resolution and the state pass its anti-CitizensUnited resolution– democracy-fans got a “Citizens United” question (nicknamed “The Democracy Amendment”, read more here) onto the Needham ballot for November 6, 2012! (yeah, we have to update parts of this website that are still talking about the town meeting vote as “coming up”!)

That means, in addition to voting on President and US Senate, voters will have a chance to say whether they want corporate interests to be able to spend unlimited resources on our campaigns.

It’s not a binding question. But it is yet another means by which WE THE PEOPLE can voice our demand that lawmakers take action! They hadn’t been listening very carefully…. But the broad grassroots movement–which we in Needham are a part of– have stirred politicians at the highest levels to take notice.

With the question on the ballot– we need to get the word out to voters!

We need some help on THURSDAY, ELECTION DAY, September 6, in Needham:

Can you help for even just an hour (or even less if that’s all you got) at the polls on Thursday? We will be handing out INFORMATION/LITERATURE about the ballot question–to get the word out about the anti-Citizens United vote on November 6!

This is not so hard stuff–please email wethepeopleneedham@gmail.com with your availability on Thursday, Sept. 6.  In particular, we would like to have commute times covered, when there’s the highest foot traffic.

Obama calls for Constitutional Amendment

Obama in online chat says that mobilizing for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United is a good idea. Even if an Amendment fails, he notes, the process of individuals organizing around the problem of money will help shine a light on the massive problem, which could force lawmakers to take the legislative action they so far have not.

We think President Obama must have been watching the Needham Channel replays of Needham Town Meeting!:

Question: What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?

Answer: Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.

We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who.

We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it).

Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.

Obama Calls For Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United In Online Chat | Alternet – http://bit.ly/NZqnTH

Massachusetts Legislatures Votes to Call for Amendment

Breaking news!

Massachusetts State Legislature Calls on Congress to Enact Constitutional Amendment Reversing Citizens United Decision

Massachusetts joins Rhode Island, Vermont, California, Maryland, New Mexico and Hawaii in calling for an amendment to restore democracy.

The Citizens United decision is a tremendous threat to our democracy.

The very integrity of our political system is at stake.

I am proud of the House for passing this resolution yesterday and, along with the Senate, sending a strong message that our democracy isn’t for sale.

–Rep. Cory Atkins

Continue reading

Stacie Shapiro: Thank You!

Letter to Needham Times:
Thanks to all who supported the effort to pass a resolution at Town Meeting, putting Needham on record in opposition to the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling.
This ruling, narrowly decided by a 5-4 vote, gives Corporations “Free Speech” protections under the first amendment, and thus allows corporations to engage in political expenditures in a way that was previously not permitted.
People from all political affiliations and economic standings have strongly criticized this decision, acknowledging the potential for corporate dollars to overwhelm and distort the electoral process.
 Concerns about this decision inspired a group of Needham residents to join a growing movement across the country of people seeking a Constitutional Amendment to rectify the problems associated with the Supreme Court ruling. Continue reading

Jeff Clements: We the People v. Citizens United

Citizens United is catastrophic in itself but the problem runs deeper.

Citizens United is the most extreme extension of a concerted, well-funded campaign for “corporate rights” that has been building for decades.

With increasing aggressiveness, corporations have persuaded activist courts to rewrite the First Amendment to include “corporate speech,” not just human speech. Corporations now use this twisted theory to demolish public laws that stand in the path of corporate profit.

–Jeff Clements Continue reading

A case for principled conservatives to support an amendment

excerpts from “Abolish Corporate Personhood” blog; read the full text here.

There are many reasons why a principled conservative would want to have the Citizens United v FEC Supreme Court decision reversed by abolishing corporate personhood and ending the doctrine that money is a form of speech. Whereas an unprincipled conservative will put the interests of corporations (property) ahead of the interests of citizens no matter what the consequences, a principled conservative would be concerned about the common good of the Republic.

Conservative Reasons to Abolish Corporate Constitutional Rights

The American Revolution was explicitly anti-corporate, and the revolutionaries made sure that corporations were tightly controlled.
The word corporation does not occur in the Constitution. Corporations had to use unelected, unaccountable judges to give them rights.

According to Thomas Jefferson, judges, who grant corporations rights, are “playing God” because he claimed in the Declaration of Independence that men — not property — are “ordained by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Judge-made law is not democratic. We did not elect the Supreme Court justices, but they get to decide who does and does not count in our democratic order. Congress and the People should decide those issues.

This is not about opposing business or capitalism, and we recognize that corporations play an important role in society. Continue reading

Boston Herald: 56 Mass. towns urge Congress to reverse Citizens United

Amherst, Boston and Cambridge are among 56 cities and towns across Massachusetts that are calling on Congress to pass an amendment overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which has opened up new opportunities for unlimited amounts of corporate and union funds to influence elections around the country.

The court, in a 5-4 ruling two years ago, ruled that restrictions on corporate expenditures in elections violate constitutionally protected free speech rights.

According to the Democracy Amendment Coalition of Massachusetts, they hit the 50-community milestone on May 14 when town meetings in four communities approved resolutions calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning the court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.

Read More at this link

Boston.com: Needham Town Meeting Calls for Constitutional Amendment

Boston.com: Needham Town Meeting calls for constitutional amendment on campaign spending

Lois Sockol, who spoke at Town Meeting in favor of Article 23

Many argued that though the article ostensibly deals with a national issue, the issue of possible political corruption could have local effects.

“None of us, none of us, unless we hide under a rock, can not be influenced by the electoral process and the people in power,” said Lois Sockol.

Citizens United, she said, tore the fabric of American democracy.

“Big money has a powerful fist, more powerful than any individual.

Nowhere in the equation of big money and the individual is there basic equality.

By this very inequality, unlimited contributions undermine the basic American creed,” she said.

“We are a government of the people. By the people. And for the people.”