Occupy the Courts: Move to Amend announces a national day of protest

Categories: News, Politics

occupy-the-courts.jpg
It was the sixteenth anniversary of the Million Man March, October 16, 2011, and thousands gathered in Washington for a ceremony dedicating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Steve Justino, co-chair of Colorado's Move to Amend, remembers sitting by his computer in Colorado losing sleep -- he and his colleagues had been tirelessly pondering how they would mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. The January 21 anniversary needed to be memorable and it needed to make a mark if they wanted to take action to reform the Constitution.

"I saw him on the news and I thought to myself, 'Bingo!'" Justino says, recalling the moment when he first saw a broadcast of Princeton professor Cornel West being arrested for a demonstration on the steps of the Supreme Court. "We needed to do something that fed off of this."

After watching Dr. West's performance outside of the Washington landmark, Justino came up with the idea to perform a nationwide sit-in outside of federal Courthouses across the United States.

He announced the idea to his Move to Amend partners and they asked him to head the movement, which is now known as Occupy the Courts -- Move to Amend's declared national day of protest on January 20 (courts are closed on the 21st).

Justino was hesitant to accept the leadership position, since he had never before organized a movement on a national scale. "You better watch what you wish for, because you just might get it," Justino laughed.

Yet this week marks the success of an idea that spread nationwide. "At the beginning of November, we had only four cities participating," but as of Monday, "we have hit the hundred mark. It's success beyond my wildest imagination"

The nationwide Occupy the Courts demonstration on the 20th will put the spotlight on Move to Amend's 28th Proposed Amendment. It reads:

Section 1 [Corporations are not people and can be regulated]

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other 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 speech and can be regulated]
Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing 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.

Section 3
Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press

According to the Move to Amend website, Denver protestors will gather on the West Steps of the State Capital at 10:30 a.m. on the day of protest. The movement will march down the 16th Street Mall and finish at the United States Court of Appeals building at 18th and Stout Street. At its final destination, the group plans to duct tape the amendment to the Courthouse door. An after-party at the Mercury Café will follow.

Speakers expected at Occupy the Courts include Justino, former state senator Ken Gordon, Occupy Denver's Tanner Spendly and Elena Nunez from Common Cause.

Justino said he predicts a turnout of up to 1,000 demonstrators, depending on the weather. But a much larger projection is set for the coming years.

"Over the next year or two, I think it will grow to the point where politicians can't ignore it anymore," he says.

More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver and the Colorado Progressive Coalition take on Wells Fargo, Tom Donohue."


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Tryan27
Tryan27

 

As part of the Occupy movement, I realize that getting corporateand billionaire money out of politics is key to getting a government for the99% instead of the 1% who own most members of both parties of Congress rightnow.  Tactically speaking, though, I feel the way to make the change isnot to go back to many of the same corrupt incumbents who have been blockingreal campaign finance reform and public campaign financing, and expect them tovote for a Constitutional Amendment that would regulate where a majority oftheir campaign donations come from. The way to get money out of politics is touse our social networks to replace bribe-inducing TV ads and elect pro-99%candidates who refuse corporate money and promise to vote to ban corporatecampaign contributions. We need different politicians to pass different lawsand create a system that works for the 99%. That's why I like the ten"fresh democracy" candidates who launched this week with www.BeYourGovernment.org  . We need hundreds like them.THEY will VOTE TO AMEND in January 2013. Not the corporate bought politicianswe have in Congress now. 

                                              

BeYourGovernment.org supports the important policy objective of theMove to Amend effort, to end the corruption of our political system by hugecorporate donations. We feel that the most immediate and effective way ofbringing about this essential change is for we, the people, to use our socialand personal networks to become, and support, Congressional candidates who runwithout corporate money. A core transparency question for all candidates iswhether they will vote for an end to corporate funding of campaigns, and publiccampaign financing. We believe that electing many new members of Congress whorefuse corporate donations can help Move to Amend build a Congressionalmajority to get the buck out of the ballot once and for all. 

Anonymous
Anonymous

The logic that a corporation inherits the free speech rights of it's members is absolutely flawed.

I work for an incredibly powerful bank out of necessity. However, my political beliefs are in stark contrast to theirs. I agreed to work for a paycheck. Not to assign my campaign contribution rights nor to further the political agenda of my employer by contributing to their profitability. The game is rigged, it's time to cut the strings between politicians and corporate entities.

Albert
Albert

I'd add a few more things to the "proposed 28th Amendment"...

Really it's time to reign in on the power of all 3 branches.... 

No more violations of Constitutional rights for -----   reasonableness, safety, security, and judicial muster crap.... If they want to change, reduce, or receive more power from the U.S. Constitution, that must come in the form of a Constitutional Amendment.We have a system in place just for these situations,  but they're circumvented the process by going to the SCOTUS, and having them uphold Unconstitutional Legislation.  

It's really sad... when the First Amendment says CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW...... and they make many laws that violate the First Amendment. Obviously the congress shall make no law... isn't understood by the congress, and the courts. What else could we do???? Make the Ninth and Tenth Amendment have more meaning, and not let them decide it "really just doesn't exist" kind of attitude.

Cherri Dawson
Cherri Dawson

Freedom of speech.

Anonymous
Anonymous

...is NOT equivalent to corporate campaign contributions

Steve
Steve

So you are against freedom of speech when individual are acting under the banner of a corporation.

kirbini
kirbini

yes.

If they're speaking on behalf of the corp, then they are not speaking as an individual and their speech can thusly be regulated.  Kinda like it is now with advertising.

zengfoo
zengfoo

Sounds like a pretty good plan to me dude, lets hit it.

www.Total-Privacy dot US

Rick Casey
Rick Casey

And don't forget! There will be a short "street theater" play performed at the Mercury Cafe starting at 2:45pm. The title of the play is PERSON, INC, and it will tell the story of corporate personhood in America in just 15 minutes! The play is an original work written by Rick Casey, a volunteer with Move To Amend in Boulder. Come one, come all -- don't miss it!

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