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Occupy the Courts marks day of protest against corporate personhood

Categories: News, Politics

occupy-the-courts-ken-gordon.jpg
Ken Gordon
Occupy the Courts supporters met on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol at 10 a.m. holding signs that read "Corporations Are Not People" and "Restore Democracy" -- step one in their two-part protest of corporate personhood under the umbrella title Move to Amend. CleanSlateNow.org, Colorado Common Cause and Denver MoveOn Council all co-sponsored the event, timed to mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

Ken Gordon, a former state senator and founder of CleanSlateNow.org, addressed a group of some 100-200 people -- a smaller turnout than expected.

I caught up with Gordon after the speech, and he told me there's still a lot of work to be done to get "big money" out politics -- Occupy the Courts is only one part of it. "This isn't just about amending the constitution," he said. "It's about electing candidates who have values, who want to represent the people and not money."

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Ken gordon speaking at today's Occupy the Courts rally.
That's where his organization comes into play. "What Clean Slate Now is doing is talking to candidates and saying, 'We're going to help you if you don't take special interest money. We'll talk about you in a positive way, we'll help you get the message out and get elected,'" Gordon says.

The day continued with a surge in wind and a march down the 16th Street Mall to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Building at 1 p.m.

Speakers included Colorado Move to Amend's co-chair Steve Justino and Occupy Denver's Tanner Spendley. "We're working on these solutions of corporate personhood, but at the same time, we're going to have to stop shopping at Walmart. We're going to have to change our meaning of wealth and happiness," Spendley announced to a crowd of protesters. "We can't let it end with amending corporate personhood. We have to keep fighting."

The wind picked up and the crowd started to thin, so Justino decided to cut the speeches short and continue on with the program. Next stop: Up the steps and into the front hallway of the courthouse to turn in Move To Amend's 28th Amendment; read it below. Justino had the honor of passing off the amendment to United States Court of Appeals clerk.

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The movement doesn't stop at the courthouse, Gordon stressed. In his words, "We're going to work through the election cycle to help candidates get elected that won't take special interest money...because that's what people want. Once candidates see that's the way to win, there could be a tipping point."

Here's the text of the amendment:

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

More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Littleton launched with five-person general assembly."


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3 comments
ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

The average American’s vote is just a commodity now to be bought and sold between the wealthiest individuals and for profit corporations rather than a citizen’s support for politicians that work to bring reform and implement policy that ben...efits and protects the American worker and the national interest. The 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United verdict gave corporations and wealthy individuals the freedom to contribute money without limits to Super PACs, Political Action Committees (PAC), and without immediate disclosure. That's the problem.

NoCo Guy
NoCo Guy

This makes SOPA and PIPA look first amendment friendly. This bans freedom of association for everyone except the giant corporate media conglomerates.  . 

Steve Justino
Steve Justino

Thanks for your coverage of Move to Amend's OCCUPY THE COURTS - DENVER action.  I do have to take issue with your crowd estimate of "100 - 200", however.  We had over 300 people sign our 28th Amendment, and Senator Gordon and I both estimated the crowd to be 400 (+) at its largest.

All in all, it was a great day to see so many Coloradoans standing up for DEMOCRACY!

Steve JustinoCo-Chair, Colorado Move to AmendMove to Amend, National Action Coordinator, OCCUPY THE COURTS - 1.20.2012!

 

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