(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 26, 2013)
How much power should corporations have in the Democratic process? The recent Citizens United court decision gave unprecedented spending ability to big business interests, and across the country Americans are coming together to fight back.
This includes Ferndale.
At the Nov. 25 Ferndale City Council meeting, the three elected officials present passed a resolution as part of the consent agenda speaking out against corporate personhood and supporting a campaign to change the US Constitution to overturn the ruling. Councilpersons Melanie Piana and Mike Lennon were absent from the meeting, while Councilpersons Scott Galloway and Dan Martin supported the resolution along with Mayor Coulter.
“The greatest distorting force in the American political process is the virtually unlimited ability of corporate entities to spend money to influence politicians, write our laws and establish government policy,” said Galloway, who had requested the resolution. “American government at the State and Federal level is no longer responsive to the needs of the people they purport to serve, but instead are beholden to powerful corporations and industry groups that are only concerned with their narrow economic interests. It is time that the American people hit ‘reset’ and return our government to ‘we the people.’ The only way I see to accomplish this is to enact a constitutional amendment overturning the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United. Citizens and local elected bodies need to create pressure on politicians in higher elected office to make this happen. Ferndale’s resolution is a small contribution toward this effort.”
Ferndale is now included among the communities who support these changes. The resolution passed Monday states:
“Government of, by, and for the people has long been a cherished American value, and We, The People of the United States of America, have a fundamental and inalienable right to self-govern, and thereby secure rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, and;
Free and fair elections are essential to a democracy and effective self-governance, and;
Persons are rightfully recognized as human beings whose essential needs include clean air, clean water, medical care, housing, safe and secure food, and;
Corporations are entirely human-made legal fictions created by express permission granted through laws enacted by our government, and;
Corporations can exist in perpetuity, can exist simultaneously in many nations at once, and exist only to maximize their profits, and;
In addition to these advantages, the great wealth of large corporations allows them to wield undue influence and coercive force of law to overpower human beings and communities, thus limiting or denying the exercise of Constitutional rights and freedoms by humans, and;
Corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution, and We the People have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor have We decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of We The People of the United States, and;
The interpretation of the United States Constitution by the Supreme Court to include corporations in the term ‘persons’ has long limited or denied We The Peoples’ exercise of self- governance by endowing corporations with Constitutional protections intended for We The People, and;
The judicial bestowal of civil and political rights upon corporations usurps basic human and Constitutional rights guaranteed to human persons, and also empowers corporations to sue municipal and state governments for adopting laws that violate ‘corporate rights’ even when those laws serve to protect and defend the rights of human persons and communities, and;
Corporations are not and have never been human beings, and therefore are rightfully subservient to human beings and governments as our legal creations, and;
The recent Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision that rolled back the legal limits on spending in the electoral process creates an unequal playing field and allows unlimited spending by wealthy individuals, corporations and other entities to influence elections, candidate selection, policy decisions and sway votes, and forces elected officials to divert their attention from The Peoples’ business, or even vote against the interest of their human constituents, in order to ensure competitive campaign funds for their own re-election, and;
The judicial interpretation to construe spending money in political campaigns as Constitutionally protected speech is contrary of the notion of one person, one vote and allows those with the most money to have an unfair advantage in a political system that should be about ensuring that all citizens have equal access to the political process and to influencing the outcome of elections, and;
Large corporations own most of America’s mass media and use that media as a megaphone to express loudly their political agenda and to convince Americans that their primary role is that of consumers, rather than sovereign citizens with rights and responsibilities within our democracy, and this forces citizens to toil to discern the truth behind headlines and election campaigning, and;
Tens of thousands of people and municipalities across the nation are joining with the Move to Amend campaign to call for an Amendment to the US Constitution to Abolish Corporate Personhood and the doctrine of Money as Speech;
Therefore be it resolved that the City of Ferndale, Michigan hereby calls on our State and Federal legislators, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and President Barack Obama to join the tens of thousands of citizens, grassroots organizations and local governments across the country in the Move to Amend campaign to call for an Amendment to the Constitution to Abolish Corporate Personhood and the doctrine of Money as Speech and return our democracy, our elections, our communities to America’s human persons and to thus claim our sovereign right to self-governance.
Be it further resolved that the City of Ferndale, Michigan calls on other communities and jurisdictions to join with us in this action by passing similar Resolutions. Be it further resolved that the City of Ferndale, Michigan supports education to increase public awareness of the threats to our democracy posed by Corporate Personhood, and encourages lively discussion to build understanding and consensus to take appropriate community and municipal actions to democratically respond to these threats.
The City Council and Mayor direct the Clerk to distribute a copy of this resolution to all cities and townships in Oakland County, our County, State and Federal legislative delegations and United States Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”
For more information about the Move to Amend movement, visit https://movetoamend.org/.