Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Corporations are not people

North Bridge chapter member Michael Bleiweiss wrote this letter to his local paper, the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune.

To the editor:

Your Jan. 22 editorial praising the recent Supreme Court decision in Americans United v FEC shows just how far astray this newspaper has gone in its near fanatic support of anything that might favor Republicans.

This decision grants near total First Amendment rights to corporations as if they were people. However, they most emphatically are NOT. They are legal constructs created by charter for the sole purpose of making money for their investors.

Bit-by-bit, corporations have used their money to corrupt "our" political system and grab more and more power for themselves. It started in the 1850s with the removal of the requirement to have their charters periodically renewed by proving that they served a public good. Then came the 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad decision that a court clerk (who also just happened to be a railroad lawyer) interpreted as giving corporations constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment. Strangely, this became generally accepted. Then came the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision that money is speech (meaning that those with more money get more speech).

Finally, the travesty of the current Supreme Court decision outdoes them all. It will open the floodgates of corporate spending to sway elections in their favor and frighten legislators into supporting corporate-friendly policies for fear of being campaigned against.

However, there is still hope for our civil society. A movement has begun to pass a constitutional amendment that takes away the fiction of corporate personhood and allows only natural-born people to have constitutional rights.

No comments: