A local Green Party part of “Move To Amend” action in Long Island, New York

Excerpt from a letter by Move to Amend Brookhaven:

We are enthusiastic to share a very exciting development for Move to Amend – Brookhaven.

On Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 6:30pm, at the Brookhaven Town Board meeting, the Board members will have the opportunity to vote to support a resolution that calls for a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution that states “corporations are not people and money is not speech”. The citizens of Brookhaven will know unequivocally where each Board member stands on the issue of “Money in Politic$”.

Various Supreme Court rulings have opened the floodgates of unlimited, secret and unaccountable money in our political campaigns. Currently, corporations, unions, non-profits, foreign companies and/or governments, (anyone or any entity) can spend as much as they want, whenever they want, to either support or disparage American political candidates, anonymously. 80% of Americans, of all political persuasions, feel that these rulings simply put our American government up for sale to the highest bidder.

This is a non-partisan issue! At the meeting on December 18th, we encourage all supporters — Democratic, Republican, Independent, Conservative, Unaffiliated or Other — to be in attendance. [Note: The Green Party of Suffolk has supported Move to Amend Brookhaven. See post below]…

The thought process behind these resolutions is that if thousands of communities across the nation establish that they support this amendment then our federal and state elected officials can no longer ignore this issue. We must come together to affirm that Democracy should not be for sale!…

Do not hesitate to email us with any questions or concerns. Thank you and we hope you will seriously consider getting involved!

In Solidarity,

Steve Lupo + Lauren Carmichael
Move to Amend Brookhaven

_________________________________________

May 17th Green Party of Suffolk Announcement:

The Green Party of Suffolk has become a part of Move to Amend: Brookhaven (movetoamend.org/ny-brookhaven). Spearheaded by Lauren Carmichael, Brookhaven’s division of Move to Amend, like others throughout the country, is seeking to proclaim:

• Corporations and unions are not people and are not endowed with inalienable human rights.

• Money is not speech (money is property), and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.

• Communities have the right to protect, our land, our environment, our homes, our health, and all of our citizens (children, elders, workers, the sick and the poor) against actions which overturn our democratically enacted laws.

And so, to protect our democracy, our health, our lives, our families, our communities and our futures, we move to amend the United States Constitution to affirm that only real people – human beings – are sovereign and entitled to inalienable human rights protected under the Constitution.

According to Carmichael,

We at Move to Amend Brookhaven are committed to mobilizing, educating, and involving folks in our community to join us in asking our council members to show support for the 28th Amendment movement by passing a resolution that states that money is not speech (money is property) and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not the equivalent to limiting political speech; corporations and unions are not people and are not endowed with inalienable human rights. After researching what the Greens stand for, I came to the conclusion that the Greens are the party that can move our country forward. The Greens are not bought and sold by the corporations that are driving our country into a death spiral.

Dr. Jill Stein (jillstein2012.org), who is running for the Green Party’s Presidential nomination, also recently spoke about the movement.

Since 1996, the Green Party has called for a constitutional amendment to abolish the doctrine of corporate personhood. Greens have been ahead of the curve, but today, the curve has caught up with us, and now this movement for a constitution that serves we, the people, has gathered a historic momentum.

The Green Party’s US Senate candidate, Colia Clark (coliaclark.org) addressed the issue as such:

Corporations are not individuals. They have created this present disaster. As a candidate for the US Senate, I will campaign vigorously to prevent these corporations from interfering with campaign funding and controlling our government. I will work vigorously to make sure this legal fiction is wiped out of the law. Corporations are not human beings. Corporations are businesses. And they are in the business of making sure human beings do not have access to the electoral process.

The Green Party has been a consistent voice against corporate and government abuses”, said Roger Snyder, Green Party of Suffolk’s Chair. He went on to say that the Party is excited to join with citizen’s movements across the country, protesting corporate corruption. The Green Party of Brookhaven, a division of Suffolk County’s party, is an active Chapter that will be working closely with Lauren Carmichael, and other members and organizations that are currently part of the movement, to bring this amendment before the Town Board.

The above Green Party press release with photos and contact information can be found at onthewilderside: here.

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36 thoughts on “A local Green Party part of “Move To Amend” action in Long Island, New York

  1. Richard Winger

    If businesses don’t have rights, then every TV, radio station, newspaper, magazine, and newsletter, could be censored.

    The Citizens United decision did not say that corporations are persons.

  2. Zapper

    Individuals and groups of individuals, citizen groups, and even the Green Party need to use money to exercise their free speech rights.

    The ability to raise and spend money without regulation is an essential part of free speech.

    Go ahead. Try it. Get up tomorrow. Pick a message. How many people can you reach with that message without spending any money …

    … no telephone, no advertising, no direct mail, no letters, no press releases, no letters to the editor, no internet, no printed literature, no using buses, taxis, subways …

    As for corporations, they are merely groups of individuals in a particular association for mutually beneficial purposes, no different from the Green party or any other voluntary group.

  3. George Whitfield

    Corporations are made up of people who voluntarily associate together in them. As such corporations and any other groups should have rights.

  4. Jed Siple

    I’ll agree with the Green Party that corporations are not people when they also agree that unions, parties, grassroots groups, etc. are not people.

  5. Jed Siple

    Oops didn’t meant to include unions in with that. is supposed to say:

    “I’ll agree with the Green Party that corporations & unions are not people when they also agree that parties, grassroots groups, etc. are not people.”

  6. Green_Liberal

    You can’t say that money=free speech will give you a fair process if all the money is in the hands of the 1%! Money as free speech in conditions of inequality means legislated inequality. The best defense free speech=money advocates can make is that this would be the least of all evils.

    In fact, there is are far better solutions. Expropriate the cable news and terrestial networks! Turn the networks over to people’s co-operatives allowing the people to get their message out without having to rely on the rich to finance them.

    The second part of the solution involves actually educating the people in civics and government (and especially, how they can find out information and why they shouldn’t trust cable news) rather than turning History and Government classes over to incompetent and ignorant football coaches.

    In sum I’m not sure we can get money out of politics, but we can make political communication more democratic if we give the means of communication to the demos.

  7. Richard Winger

    #9, the answer is equal and fair public funding for candidates. It is not necessary for a candidate to have more money than any of his or her opponents to win. Jesse Ventura was elected the Reform Party Governor of Minnesota in 1998 even though he had only one-tenth as much money as either of his major party opponents. His money came from Minnesota’s fair and equal public funding program. We should work for that; we should not work to shrink the First Amendment.

  8. Be Rational

    @9 ‘… turning History and Government classes over to incompetent and ignorant football coaches …”

    An ironic comment given that this is a direct result of turning the education system over to the government. Government schools are a disaster and total failure around the world.

    It is in government schools that the uneducated and incompetent are overpaid, underworked and given exclusive control of the education of the overwhelming majority of our children. This socialist disaster comes after ripping off their parents so they can’t afford and the free market is therefore unable to offer cheaper and better year round education with smaller class sizes and more qualified teachers.

    Abolish public education, deregulate teaching and private schools, eliminate all taxes on income and especially on property and I will offer schools at lower cost with a maximum class size of 5, with better educational materials, higher quality teachers and better educated students as an outcome.

  9. Be Rational

    @9 “… Expropriate the cable news and terrestial networks! ”

    Your football coach really left you ignorant of the world.

    In the history of the world, government control of the media through expropriation or any other means has never lead to increased freedom of communication or the press. Just the opposite.

    Government ownership of any element of the means of freedom of expression has always resulted in curtailed freedom of speech and the press in every country where it has been tried.

    Even Richard Winger’s comment about public funding of cadidates would, if implemented, have disasterous consequences as a curtailment of liberty.

    In fact, his own additional comment: ” It is not necessary for a candidate to have more money than any of his or her opponents to win…” and his reference to the success of Jesse Ventura proves that public funding is not needed.

    If the Greens of Libertarians are ever ready for the center ring in the political circus, the necessary funding and media coverage will come in a free market of ideas and a free market of voluntary campaign funding.

  10. Richard Winger

    #12, can you give examples of disasters? Was it a disaster for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein to receive some public funding this year? Is there anything disastrous about Maine’s public funding program or Arizona’s public funding program? They aren’t perfect but I think they do more good than harm.

  11. Deran

    As far as I have read states, counties and municipalities are not considered “persons” in the sense of “personhood” has been granted by courts to corporations. Churches are not considered to have “personhood” either. I mean legally speaking as far as a constitutional right to donate money to a political campaign.

  12. Green_Liberal

    @12
    People’s control is not government control. The debates, the news, and control of television are in the hands of the corporations… just like our government. They don’t even pay rent for the public airwaves–given their uniformity…it’s a disgrace and an embarrassment to the USA.

    If we want a decent political system, we need free expression of ideas, rather than manufactured corporate consensus.

    It’s not necessary to nationalize the press; it’s simply necessary to provide venues where minority views can be heard. Rational self-interest tells us we need venues where we can discuss our future without being unduly influenced by the interests/power of capital. Sigh, that very notion may sound like a horrible injustice to the brainwashed libertarian…

    Fortunately, the Internet can provide a medium, once we are ready. If it’s remains (more or less) free.

    Corporate media is a monopoly and its time to break it up.

  13. Green_Liberal

    @10

    what worries me is giving public funding to the Democrats and the Republicans.

    I think we need electoral reform just as much as we need campaign finance reform.

    I fear a situation like in many European nations where campaign financing entrenches parties and can keep new parties from emerging. But I’ll agree with you that for all their faults these systems are preferable to our corporate-financed elections.

    What I would want in campaign finance law is a means of determining what parties deserve funding, depending on their support. That would require something like the first round of an IRV election, where you get to see the real numbers prior to any strategic voting.

    Giving the Dems or GOP the vast majority of that money doesn’t sound all that great. One way to sweeten that raw deal would be to require them to open up their books and offer complete financial transparency in exchange for the funding.

  14. kimberlywilder06@yahoo.com

    Re: Richard Winger’s comments at Comment #1:

    quote – If businesses don’t have rights, then every TV, radio station, newspaper, magazine, and newsletter, could be censored.

    K: You could still have the special freedoms that the press is entitled to. Freedom of the Press has its own separate part of the 1st Amendment. Businesses should not have the same rights as human beings. Businesses are Frankenstein entities. The people in them can have rights without the corporation or business itself having rights. Businesses do not get the “death penalty” or “jail time” for doing things wrong. So, they should not get the privileges of live human beings, either.

    quote – The Citizens United decision did not say that corporations are persons.

    That is a twisted statement. Citizens United did not say “Corporations are persons”. But Citizens United uses the premise that corporations are people, by giving them the rights that we, as real, live American citizens have. The decision did worse than say corporations are people. It assumed that corporations are people. And, set the precedent that corporations should continue to be given all the privileges of people.

  15. johnO

    Green Party should run someone for N.Y.C. Mayor race next year. If Colia Clark lives in city then obvious choice to run.

  16. Be Rational

    18 Green_Liberal // Dec 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    ” … what worries me is giving public funding to the Democrats and the Republicans …” ”

    “… What I would want in campaign finance law is a means of determining what parties deserve funding, depending on their support …”

    So, you haven’t yet begun and you already want to restrict free speech. You want to control who gets funding and censor others. Imagine what kind of a fascist you would turn out to be if given power.

    This is why we have to leave campaign funding and freedom of speech in the free market.

    Government must be removed from the marketplace of ideas.

  17. Be Rational

    kimberlywilder06@yahoo.com // Dec 17, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Re: Richard Winger’s comments at Comment #1:

    quote – If businesses don’t have rights, then every TV, radio station, newspaper, magazine, and newsletter, could be censored.

    “K: You could still have the special freedoms that the press is entitled to. Freedom of the Press has its own separate part of the 1st Amendment. ”

    Freedom of speech and press belongs to everyone, not just reporters, newspapers, TV and radio stations, other publishers and the Internet.

    Some may own pieces of the public communications channels, but everyone has the right to secure voluntary funding and make use of the available channels of communication through voluntary means.

    Why are so many Greens actually fascists?

  18. Be Rational

    Richard, your comments @14 are how we get to the disasters. Why not adopt a small income tax (1913) of only 1% on the top 1% of wage earners … it will do more good than harm, right?

    All public campaign funding should be repealed.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    19 KW: Businesses are Frankenstein entities.

    me: Few Libertarians would acknowledge or even entertain this statement, but I do. Certainly this applies to the corporate form, but it could even apply to other business forms as well.

    Beyond liability protections, it’s the case that an employer wields disproportionate power over an employee. We certainly seen that corporations can be bad actors, and through a variety of means, can all-but-force an employee to “go along” with unethical and sometimes illegal behavior. Since labor markets are not perfectly liquid, employees are often put in awkward positions, positions that challenge their sense of integrity and propriety.

    Still, with that said, it seems equally if not more true that governments are Frankenstein monsters, too.

  20. Green_Liberal

    [quote]So, you haven’t yet begun and you already want to restrict free speech. You want to control who gets funding and censor others. Imagine what kind of a fascist you would turn out to be if given power.[/quote]

    I’m not interesting in restricting free speech–though you certainly are. The label “fascist” describes your (corporatist) views, and others who defend the 2-party sham and the concentration of power in the hands of the few.

  21. Richard Winger

    #19, the Fifth Amendment says “Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Do you think that applies to corporations? And if your answer is “yes”, then what is the difference between that part of the Fifth Amendment and the free speech part of the First Amendment? And if you say “No”, then it sounds as though it is constitutional for government to confiscate corporate property and not even pay for it.

  22. Jeremy C. Young

    Alan Keyes said it best way back in 2000: if you can’t walk into a voting booth and cast a vote for a candidate, you shouldn’t be able to give that candidate campaign money.

  23. Richard Winger

    #28, the US Supreme Court has already struck down the part of the McCain-Feingold law that made it illegal for people under age 18 to give any money to a candidate for federal office. And a lower court struck down a similar state law in Florida concerning donations to political parties. The plaintiff was a 17-year-old student who wanted to buy a ticket to attend a party fundraising dinner.

  24. Jeremy C. Young

    Right, but I’m not talking about what’s already in the Constitution, I’m talking about the sort of constitutional amendment I’d want to pass. I’d be comfortable with Jill Stein’s “Corporations are not people, and money is not speech,” but I think the most important part of the equation is that corporations may be people, but they are not citizens or voters, and are therefore not entitled to free speech. I’d support pretty much anything over what we’ve got now — a change in the Supreme Court overturning Citizens United, or a variety of constitutional amendments. But what we have now is rich guys like Ron Johnson and Rick Scott literally buying elections. As a supporter of big government, that’s not something I can get behind.

  25. Mark Axinn

    The “corporations as persons” argument is well-established in American common law. Lewis Powell argued it in the 1960′s for clients of his before he was a federal judge. The Supreme Court has acknowledged that position for at least 40 years.

    But really a corporation is a fiction. Make it a partnership or limited liability company. Would that make a difference? Make it a political party, a homeowner’s association, the local Kiwanis Club. They are all just groups of people. Is a trust a person? How about a Girl Scouts troop? Is the Green Party entitled to freedom of speech? How about the American Nazi Party?

    BTW, most corporations consist of fewer than five shareholders. Would you restrict their speech or only the big ones? Which big ones? Merck? Pfizer? Johnson & Johnson? Or just Halliburton and Lockheed Martin?

    Very slippery slope when you start restricting freedom of speech for those with whom you disagree.

  26. Be Rational

    The really loony and illogical part of this anti-corporate speech argument is that the rich people you think you are hurting (and yes, it is rich PEOPLE you want to hurt) can give and spend unlimited amounts of personal funds anyway.

    The people you are actually hurting are the average citizens who are the owners or members in the groups which you wish to exclude from the right to freedom of speech.

    If you restrict the right of groups to free speech, you are restricting the individual members of those groups. It is the poor and middle classes who are most benefited by such group speech and they – yes, actual people – are the ones that such fascist Green attempts at social control are aimed at – even if the individual Greenies advocating these evil policies are incapable of discerning what they are doing.

  27. Jeremy C. Young

    Mark @30, I don’t think any of the groups you mention should have the ability to spend money on politics, except for the Green Party and the American Nazi Party, because they are incorporated political parties. Parties, candidates, and citizens should be the only people allowed to spend money on politics.

    Regarding Be Rational’s comments @31, the solution to that problem is individual contribution limits, which McCain-Feingold did very well. But to be perfectly honest, at the moment I would actually prefer unlimited individual spending to unlimited corporate spending. At least when Sheldon Adelson directly buys an election for his preferred candidates, voters can see exactly who is doing what. When a shadowy organization does it, the transparency of the vote-buying is lost.

    What I really favor is public financing only, with equal time and money given to all ballot-qualified candidates. But again, I would prefer just about anything to the Citizens United system we have now.

  28. Be Rational

    @32 We still have individual contribution limits to campaigns.

    We have never had, because it is unconstitutional, limits on individuals spending their own money to spread their own message.

    You keep demonstrating how you don’t know the facts nor understand the issues.

    Funny how the bedfellows you have chosen define you. You would give Greens and Nazis the right to speak, but deny farmers the same opportunity through their co-0ps, union members through their unions, and worker-owners of businesses their right through their business, the ACLU would be silent because it’s incorporated but all hail the Green and Nazi parties and their free speech.

    Freedom of speech is an absolute right and government has no right to infringe upon it, ever, no matter who is speaking or paying for the message, nor what the message may be.

  29. Jeremy C. Young

    This has nothing to do with “knowing the facts or understanding the issues,” as I’m discussing what laws I’d pass if I had control of the government, not what is currently legal/constitutional. But I appreciated the ad hominem attack — you’ll forgive me if I don’t respond in kind.

    In my view, an organization is not a person. It cannot walk into a voting booth and cast a vote, apply for citizenship, or raise a child. Accordingly, it should not have the right to influence the political process. We are a nation of people, not of organizations; our liberty should be individual, not collective.

  30. Kimberly Wilder

    Besides the arguments about spending limits, I think there is another part to the argument…I don’t even know if the Move To Amend stuff addresses it…Even if organizations or corporations should have the right to spend lots of money in the political process, should they have the right to do so anonymously? Some of the newer campaign decisions seem to allow or promote unaccountable and anonymous donations. That is unfair to transparency in our democracy, and that is a set up for secretly buying off politicians.

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