Huffpost DC

Occupy DC Passes Corporate Personhood Resolution

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A sign found at the Occupy DC encampment in McPherson Square.
A sign found at the Occupy DC encampment in McPherson Square.

WASHINGTON -- Occupy DC's General Assembly passed a "corporate personhood resolution" on Saturday calling for a constitutional amendment ending the "judicial fiction of corporate Constitutional rights."

The resolution calls on Congress to "enact" the amendment (though it should be noted that Congress can't actually enact a Constitutional amendment on its own -- once two-thirds of both houses vote for the amendment, then the states also have to ratify it).

The proposed amendment would also require "Congress to regulate campaign finance" and would mandate "public financing of public elections." The resolution contains other "non-amendment solutions" for untangling money and politics as well:

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court decided in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that independent spending on elections by corporations and other groups could not be limited by government regulations. This decision is only the latest in a long line of judicial rulings that have invented the legal doctrine of corporate personhood, affording corporations the same constitutional rights as people. The corrupting influence of money in politics, exacerbated by corporate personhood, subverts democracy. The Supreme Court has enshrined corporate personhood and interpreted the First Amendment to prohibit Congress from regulating money in politics. The only way to reverse these rulings is an amendment to the Constitution.

We support an amendment that does the following:

Ends the judicial fiction of corporate Constitutional rights.
Requires Congress to regulate campaign finance.
Mandates public financing of public elections.
We also support these non-amendment solutions:

Ending the revolving door between lobbyists and the executive and legislative branches of the government.
Restructuring the Federal Election Commission to give it prosecutorial power and neutral, non-political commissioners.Requiring the disclosure and complete transparency of all independent political expenditures.
Banning lobbyists from acting as either fundraisers or bundlers.
We implore the DC city council, the Maryland legislature, the Virginia legislature and all legislative bodies to pass resolutions calling on Congress to enact an amendment and other solutions.

We call on all people to exercise their civic duty by taking action, where possible, against corporate personhood and the corrupting influence of money in politics without waiting for the government to fix itself.

Occupy DC reserves the right to oppose an amendment or other solution even if it adheres to the provisions above.

Consent to this proposal does not require that an individual be completely in line with every piece of the proposed solution.

This concern is one of many that Occupy DC will address. More solutions are forthcoming.

Occupy DC is planning to participate in "Occupy the Courts," a one-day protest taking place on Friday at the Supreme Court, as well as at other federal courts around the country. Citizens United was decided on Jan. 21, 2010.

Occupy DC also plans to ask the District of Columbia Council to pass an anti-corporate personhood resolution, similar to the resolutions passed by the New York City Council and the Los Angeles City Council.

Historical sidenote: The last amendment to become part of the U.S. Constitution is the 27th Amendment. This amendment says that if Congress votes to give itself a pay raise, the raise doesn't take effect until the following Congress (in other words, if the 112th Congress votes for a pay raise, the 113th Congress gets the raise). The amendment was first introduced in 1789. It became fully ratified in 1992.

Flickr photo by takomabibelot, used under a Creative Commons license.

RELATED VIDEO: The trailer for "Hillary: The Movie" -- the film at the center of the Citizens United lawsuit.