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Fighting Corporate Personhood + Revoking Corporate Charters

Program #BOJO002-GROR002.

First Program: John Bonifaz – Fighting Corporate Personhood

Democracy, rule of the people, is in the ICU. The pulse, of the system of governance, begun in Athens, is fading. The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision declaring corporations are people and money is free speech may be the deathblow. But galvanized citizens are saying, Wait a second. The game is not over yet. Activists trying to reverse Citizens United were greatly encouraged by the December 30, 2011 Montana Supreme Court decision to uphold that state's century-old ban on corporate money in elections. The Montana ruling said, "With the infusion of unlimited corporate money in support of or opposition to a targeted candidate, the average citizen candidate would be unable to compete against the corporate-sponsored candidate, and Montana citizens, who for over 100 years have made their modest election contributions meaningfully count would be effectively shut out of the process."

Second Program: Richard Grossman - Revoking Corporate Charters

Corporations, Corporations. From ExxonMobil to Wal-Mart they dominate society and politics. Over the last 100 years corporations have accrued enormous economic power and legal standing. A corporation is licensed to do business. These licenses are called charters. In theory, when a corporation violates its charter, it can be revoked. That used to happen but not any more. And now corporate power has gotten a big boost. On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court, in Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission, ruled that there are no limitations on campaign contributions by both domestic and foreign corporations. Noam Chomsky calls the decision "a dark day in the history of U.S. democracy, and its decline." The ruling, "The New York Times," says "strikes at the heart of democracy" by having "paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections." 


Speaker(s):

John Bonifaz

John Bonifaz, recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, is a lawyer and activist. He is co-founder and director of Free Speech For People (www.freespeechforpeople.org), a national nonpartisan campaign working to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and the corporate rights doctrine. 

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