Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Riki Ott: 4 Positive, Practical Steps for Responding to Citizens United

It’s easy to get cynical and discouraged by the Supreme Court ruling that:

  • IF corporations = people
  • THEN the Bill of Rights must apply to corporations, AND
  • IF money = speech (???)
  • THEN restricting corporate “soft” money in politics restricts the First Amendment rights of an individual (an individual who can’t be tried for a crime or sentenced to prison, of course).

Easy to get discouraged, yes. Understandable to be disgusted with the whole system, yes. But not constructive. Author Riki Ott has some practical steps you can take to get up off the floor, dust yourself off, and do something with your anger and frustration.

From YES! magazine:

First, BREATHE deeply and look out a window.

If you can’t see a mountain, river, forest, wetland, ocean, prairie, tundra, or even a patch of sky, close your eyes and imagine it. We aren’t any good for anything if we’re in a panic or funk.

Second, GET INFORMED.

Citizens United is merely the last straw in a haystack of (successful) corporate attempts to extend corporate constitutional “rights” to corporate persons.

The expansion of corporate rights began over 200 years ago as the anti-corporate fervor from the American Revolution began to fade. The U.S. Supreme Court blurred the distinction between  “natural persons,” or real, living human beings, and “artificial persons”—corporations—in 1886 when it conferred the 14th Amendment right of “equal protection of the laws” to an artificial person, a railroad corporation, in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Since then, the Supreme Court has handed out other human rights to artificial persons (corporations), including the battery of First Amendment rights leading to Citizens United.

Since Santa Clara, literally hundreds—perhaps thousands—of local, state, federal, and international laws that attempt to protect our environment, our elections, our safety and health, and our right to organize have been overturned as a result of this doctrine. Armed with human rights and legal privileges, corporations have amassed enormous wealth and power and disabled democracy within all three branches of our government.

Read the whole article here.

 

Related Articles:


Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..

Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. “Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its […] Read More..

Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives? In What We Think About When […] Read More..