By David Swanson
Congresswoman Donna Edwards’ bill proposing a Constitutional Amendment to deny corporations the free speech rights of persons in the form of unlimited election
bribery spending has now been cosponsored by: John Conyers, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jim McGovern, Keith Ellison, Chellie Pingree, Barbara Lee, Andre Carson, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Betty Sutton, Raul Grijalva and Ed Markey.
With the exception of Carson, these congress members are also all cosponsors of the Fair Elections Act, which seeks to address the fairness of our elections by providing public financing for campaigns.
Approaches to fixing the corporate ownership of our elected officials are proliferating, and many organizations and individuals will be backing more than one of them. Here are some of the courses of action already underway:
Congresswoman Edwards understands the need to build a popular movement better than any congress member I’ve seen before and is working to help build a campaign at http://freespeechforpeople.org Please go there and sign on, and then click on “Get Involved” to take further action.
We are eventually going to need to provide free media to campaigns, publicly fund campaigns, prevent the private funding of campaigns, require verifiable vote counting, open up ballot access to candidates, undo the gerrymandering, deny corporations rights that should belong only to real people, and much more. And to do some of the things we need to do we will have to amend the Constitution.
This means either winning over two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of states or winning over two-thirds of states to have a convention and three-quarters of states to ratify amendments. Whichever route we take is going to require state-level organizing and national coordination. We are going to have to win clean election reforms at the state level to produce better legislatures before we can do what needs to be done.
And as we do this, I think we will lose the horror many of us have of holding a Constitutional Convention. Even if such a convention does pass undesirable amendments such as a ban on marriage for some Americans, we can mobilize in 13 states to refuse ratification to that amendment.
If, however, we do not amend the basic structure of our Constitution, we are not going to have anything human or decent to look forward to in this country. No public financing law will allow us to outspend the corporations that have been unshackled by the US Supreme Court.
Let’s get to work. Twelve sponsors on an amendment in the House gets things started. Let’s have at least 24 by next week.