By David Swanson
David Segal is a candidate for Congress from Providence, R.I. who is not only running as a real person, but running against permitting corporations to claim the rights of persons. Recently the Providence Journal reported:
“Segal said he just introduced a resolution calling for a federal Constitutional Convention to address the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which held that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. ‘Our democracy belongs to the people, not to corporate interests,’ he said.”
Here’s someone running for Congress who will support congressional efforts to amend the Constitution to undo corporate personhood and the equating of money with speech, but who — as a member of the state legislature in Rhode Island has already done something that, to my knowledge, no one in any other state government has done: propose a national Constitutional Convention. While we haven’t done this for two and a quarter centuries, it is far more likely the way in which we will reform our government than advancing our cause within Congress — unless we elect a great many David Segals. Theoretically, we could.
David Segal, RI-01, Providence, Democrat, has a primary September 14th, and is one of 76 congressional candidates who stand out for having resisted one of the most fiercely promoted corporate agenda items. Thus far 76 candidates have sworn they will oppose all funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among the 76 are six Democrats who have primaries this Tuesday in California. Here is how they are listed at the Coalition Against War Spending with links to their statements and videos on that particular topic:
Clint Curtis CA-04, northeast corner, Democrat | Statement
Les Marsden, CA-19, Yosemite/Mariposa, Democrat | Statement
Marcy Winograd, CA-36, Los Angeles, Democrat | Video
William Hedrick, CA-44, Riverside/San Clemente, Democrat | Video
Ken Arnold, CA-46, Orange and L.A., Democrat | Statement
Tracy Emblem, CA-50, San Diego, Democrat | Statement
But these candidates are also opponents of corporatism more broadly. Here’s Marcy Winograd back in January:
I have always supported fair elections and pushed for campaign finance reform. Last week’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission sets back fair elections and campaigns as we know them.
This is not the path to responsible politics.
Despite the fact that corporations have been granted the same rights as actual people, they do not always have the people’s interest in mind, and exist largely to turn a profit. Their involvement in thwarting health care reform and financial oversight has long been a blight on our democracy. To have unlimited corporate intrusion threatens to turn our Congress into a free-for-all for lobbyists.
Despite the strong leadership of Rep. Alan Grayson and others, the campaign to strip corporations of personhood will take time. Meanwhile, we must stop the river of corrupt money flooding the halls of Congress.
The simplest way to do this is to stop electing corporate shills like my opponent – and combat corporate money with our own contributions on behalf of progressive candidates. We don’t need to match my opponent’s $$$ from corporate PACS, only raise the needed funds to pay for a winning field operation that includes a bustling headquarters to anchor our phone banking and precinct-walking.
I have challenged candidates to step up to the clean money plate and refuse to accept corporate contributions. I have also asked that Jane Harman return $34,000 in contributions she received from military contractors, an industry she directly oversees.
The San Francisco chronicle has identified my race against Jane Harman as one of seven “Key 2010 House Races”, and we must show the rest of the country that we mean business, and not Harman’s kind of business.
I refuse to accept corrupt corporate PAC money and will continue to fight for fair elections.
It is because of your generosity that I have been able to keep up with Jane Harman’s corporate-sized campaign budget. Now, in addition to that, we must mobilize against possible corporations spending their own cash to run ads directly supporting her.
And here’s Marcy’s opponent, incumbent and corporate shill Jane Harman searching for votes over the weekend. Notice the signs: