May 8, 2012
Californians Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Get Corporate Money Out of Politics
Statement of Mary Zhu, Democracy Is For People Team Leader, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign
Note: Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign worked with California Assemblymembers Bob Wieckowski and Michael Allen to introduce a state legislative resolution calling for a constitutional amendment.
Today, I am proud to be a Californian. I’m here with people from across the Golden State on the steps of the California State House in Sacramento to show support for Assembly Joint Resolution 22 (AJR 22). This resolution calls upon Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, take democracy off the auction block and preserve constitutional rights for people – not corporations.
We’re here to show support for AJR 22 and to urge the state Senate to pass this resolution out of committee with a favorable vote and send it to the Senate floor.
Polls consistently have shown that a large majority of Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. So, these thousands of signatures do not represent the opinion of a fringe group, but are the large tip of an even larger iceberg.
The thousands of signatures on this petition calling for a constitutional amendment represent the voices of actual citizens, who are the “demo” of democracy. These people are asking for passage of AJR 22 in the only way voters can – one voice per person.
We hope that the California Legislature and the U.S. Congress will hear our collective voices over the loud influence of powerful money from industries.
Not one of the names on this petition refers to corporations such as Bank of America, BP or Morgan Stanley. Any child knows these are not people. And calling their legalized bribes “free speech” is a ridiculous notion that is replaces the “demo” of democracy with the “pluto” of a plutocracy.
Our American revolution was fought to free ourselves not only from the British crown, but also from the overbearing commercial interests of the Massachusetts Bay Company, the Hudson Bay Company and the British East India Company. It was the British East India Company, with its monopoly and duties on imported tea, that led to open rebellion and added the now infamous term “Tea Party” to our lexicon.
Let’s preserve our “demo”-cracy by rebelling against the powerful commercial interests of our day: the Big Oil money that keeps the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline alive in Congress despite widespread opposition. The Wall Street firms that reversed the Glass-Steagall Act, helped cause the 2008 financial crisis and have sought to block effective government regulation of the financial sector after the fact. And, the big insurance and pharmaceutical companies that dictated the terms of the Affordable Care Act.
We the People may be weak in comparison to these powerful interests when standing alone. But, standing together, we represent a strong voice speaking out against corporate rule and in favor of government for and by the people. So, today we’re asking the state Senate to join us in that effort by supporting AJR 22.
This petition gathering was led by CREDO Mobile, which generated a large portion of the signatures, and by Public Citizen, California Public Interest Research Group, Common Cause, California League of Conservation Voters and Free Speech for People, who have worked tirelessly for the passage of AJR 22.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.