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People standing up to corporate power on Citizens United anniversary day

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People are taking action across the country to mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that corporate political spending is the same thing as real speech by real people.

Left unchecked, the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling will have grave consequences for our democracy. In last fall’s elections, corporate spending soared, and sources of outside spending were kept secret. This outside money was a major factor in 80 percent of the races where power changed hands.

Now, any lawmaker who is interested in standing against corporate interests has to figure out how to say ‘no’ to corporate lobbyists wielding the resources to replace him or her with a more corporate-friendly lawmaker.

But We, the People are mobilizing to fight back.

From Massachusetts to Oregon, Florida to Alaska, more than 100 demonstrations are being held throughout the nation.

Even a group of socially conscious business corporations, led by Ben & Jerry’s, is standing up to assert that we need a constitutional amendment to stop the corporate takeover of our democracy.  


Nearly a million concerned citizens have signed petitions calling on Congress to pass such a constitutional amendment — petitions that will be delivered to Congress at noon today (Public Citizen’s petition is at www.DontGetRolled.org).

If you’re participating in today’s actions, be sure to take pictures, make videos, blog and tweet about what you’re doing. You can share your photos, videos and other documentation with us by sending an email to action@citizen.org, sending a tweet to @Public_Citizen or posting it on our Facebook page.

A number of national and local groups will produce a series of events this week to mark the Citizens United v. FEC anniversary. In addition to a wide range of local events planned across the nation, a series of events will take place in Washington, D.C., to show the broad support for action—including amending the Constitution—to restore democratic power to citizens, not corporations.

Events include:

“Business for Democracy” Press Conference

Friday, January 21, 2011 9:00 to 9:30 a.m.

Public Citizen, 1600 20th Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen (moderator)

Ben Cohen, Co-Founder, Ben & Jerry’s

Jerry Greenfield, Co-Founder, Ben & Jerry’s

Jeffrey Hollender, Co-Founder, Seventh Generation and American Sustainable Business Council

Jim Hightower, National radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author

“We the Corporations vs. We the People” Rally

Friday, January 21, 2011, 11 a.m. to noon

U.S. Capitol (eastern side, Area 9)

Petition Delivery: Over 750,000 petitions from a Range of Organizations Calling on Congress to Amend the Constitution

Friday, January 21, 2011, noon

U.S. Capitol (eastern side, Area 9)

Panel Discussion: Reports on Impact of the Citizens United Ruling in 2010

Friday, January 21, 2011, 1:45 to 3 p.m

Washington Plaza Hotel, Federal Hall 10 Thomas Circle, NW

Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy

Marge Baker, People for the American Way

Douglas Clopp, Common Cause

Craig Holman, Public Citizen

Panel Discussion: Strategies for Addressing Corporate Personhood & the Corrupting Influence of Money in Politics

Friday, January 21, 2011, 3:10 to 4:25 p.m.

Washington Plaza Hotel, Federal Hall 10 Thomas Circle, NW

Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy (moderator)

David Cobb, Move to Amend

Monica Youn, Brennan Center for Justice

John Bonifaz, Free Speech For People

Adam Smith, Public Campaign

Address by Professor Lawrence Lessig

Friday, January 21, 2011, 4:30 to 5:45 p.m.

Washington Plaza Hotel, Federal Hall 10 Thomas Circle, NW

Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Transpartisan Dialogue on Corporate Power

Friday, January 21, 2011, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Studies

Tim Carney, The Washington Examiner

Arnold Kling, former Federal Reserve economist