Protestors advocating to abolish “corporate personhood” gathered at the Capital Building on Saturday. The demonstrators were part of a group called Move to Amend, an online community of activists. KTOO’s Danny Peterson has more.
Saturday’s protest coincided with the two-year anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, a ruling that protects corporations under the 1st amendment from government restrictions on independent spending for political causes.
Corporations were first granted the same legal rights as people in an 1886 Supreme Court decision, one that protects corporations under the 14th Amendment equal protection clause. Move to Amend wants to reverse this Supreme Court decision through state and eventually national reform. To voice their cause in an approachable way, protest organizer Christina Mounce performed a satirical play on the street.
“Comedy is a lighthearted fun way to get out your message without screaming, or yelling, or intimidating people,” says Mounce.
The play imagines an encounter between a person and a corporation. The person and talking corporation debate, and the position of the Move to Amend group becomes obvious.
Mounce said the goal of Move to Amend is to have bills passed stating that your community does not want corporations to have the same rights as people. She chose the capital building to protest because of the current legislative session. Representative Scott Kawasaki has filed House Bill 244, an anti-corporate personhood bill that is currently in the House Judiciary Committee. The Move to Amend protestors want this bill to be scheduled.
“So we’re out here to let our presence be known and we’re gonna start talking to representatives to try and get this bill passed through,” Mounce says.
Protestor John Duncan said more people should educate themselves about the bill.
“Try to get educated and connect with people and get on to this foundational issue,” says Duncan.
Demonstrator Buck Lindekugel said the concept of corporate personhood is a contradiction.
“It’s an oxymoron. Corporations are creatures of statute, they are not persons,” says Lindekugel. “Natural people are the only ones who should enjoy constitutional rights under the US constitution.”
Mounce will be holding a community meeting discussing the topic on Feb 2nd from 6pm to 8pm at the downtown library.