“Maybe we ought to start thinking and acting like we’re in a crisis. Do you know why I think we ought to start thinking and acting like we’re in a crisis? Because we’re in a crisis! This is a crisis right now! It’s happening! It’s an ecological crisis — worldwide. It’s an economic crisis — worldwide. It’s a social justice crisis — worldwide.
“But I don’t want you to get freaked out about it,” he continued, combining the hellfire of an old-time fundamentalist preacher with the radical vision of a 1930’s Dust Bowl agitator and the deadly logic of the skilled lawyer that he once was. “The reality is that there are a series of interlocking, connected crises coming down. The urgency of this moment cannot be overemphasized. But don’t get too freaked out because I want to remind you that in the Chinese language where they use symbols for words, the symbol for crisis is also the symbol for another word: opportunity. I submit to you that as scary as this is, it is also providing us an opportunity to transform how our social, political and economic institutions operate. We actually have it within our power to recreate the world.”
From there he launched into a mesmerizing educational tour de force, defining first the concept of legal personhood, carefully noting, “Legal personhood means the ability to assert rights, the ability to assert rights under law. I hope you see immediately that legal personhood is not a legal technicality. The question of who gets to assert rights in any society is important. Let’s be really explicit. The ability to assert rights has been at the core of every social movement in this country, from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage to the trade union movement to the civil rights movement. It matters.”
Move to Amend goes to the heart of this. In asserting that corporations — under the guise of corporate personhood — had the right to free speech, and that the right to spend unlimited money was a form of speech, the Supreme Court, in its 2010 Citizens United decision, struck down campaign financing restrictions across the board, ruling that restricting corporate contributions to political campaigns was unconstitutional since it would restrict their rights as “persons.” Move to Amend is going for the throat: “We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”
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