Tonight, a chapter of the national Move to Amend movement is gathering to begin the first steps of a long campaign to overturn a recent court decision that says corporations are people who can spend unlimited amounts on political candidates and the troubling notion that money equals free speech.
Group organizer Ashley Sanders says the group is starting at the very local level in Salt Lake City by gathering signatures for a citywide petition that would create a municipal resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision that gave personhood rights to corporations.
“This isn’t just a feel-good resolution, where people say what they want and then go back to their jobs and lives,” says group organizer Ashley Sanders. She says the group will seek citywide resolutions this year before moving up to the county and state levels. “By the time states are calling for this and putting on real pressure, there are millions of people who know about the issue and are fighting for it,” Sanders says.
For the here and now, Sanders says all sorts of volunteers will be needed. Sanders says the group already has working groups that will work on media relations, performing street theater and, of course, the biggest task, signature gathering—since the group will need 9,000 signatures by April 15 to get on the ballot.
While the road is long and hard to get enough political momentum to reverse a Supreme Court decision, Sanders says time is what will be needed for the American public to realize the legal implications of giving corporations the ability to freely talk with their money and buy political candidates with impunity.
“If money is speech, then we have a plutocracy, not a democracy,” Sanders says. “Corporations can basically say we have a complete and total right to rule over you and make profits off of you, and all you have the right to do is to submit.”
Join the local Move to Amend movement tonight at the group’s first meeting, February 15, at 6 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Downtown Library, 210 E. 400 South, Conference Room B. Check back with the national Move to Amend Website for further details on the Salt Lake City chapter’s meeting times and future events.