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Undue Influence 

Corporatocracy and the movement to amend the Constitution

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Americans across the political spectrum are suffering. Families have lost jobs and homes while struggling to meet basic needs, and seniors have lost retirement savings while "safety nets" are under attack. Education has been cut to the bone, and a generation of college graduates, already deeply indebted, struggles to find work.

We look to our government for recourse from this disaster and we witness systems corrupted by corporate cash. Our voices are drowned out by lobbyists as corporate money flows freely into political coffers. Gridlock has become a political ploy, holding essential human needs hostage to special interests. A small group of radical Republicans in the House of Representatives, backed by several billionaires, have no reservations about shutting down our government and threatening the global financial system. Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, but to roll back all progressive legislation, including Social Security and Medicare.

The key factor in this scenario is the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision that overturned legislation restricting the use of corporate money in federal elections, declaring that such restrictions violated free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. This decision allows a small group of billionaires to dictate public policy. In the face of such power, what can we do?

David Cobb, former Green Party presidential candidate and passionate spokesman for the Move to Amend Coalition, offers a path to reclaim our democracy by supporting a constitutional amendment that states corporations are not people, and money is not speech. This amendment strips corporations of First Amendment rights that belong only to the people. If it becomes the law of the land, it nullifies Citizens United and allows regulation of corporate cash into our government.

On Nov. 13, Cobb will let us know where we are in the struggle, what has been accomplished so far and what is left to accomplish. He will also help us spread the word in our community so that all citizens understand what is at stake. Join us at the Grange Hall, 6000 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, at 7pm.

Anna Jacopetti is an organizer with Move to Amend Sonoma County who lives in Santa Rosa.

We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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