Yesterday marked a huge moral victory for the 99%: The city councils of Los Angeles, California, and Albany, New York, both voted to support constitutional amendments that would undo the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. Votes in both cities were unanimous.
In early 2010, five conservative Supreme Court Justices banned together to overturn a 60 year-old on corporate money in federal elections. The Citizens United decision effectively stated that corporations were entitled to the same rights and privileges as people, which meant corporations’ political contributions are a form of free speech.
Since then, Citizens United has allowed unlimited amounts of corporate money to flood the political system, driving yet another wedge between politicians and the people they are meant to serve.
“Every American should have an equal voice in their government,” said Council President Eric Garcetti, who co-sponsored the resolution with Councilman Bill Rosendahl. “But unless there are big changes, your voice is only as loud as your bank account. And its the big corporations that have the largest bank accounts of all.”
“The flood of corporate money since Citizens United is literally drowning our Democracy. It’s drowning the people’s voice in the government,” Garcetti added.
In Los Angeles, the site of so much government violence against Occupy Wall Street protesters, the vote took place before a packed Council chambers. When the unanimous vote was announced, Occupy L.A. members and other activists gave it a standing ovation.
Patch.com reports that “if supported by the mayor, the city would be on record in support of federal legislation that would ensure corporations are not entitled to the same rights as people, especially when it comes to spending money to influence elections. It also proposed language for a constitutional amendment declaring that money is not a form of speech and affirming the right of the federal government to regulate corporations.”
Image Credit: Flickr – uvw916a