Friday, March 4, 2011

The Story of Citizens United

Annie Leonard, one of my eco-heroes due to her public education work with The Story of Stuff project, just released another film: The Story of Citizens United vs. F.E.C.: Why Democracy Only Works When People are in Charge! (video embedded below)

In the film, she explores the history of corporations. In the beginning, they were used as a sort of short-term contractor for building things like bridges and railroads. After these projects were complete, the corporations were disbanded. Not so today, where corporations exist indefinitely with the purpose of maximizing profits, often at the expense of people and the planet.

Fast forward to 2010, when corporations fought to be granted the US First Amendment right to free speech, as though they were people. By winning this Supreme Court case, they were given a green light to spend as much as they wanted to influence elections, including intimidating and crushing candidates running on a platform against their interests. In other words, since 2010, corporations have played a big part in getting policymakers elected who give them what they want: being subjected to as few government regulations as they can get away with.

Outraged by this decision, the public is asking for a constitutional amendment that would exclude for-profit corporations from the protection of First Amendment rights, and a bill is in the works to allow for public financing of campaigns so that candidates without corporate backing stand an equal chance at getting elected. Don't lose hope, take action!

Please watch the film and spread the word, then leave comments below.


  1. This is one of those "Too depressing not to be true" things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the free-market (or the illusion of it) at the best of times, but I don't understand how people can be proponents of it when stuff like this happens.

    I hope the constitutional amendment goes through!

  2. Yes, the free market tends to regulate itself well in theory but not so much in practice. We're not much better off in Canada. Our mixed system is slowly but surely moving over to the dark side. We've got to keep fighting.