Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Update from Ultimate Civics

--- by Riki Ott

Many people have written to us asking what they can do to stand up for individual rights and help abolish corporate personhood.

This past fall, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee. Constitutional scholars consider this case to be the biggest threat to our democratic process as it could overturn the McCain Feingold Act, giving corporations and unions unlimited spending ability to influence elections from school board to zoning commissions to local, state, and federal elections. This would shred any remaining credibility of the election process and drown out voices of real people.

While scholars predict the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Citizens United, Justice Sotomayor stated, “[Judges] created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons. There could be an argument made that that was the court’s error to start with... [imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics.”

Sotomayor’s truth to power statement created an opportunity for Americans to seize the moment. Ultimate Civics (UC), led by organizer Riki Ott, worked with David Cobb (2004 Green Party presidential candidate) of Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC) to organize a “meeting of the minds” and discuss strategy to abolish corporate personhood. Members of UC, DUHC, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Alliance for Democracy, and other groups attended, while others like David and Fran Korten (Yes! Magazine) and Thom Hartmann (Thom Hartmann Radio Program) supported from afar.

A national coalition emerged from this meeting. Our goal is to amend the U.S. Constitution by affirming that only human beings have constitutional rights. In effect, this will abolish “corporate personhood” – artificial persons with human rights. We will launch our Campaign to Legalize Democracy in January when the Supreme Court issues a ruling in the Citizens United case.

In the coming weeks we will post opportunities for you to participate. Some groups may plan direct action around the verdict in the Citizens United case. If you are involved in any direct action, or if you are involved in creating a local ordinance limiting corporate power, please keep us informed by emailing amend@ultimatecivics.org

hat tip - Bob Martinson


curiouser said...

I wondered if the Alaskan bloggers knew Riki Ott. She is also the admin for the facebook group One Million Strong for the Separation of Corporation and State.



jim said...

Good luck amending the U.S. Constitution. Lobbyists rule. If they won't kill the amendment in Congress (where they almost certainly would kill it), all they'd have to do is kill it in 13 state legislatures.

Sorry for my cynicism, but there is no way fairness and respect for humanity over organized greed would prevail in our government.

Philip Munger said...


I've known Riki for over 20 years. I dedicated Sphinx Island Elegy to her in 1989.

jim said...


I'll bet you a painting this amendment will never see the light of day. And I paint better than you.

Philip Munger said...


That you do.

Riki's fighting the good fight - as she always has. But you're most likely right.

jim said...

Phil- Most of my heroes are losers. Courage often generates personal loss or sacrifice. If you look at the flip side, perhaps cowards often win.

AKjah said...

I knew of Riki from before the spill. All her involvement after that was the stuff we are proud of. Not much of a stretch for me to stand with these folks in this endeavor. As futile as it may seem.

alaskapi said...

Women's suffrage was futile- in the beginning.
We must begin... again.

Anonymous said...

I as a conservative can back this in general. I'm not crazy about corporations either. I certainly don't believe they should have the same rights as human beings.

I doubt that this will go anywhere as a constitutional amendment. The only way this idea of corporations as persons got to where it is now is because of the "living document" theory of the constitution.

But how far can we press this? ie... what is a human being? Do you have to be born first?

Anonymous said...

and the winner of best comment is......