Toting signs that said, “Corporations are not people! Money is not speech!,” about 50 Cleveland activists braved the frigid temperatures today to gather outside the Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse on Public Square to commemorate the second anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in the U.S. Supreme Court. That decision opened the floodgate to a gusher of corporate money in elections.
Several speakers, including Greg Coleridge of the American Friends Service Committee, Linda Park of Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice, and Cleveland city councilman Brian Cummins, spoke to the crowd about returning control of government to real people. Cummins said, “I’m a proud elected official. Corporations have sullied so many fellow politicians, they should be ashamed.” He talked about corporations writing laws in their favor, offering an immediate example. He pointed in the direction of the Higbee Building where the new casino is taking shape, and talked about how gambling promoters wrote their own rules into the state constitution, right down to the parcel numbers, and asked “How would you like to put your parcel number into the constitution?
The protestors were part of Occupy the Courts, sponsored by Move To Amend, which is pushing for a constitutional amendment to revoke corporate personhood. As part of a national day of observance, activists are holding demonstrations today outside federal courthouses in nearly 150 cities across the country. — Anastasia Pantsios