According to U.S. law, corporations are “persons” under the law and are entitled to the constitutional rights and protections that we human beings have fought for and won over the centuries. This has created a crisis in our democracy, because of the huge power imbalance between corporations and regular human beings. Transnational corporations can harness their vast wealth to purchase media time and political power to use as a megaphone to drown out the voices of “we the people.”
Of course, everyone knows that corporations aren’t really persons. For one thing, corporations can’t dance. But we can! Rehearsals start on Wednesday, June 19, at 6 p.m. in Pioneer Park in Nevada City for the “Corporations Aren’t People” dance that we will be doing in the 4th of July parade.
This will be fun! Last July 4 our local Move to Amend group won third place in the Nevada City parade. This year the parade will be in Grass Valley, and our contingent will be bigger, more colorful, and will have even better music. It will be a parade within a parade. It will start with people carrying a big banner that says “Corporations are not people” and end with another that says “Money is not speech.” Our Move to Amend truck, “Bubba,” will carry children and play the Corporations Aren’t People song (adapted from Depeche Mode’s “People are People”). We will have as many dancers as possible–last year at least 20 of us danced. Others in our group will walk, carrying signs and passing out literature. A few “corporate persons” will be in costume as well. See us in last year’s parade video. You can also watch the full training video with Amous Lou, set in my living room with her kids playing around her. Join us or use the training video to prepare for a parade or a flash mob.
Our local Move to Amend group is part of the National Move to Amend coalition. We support the passage of a constitutional amendment that would make it clear once and for all that corporations are not persons and money does not qualify as free speech. We support the “We the People Amendment,” which has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
Corporations can’t dance. Nor do they breathe air or eat food or drink water. They can’t love or take action for the common good. Their only conscience is the bottom line. As John Steinbeck said in The Grapes of Wrath, “They breathe profits: They eat the interest on money.”
But we can dance, and we will. We will celebrate our humanity, our ability to love, our commitment to clean air, clean water, and clean food. And we will celebrate the “power of the people” and our determination to create a working democracy for the sake of the whole community of life.
(To find out more about our local group, go to our Nevada County Move to Amend website or our FaceBook page. Go to the national Move to Amend website for more information or to find a group near you. For more of my writings on this topic, see “They Breathe Profits” or “Democracy is for People.” Sign up if you want to receive notice by email of my blog postings.)