Return Our Democracy to the People
Occupy Natick supports a ballot initiative for Massachusets to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to declare that ‘Corporations are not People, Money is not Speech'”.. We encourage you to get on board to help push this through. There is lots of work to do to overcome the forces of the status quo.
In a Nutshell: The Highlights
- Why are you doing this? There are many reasons, but mainly to get the corrupting influence of large corporations and big money out of the political process.
- Is this about Citizens United? The Citizens United case is “Federal”. What we are doing applies to Massachusetts. But we are concerned about large amounts of money from outside our borders influencing our local elections.
- Given Citizens United, won’t the Supreme Court shoot down what you’re doing? We can amend the Massachusetts Constitution and the Supreme Court would not get involved until a law was passed, someone sued, and it could then go to the Supreme Court. It would be the early 2020s before anything to do with our Amendment would make it to SCOTUS. By then, SCOTUS, would not consist of the same Justices.
- Will businesses still be able to hold contracts and own property? The only rights that a corporation has in Massachusetts are granted by the Legislature through the Massachusetts General Laws and their charter. We consider our Amendment to be a clarification, which changes no law.
- What about Unions? The largest perceived problem with Unions is their spending of money to influence elections. Limiting Union money in elections is covered by Section 2 of our language, which includes all people and “entities”.
- Is this Move to Amend? No. Move to Amend is working on a Federal amendment. There are many different groups out there working on Federal Amendments. We feel that we are helping to jumpstart a process which will benefit all. Many people within Move to Amend are committed to helping our effort which includes the endorsement of Cape Cod MTA
- Why bother if we don’t know for sure if the “government” will let this happen? This is a DIRECT ACTION. It’s like protesting, except we are guaranteed a Supreme Judicial Court hearing as to whether corporations have constitutional rights or not in Massachusetts and whether money is considered speech. When we gather the required signatures (68,911 certified) if we were to lose in the SJC, remember this, every signature over the 68,911 required, adds volume to the voice of the people, putting pressure on our Representatives in the Statehouse to act. (We’re aiming for 90,000 signatures because that’s what experts tell us we need to get the “required” 68,911 “valid” signatures)
- Where can people find petitions? This is an “official” petition to make “binding law”. It’s not a lobbying petition. The petitions will become available from the state of Massachustts, on the second Wednesday of September, 2014. You’ll be able to get plenty of printed petitions and you’ll be able to download one and print from your site, as well.
- Will people be able to download a petition form to sign themselves, and/or get a few of their friends to sign? Absolutely! Absolutely! But they won’t be available til the second Wednesday of September 2014.
Why Amend the Constitution
“We have decided to follow this path because we feel that we have no other option. We tried to get the corrupting influence of money out of politics, in 1998 with a ballot initiative referred to as “Clean Elections Law”. It was passed by voters by a 2 to 1 margin. The initiative demanded that the Massachusetts Legislature act. But the Massachusetts Legislature refused to fund it and then ended it with a voice vote. It is obvious to us that the corrupting influence of money in our political process has left us with what we feel is our only option, the ballot initiative to “clarify” our Constitution. See more legal discussion here.
We have a VERY limited time to obtain almost 70,000 valid signatures in 2 months. The language would then need to be passed by two consecutive sessions of the Massachusetts Legislature with at least 25% approval. At that point the “ballot question” would be placed on the 2018 ballot.
Let it be known that amending the longest lasting document of its kind should not be easy. But we are prepared to make this journey. We come from Massachusetts, a state that led the way in one Revolution and is now being called upon to lead the way in another. It takes 2/3 of Congress to put forth an Amendment to the U.S Constitution with 75% of the states voting for it to be ratified. Let us help Massachusetts achieve another first for the good guys by passing this Amendment to our Constitution.” (Source)
Occupy Natick will have petitions available at our next movie night on September 15th at 7-9pm. In the meantime, here is a list of the ways that you can help.
Download, print and circulate this flyer: