Occupy Florida groups take action on campaign finance, free speech rights
Occupy Orlando today launched an effort to end corporate personhood. According to a press release, Occupy Orlando today visited the office of state Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, “to present a formal letter asking for his support to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”
Occupy Orlando protesters are especially concerned with the January 2010 ruling in the infamous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the government can’t limit corporate spending on electioneering — opening the floodgates for independent groups to spend unlimited funds on campaign ads.
The Occupy Orlando push is being launched in conjunction with the national Move to Amend campaign, created to “end the illegitimate legal doctrines that prevent the American people from governing ourselves.” Move to Amend maintains that the Citizens United ruling granted corporations the same rights as natural persons, “entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government.”
Though the notion of “corporate personhood” was first established in the 1800s, the Citizens United case was a boon to the most powerful corporations in the country, and resulted in at least $300 million spent on political ads in the 2010 midterm elections. Political analysts say that number will be nothing compared to the amount spent on ads in 2012.
In addition to lobbying lawmakers to sign on to the effort, the Move to Amend campaign will include a one-day demonstration at federal courthouses across the country on Fri., Jan. 20.
Though the number of Occupy protestors has diminished in recent weeks, protesters across the state continue to demonstrate, even in small numbers.
Members of the Occupy Jacksonville movement sued the city in federal court last Tuesday over what they say are violations of free speech rights. The week prior, a city attorney warned protesters to remove their signs or face “remedial action.”
A small number of Occupy Jacksonville protestors attempted to disrupt a Newt Gingrich speaking engagement last month — chanting, “We are the 99 percent” while Gingrich spoke. In a video posted on YouTube, Gingrich is seen firing back at the protestors.
“Hold on. I want to answer you very directly,” Gingrich said. “There is no such thing in America as 99 percent. We are 100 percent Americans; we are all part of America.”
Gingrich himself is a multimillionaire. According to financial disclosure documents, Gingrich’s net worth was $6.7 million dollars in 2010, and possibly as much as $30 million if financial interests are factored in.