November 13, 2011
Missoula isn't alone in its call for people to have more power than corporations in politics, and a new book called "Corporations are not People" talks about how the balance tipped the other way over the past three decades.
"Democracy in America has never been easy, and it's always been challenging," said author Jeff Clements in a recent interview. "I hope people read the book and feel like we can do something. We don't have to accept America in decline."
Missoula appears to wholeheartedly agree with the premise of the book. In Tuesday's election, 75 percent of voters here urged an amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "The citizens of Missoula, Montana, hereby urge the Montana State Legislature and the United States Congress to amend the United States Constitution to clearly state that corporations are not human beings and do not have the same rights as citizens."
On the same evening, 74 percent of the voters in Boulder, Colo., said yes to a similar measure, according to Move to Amend, a national coalition working to abolish corporate personhood. Already, Madison County and Dane County, both in Wisconsin, have called for "an end to corporate personhood and the legal status of money as speech" by 84 percent and 78 percent.
The idea also is being pushed around the country as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the momentum has pushed up the release of Clements' book.
Clements was recently in Montana and is co-founder of Free Speech for People, "a national non-partisan campaign to challenge the creation of constitutional rights for corporations, overturn Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, and strengthen American democracy."
Berrett-Koehler Publishers bumped up the publication so the book will be out in bookstores in January. In Helena and Missoula earlier this fall, Clements talked in person and over the phone about his book. Find him online at freespeechforpeople.org and corporationsarenotpeople.com.