Occupy Protesters Speaking Out Against Corporate PersonhoodBy Daniel Cherry | Published 20 Jan 2012 07:06pm |
Protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement are hoping to get corporate funding out of elections in Mississippi. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how protesters say corporations shouldn't have the same rights as people.
Occupy Jackson has kicked off its campaign against corporate personhood. It's been two years since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, allowing corporations to fund political campaigns. Lindsey Lemmons of Brandon feels citizens' voices get drowned out by well-funded corporations.
"The people need to also have some say in it. That's what it boils down to. If the corporations have more power and influence than the people then they're not going to serve the public interest anymore."
The court's reasoning was, corporations are basically groups of individuals. Mississippi College Constitutional Law professor, Matt Steffey says that status gives corporations the same rights as people.
"Free speech is guaranteed. That includes the right of an individual to spend his own money to get his message out. Once you equate corporations with people for 1st Amendment purposes, they have the power to speak and spend...and they sure are exercising it."
Protesters in more than 100 cities across the nation are asking local governments to oppose corporate personhood. Edward Yokum with Occupy Jackson thinks people need more say in the political process.
"I'm retired. I'm a disabled veteran and I've got leukemia and a brain aneurysm so I guess I'm on the way out. I'm trying to use the last of my gas tank to support this movement because I think it's very, very important. I think the whole future of this country depends on getting the money out of politics and getting the government back to the people."
Members of Occupy Jackson say they will continue their efforts to encourage the city and the state to oppose corporate personhood.
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