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On Saturday over 1000 Americans laid their bodies down on a San Francisco beach to spell out “DUMP CITIZENS UNITED!” With election day looming, this protest was just the latest, and possibly most spectacular yet, in a wave of popular anger at the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates to secretive and unlimited corporate political contributions.
“The 2010 Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United trampled on America’s founding principles, swamped our democracy in corporate cash and needs to be overturned,” said Brad Newsham, the San Francisco cab-driver who organized today’s event. “Some truths are so self-evident that the Founders felt no need to mention them. Truths like, ‘Corporations are NOT People.’ ‘Money is NOT Speech.’ ‘Elections are NOT Auctions.’” continued Newsham. “But in the shadow of Citizens United, we all have to step up and protect America’s sacred principles. That’s why over a thousand of us came out today to make this beautiful, people-powered statement: ‘DUMP CITIZENS UNITED!’”
“By defining corporations as people and money as speech, the Supreme Court has undermined ‘government of, by and for actual people,’” said John Sellers, co-founder of The Other 98%, the organization behind today’s event. “Thanks to Citizens United, the biggest and worst corporations are now engaged in a hostile takeover of our nation’s political system,” said Sellers.
Recent non-partisan polls continue to show that the Citzens United ruling is deeply unpopular.
Many of today’s participants expressed support for Measure G, a San Francisco ballot initiative telling Congress to dump Citizens United. Similar initiatives are on the ballot this election in Colorado, Montana and communities across the country.
Newsham hired a helicopter and photographer to fly overhead and take pictures.
Today’s event was a collaboration between Mr. Newsham and The Other 98%, a netroots community with over 400,000 members, plus a host of other pro-democracy organizations, including: Common Cause, CREDO Action, Code Pink, Courage Campaign, Free Speech For People, Move to Amend, Public Citizen, RootsAction, Ruckus Society, unPAC.org, Democrats.com and the San Francisco Green Party.