Monday, April 5, 2010

Upcoming Events and Actions

4/8: Statewide Conference Call to Abolish Corporate Personhood
4/10: Corporate Personhood and Campaign Financing, Wooster
4/12: Citizens United v. FCC: Panel Discussion on Corporate Personhood, Columbus
4/17: Corporations and Democracy: The Citizens United Decision, Chagrin Falls

Statewide Conference Call to Abolish Corporate Personhood

Thursday, April 8, 8 PM – 9 PM
Call in #: 1-218-862-7200
Access Code: 744213

We’ll continue discussing and strategizing ways to respond to the Citizens United vs FEC Supreme Court decision.

Agenda items for call? Email

Corporate Personhood and Campaign Financing

A "Lunch and Learn" with Greg Coleridge of Akron Americans Friends Service Committee, who will facilitate this workshop. It will take place Saturday, April 10, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Wooster.

Fine luncheon $12 per person
Includes ~ Carnivore – Vegetarian – Vegan Choices
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 3186 Burbank Rd. Wooster OH.

SEATING LIMITED Call NOW to reserve your seat 330-749-5112

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Citizens United v. FCC: Panel Discussion on Corporate Personhood

A panel discussion will examine both the legal and social implications of the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FCC, which extended the meaning of free political speech to corporate expenditures in federal elections and thus granted broad First Amendment rights to corporations under the corporate personhood doctrine. The discussion, sponsored by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, will be held on Monday, April 12, at 6 p.m., in Saxbe Auditorium at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 55 West 12th Avenue.

The Fourteenth Amendment weighs heavily in the origins of corporate personhood cases on which Citizens United depends, though the amendment’s original purpose was to grant slaves the status of “person.” Discussion will explore what the Citizens United decision means for social and racial justice, and the history of the Court and corporate rights.

Speakers will include john a. powell, executive director of the Kirwan Institute and Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Moritz College of Law; Greg Coleridge, director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee; and Cliff Arnebeck, chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of Common Cause Ohio and national co-chair and attorney for The Alliance for Democracy.

This event is free and open to the public.

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute partners with people, communities, and institutions worldwide to think about, talk about, and act on race in ways that create and expand opportunity for all. For more information about the Kirwan Institute, go to:

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Corporations' perversion of civil rights law - Interested in writing about it for Race-Talk?

The 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FCC was just another manifestation of a perversion of civil rights law since the Reconstruction amendments after the Civil War. Originally intended to protect newly freed slaves from virulent white racism, the 14th Amendment’s protections were quickly usurped, not by other people, but by American corporations. Indeed, of all the 14th Amendment cases between 1890 and 1910, 19 were filed by individuals seeking protection and 288 were filed by businesses.

Importantly, the expansion of corporate rights made possible by this perversion of the 14th Amendment was coterminous with the gutting of rights of the individual and in particular, of the African American individual. This continues today through our nations' system of structural disadvantages. Think about Citizens United like this: the idea behind the Kennedy opinion is that you can’t discriminate against a speaker based on its corporate status (even when corporate status here mostly means vast and deep pockets of wealth looking to keep even more wealth through conservative government).

He believes this speech is the same as your political speech, protected because it is all part of the marketplace of ideas. In that fictional marketplace, buyers, when confronted with all available ideas, move closer to truth and naturally pick the best ideas. This is simply never going to be the case. Big money and flashy ideas always win.

Corporations will always have more spending power than individuals; they already have more lobbyists. Just as equality demands that we account for structural forces that make it easier for a wealthy white male to go to college than an impoverished Latina, so does it demand that we view Wal-Mart or Halliburton's "free speech" as grossly disproportional to and fundamentally different than the free speech of individual (human) citizens. Allowing corporations unlimited amounts of spending power for campaign commercials of dubious truth can only further diminish and drown out the voices of the public. And all this in the name of equal protection . . .

In short, the perversion of equal rights by corporations is an affront to any true commitment on the part of this country to the civil rights envisioned by the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment.

If you are interested in writing for Race-Talk view our submission requirements.

Caitlin Watt
Legal Research Associate
The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
The Ohio State University
(614) 247-1964

Corporations and Democracy: The Citizens United Decision

Saturday, April 17
10 AM – Noon
Chagrin Falls Public Library
100 East Orange Street, Chagrin Fall

Presentation and discussion

Sponsored by Patriots for Change

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