I know you are but what am I?
I’m a person.
Chances are if you’re reading this you’re a person too.
Exxon? Not a person.
But one year ago today, five members of the U.S. Supreme Court got this simple truth all wrong.
In the case Citizens United v. FEC they ruled that the limited existing restrictions on corporate spending on U.S. elections were unconstitutional because corporations are entitled to the same first amendment speech protections that individual citizens–people–enjoy in our democracy.
And boy did corporations put this ruling to good use:
According to a new report by our friends at Public Citizen, spending by outside groups during the 2010 midterm elections in the United States jumped to $294.2 million, up from just $68.9 million in the 2006 cycle. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce alone spent $31.2 million to influence election outcomes.
That means that unless we act, our concerns–from good jobs to clean air to safe products–will take even more of a backseat to the concerns of Walmart, Exxon, and Dow than they do now.
Which is why on March 1st we’re launching Season Two of our on-line movie series with The Story of Citizens United v. FEC: Why Democracy Only Works When People are in Charge.
I made The Story of Stuff back in 2007 because I wanted people to understand that there’s a system behind the way we make, use and throw away Stuff. Many of us spend so much time feeling guilty about the consumer choices we make in life that we sometimes forget an important truth: the choices that got us into our current environmental and economic mess had very little to do with which light bulb or shampoo we buy.
It wasn’t you or I who decided to gut public transportation funding in favor of the interstate highway system, or to turn a blind eye to oil rig safety, or to put carcinogens in our products. At least, I didn’t!
I founded The Story of Stuff Project because I knew we’d never be able to take on and change this system unless people got engaged–not only as conscious consumers, but also as active citizens. Unfortunately, there’s a big obstacle in our way: corporations have way too much influence in our democracy.
Our team believes that getting corporations out of our democracy (and getting people back in) is critical to making progress on a huge range of issues that we Americans, and many others around the world, care about.
So on March 1st, we’re jumping in.
Here’s what you can do to help:
- Join an event today or this weekend marking the anniversary of the Citizens United decision. You can find a listing of events around the country on Public Citizen’s website. If you can’t make an event, definitely sign their petition . Let’s help push them past 100,000 signatures!
- Sign-up to host a viewing party on March 1st, the day we release the movie. We’ll email you directions, tips and other stuff to help you host a rockin’ good screening party to help launch! We’re already past our goal of 150 people signed up to host viewing on launch day, please join in on the fun!
- Help spread the word! Watch for the teaser in about a month and share it with your neighbors, friends and family.
Thanks for your participation in this community and for all you do to make the world a better place.
Annie, Michael, Allison, Christina and Renee
The Story of Stuff Project
P.S. You can visit Public Citizen’s website to learn more about the Citizens United v. FEC case and corporate money in American elections.