Council Member Dave Thune, who authored the resolution, said he expects it to pass. Organizers with the Move to Amend coalition in St. Paul are planning a rally and press conference at 3:40 – 10 minutes after the Council is scheduled to vote on the resolution – in the City Hall lobby.
Pushing cities like St. Paul to pass resolutions is the present organizing strategy employed by Move to Amend, a nationwide organization working to pass a constitutional amendment declaring that inalienable rights belong to human beings only.
Thune modeled his resolution after a similar measure passed by the Duluth City Council in December. Duluth was the first Minnesota city to pass such a resolution, sparking similar resolution drives in cities across the state.
If passed, Thune said, St. Paul’s resolution will “show a groundswell of people care about this and are concerned about it. It’s both a message to decision makers in Washington, but also – and probably most importantly – meant to keep the discussion and the outrage alive at the grassroots level.”
Outrage surrounding corporate personhood exploded with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which struck down campaign-finance laws restricting the ability of corporations – and unions – to spend money to influence elections, candidate selection and policy decisions.
“When that ruling came down it just shook people’s belief and trust in the government,” Thune said. “It turned the reins over to unelected decision makers making decisions based on how much money was available. It’s just wrong.”
Although Citizens United expanded their ability to spend money to influence elections, unions have criticized the decision loudly from the day it was handed down, and several union groups have backed the Move to Amend campaign.
The St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, passed a resolution against corporate personhood in September 2011. The organization is urging members to turn out for the City Council vote on Wednesday.
Thune also urged citizens to attend the vote and the rally afterward.
“It’s pretty well established that cities are the bottom line of government,” Thune said. “We’re showing that at the level of government closest to the people, we are fed up with this thing. We the people are making a statement.”
For more information on the Move to Amend campaign’s work in St. Paul, e-mail the campaign.
Michael Moore edits The Union Advocate, the official publication of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation.