October 17, 2011

Cornel West — protesting Citizens United — gets himself arrested on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Reported by Susan Brooks Thisltethwaite at the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog:
The Supreme Court was a fitting venue for this demonstration both to honor Dr. King and demonstrate solidarity with the #OWS (Occupy Wall Street) movement. As Dr. West said prior to being arrested, there is “a relation between corporate greed and what goes on too often in Supreme Court decisions.”

In Democracy Matters, West makes this point in far greater detail “(The) illicit marriage of corporate and political elites — so blatant and flagrant in our time — not only undermines the trust of informed citizens in those who rule over them. It also promotes the pervasive sleepwalking of the populace, who see that the false prophets are handsomely rewarded with money, status, and access to more power.” (p. 4)
How is that "far greater detail"? With no reference to Supreme Court at all, it seems like less detail. Or by "detail," did Ms. Thisltethwaite mean verbosity? Thisltethwaite continues:
Here’s the point: If you are content to think that corporations are people and money is speech, as the Supreme Court decided in the by a vote of 5-4, in their Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision, then indeed you are sleepwalking through your citizenship and giving over your faith to false prophets.

I believe, when future accounts of this era are written, historians will judge that the wake up call for many people in America was in early 2010 with that Supreme Court decision. The winter of 2010 is what led to the #OWS demonstrations in the fall of 2011.
Can we as citizens accept this definition of person, and of speech? This is what Dr. West, by his action on the steps of the Supreme Court, is asking us to stop and ponder. Corporation as person? A soulless legal entity as human being? No. We can’t and we must not. As I have written before, God didn’t create corporations.
And God didn't create The Washington Post, which is a corporation. Could Congress criminalize WaPo's reporting about political candidates  in the 2-month period preceding an election? It would protect us from distorted ravings like yours, Ms. Thisltethwaite. What do you say? You must say yes! I mean, if you care about coherence. And I know you don't.
... Dr. West did not call for anger, he actually called for “deep love” in his remarks before his arrest, and he spoke his solidarity even with the police, those who were about to arrest him.

This is worthy of another jail, at another time. In 1963, Dr. King wrote, in his Letter from Birmingham Jail....

53 comments:

Chip S. said...

This looks long. This looks involved.

This'll wait.

Paddy O said...

there is “a relation between corporate greed and what goes on too often in Supreme Court decisions.

Kelo. It doesn't get much more blatant than a city taking land owned by citizens and giving that land to a corporation.

"Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer."

Just sayin'.

cubanbob said...

The question is can the institution that employs him be sued for fraud for pretending to be a university and pretending to educate people? And isn't his employer also a corporation? He too, works for the devil.

caplight said...

And Unions are not people, and NGOs are not people, and ACORN and Planned Parenthood and Universities and AARP and AAUP and the American Library Association and the NAACP and and and and and...

DKWalser said...

It cheapens the struggles of King, et al, to compare the "wrongs" people endure under Citizens United with the abject evils of segregation. If this is the only thing West can come up to protest against, things must be going pretty well.

Jay said...

This is worthy of another jail, at another time. In 1963, Dr. King wrote, in his Letter from Birmingham Jail

Um, no, no it is not.

And this "reporter" certainly isn't worthy of her salary...

sonicfrog said...

This is worthy of another jail, at another time. In 1963, Dr. King wrote, in his Letter from Birmingham Jail....

Sigh....

Maguro said...

No doubt it will be real healthy for democracy when the government gets to decide which corporations get free speech and which don't. No potential for favoritism or corruption there, no sir.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Every left-of-center fame junkie is throwing his elbows around to make space for himself on the bandwagon. I sincerely hope they keep it up, and the more the merrier. This kind of behavior does not impress or convince independent voters, and they're the ones who will vote in the Republican candidate.

Michael said...

I love the writer's name. Very Dickensian.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ caplight. Right on.

Anybody can be a corporation. A group of doctors. A quilting club. Regional group of contractors. Association of accountants. Group of bloggers.

ANYBODY.

Just because some people decided to incorporate themselves, they and the group they represent should be stripped of their First Amendment rights? The right to express a political opinion as represented by the incorporated group. The right to buy advertising.

Corporations ARE people, in the sense that they are owned by the shareholders. In a small non public (meaning shares are not sold on the public markets) corporation the shareholders are often the officers of the corporation.

In a large publicly owned corporation the officers are elected BY the shareholders and everyone who owns shares from the mutual fund that holds shares on the behalf of all of the investors..... all the way down to Ma and Pa Frickett are voters in the corporation.

Corporations are people and represent people. You don't get to pick and choose WHICH corporations or groups you like and don't like and disenfranchise the ones you hate. Equal protection under the laws.

SteveR said...

Wealthy greedy people help elect Obama in 2008 and we can be sure West voted for him and wealthy freedy people will try to reelect him. So is West going to make a principaled stand or yet another line of B.S. I guess will have to ax him.

Michael said...

I love the writer's name. Very Dickensian.

MikeDC said...

Paddy O his the nail on the head.

These guys should be protesting Kelo, the ruling which makes real their fears, but instead they protest Citizens, which undermines everyone's ability to engage in political speech.

Rumpletweezer said...

More police acting stupidly.

Nobody Knows That I Am A Dog!!! said...

...who see that the false prophets are handsomely rewarded with money, status, and access to more power.”--Cornel West

Sounds like a wonderful description of --Cornel West!!!!!

Tank said...

The problem isn't speech or who has it.

The problem is crony capitalism. And as long as gov't has the power to help some and hurt others in the marketplace, there will be crony capitalism, whether overt, or covert.

The only answer is to prevent gov't interference. That, of course, is the one thing that won't happen.

William said...

Wretch!

William said...

Whoops -- meant to say retch. Oh well, one and the same here.

Mick said...

Citizens United v. FEC was a decision about free speech, not political donations by corporations. The Usurper pushed the same nonsense as West at the State of the Union speech. Basically what the Marxists hope for is to limit speech of the Corporations that don't agree w/ them, and allow Newspapers, which are corporations, and on board the Marxist program, to say whatever they want--- selective Freedom of Speech, or selecting the speech they agree with.

Read Scalia's part of the decision--- ALL SPEECH is protected, no matter from WHERE it comes. The bottom line is that SPEECH is protected, not whether "Corporations are people".

Obama is promoting the lie that the decision is about Corporate donations to politicians--- No it's not--- it's about the ability of Corporations to buy advertizing during the election cycle.

The "law prof" should make this clear. How about some teachin'?

sonicfrog said...

I do support the de-personalization of corporations. I do believe that only a real living breathing person should be able to donate to a candidate. And yes, that also would bar other groups from giving too! Large donations should be open for public scrutiny. That way, if, say Bill Gates or Al Gore or David Koch buys a candidate, we can know it.

Real American said...

what's rich is that these clowns, who are demanding that others provide them a free education, free health care, free housing, free condoms, a big minimum salary and free debt forgiveness without lifting a fucking finger are lecturing the rest of us on the evils of "greed." What a fucking joke these "occupy" people are. Their brains are occupied by a fucking disease called liberalism.

Mick said...

sonicfrog said...
"I do support the de-personalization of corporations. I do believe that only a real living breathing person should be able to donate to a candidate."


Citizens v. FEC has to do w/ free speech, and the ability of Corporations to buy advertizing. It matters not whether Corporations are "people", and has nothing to do w/ campaign contributions. Maybe you should read the case.

John said...

I agree.

Let's ban all political speech by unions.

They are legally organized as corporations.

So they should have limited speech rights.

Right?

Give me a break:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

What part of "make no law" is so hard for these clowns to understand?

John Henry

Real American said...

do idiots like Corndog West see the inherent contradiction in their rants against corporate greed and demands that corporations aren't people? If corporations aren't people, how can they possess the desires to gain more wealth and keep it for itself? How can a legal entity be greedy? Greed is a human desire. And who the fuck do these occupy idiots makes the decision at corporations? people, right?

Scott M said...

Mick said...

Maybe you should read the case.

Maybe you should recognize a tangent when you see one.

edutcher said...

What Tyrone said.

If the professional Lefties are supplanted by a new generation of professional Lefties, they'll no longer be hip or have a cushy gig commenting on MSLSD.

Mick said...

Scott M said...
"Mick said...

Maybe you should read the case.

Maybe you should recognize a tangent when you see one."


The "tangent" is based on the wrong (purposefully) analysis of Citizens v. FEC by West (and Obama). The case has nothing to do w/ political contributions by Corporations. Maybe you should read the case.

RonF said...

Aren't the Democratic and Republican National parties corporations? Does that mean they can't speak? THAT should be interesting ....

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

Maybe you should understand he was utilizing his First Amendment rights. A thought about personhood of corps in a related thread doesn't have to past Mick muster, however muddled may it be.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I've heard depersonalization of corporations as a potential demand of OWS, as well as a few other places. While it certainly wouldn't effect Citizens United ( as it was not decided based on corporate personhood ) it surely would have many other consequences.

Anyone know enough about it to enlighten us on some of those consequences?

(fixed a typo from a previous attempt )

Crunchy Frog said...

"We are people!"

- Soylent Green, Incorporated

hombre said...

Corporate political contributions equate with racial discrimination and segregation. Wow!

Ah, the moral relativism practiced by the left. Would the Obot and West make this argument if, today, they were excluded from the lunch room.

Would Citizens United, even incorrectly interpreted, be MLK's new crusade? Would he be at OWS? Would he be pimping for the Dems? The mere suggestions are disgraceful slurs against his achievements.

Obama and his groupies are shameless!

Joe said...

Princeton operates through the Princeton University Investment Company, so doesn't Cornel West work for a corporation?

* * *

cor·po·ra·tion/ˌkôrpəˈrāSHən/
Noun:

A company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law.

sonicfrog said...

What Scott said. I was not commenting on CU as much as simply expressing a thought on my unease concerning a corporation's ability to donate cash to a candidate, even if it's an indirect process.

As far as CU goes, I don't have much of a problem with the decision. Personally, I think the effect of political advertising a bit overblown anyway. I mean, really, how many people would have been persuaded by the anti-Hillary film anyway or its advertizement anyway? Plus, doesn't the growth of the internet significantly alter the political advertising landscape anyway. A corporation can spend a zillion dollars on an ad, but if it's not very effective, than that was nothing but a waste of money (but helped with the employment numbers). All you need is some clever average Joe who is good with flash to make a neat ad and post it on you tube. If it goes viral, then the average citizen does have equality in the system.

Sorry if i'm rambling... I'm in a hurry! Must go work now.

MikeR said...

Thisltethwaite: You cannot expect me to believe that anyone is named Thisltethwaite.

MikeR said...

Ah: They spelled her name wrong. And Ann liked the name so much... Well, I liked it too, but I couldn't pronounce it.
http://www.americanprogress.org/experts/thistlethwaitesusan.html

MikeR said...

Sorry: that's

http://www.americanprogress.org/experts/thistlethwaitesusan.html

MikeR said...

Well, that's annoying: Blogger keeps cutting off the url. But the last word in it is "thistlethwaitesusan.html"

Original Mike said...

Cornel West - He's that "The rent is too damn high!" guy, right?

Sofa King said...

[quote]What Scott said. I was not commenting on CU as much as simply expressing a thought on my unease concerning a corporation's ability to donate cash to a candidate, even if it's an indirect process.

[/quote]

But that is already the law. The only kind of unrestricted "donation" is taking political positions that happen to align with a favored candidate. You can't really restrict this kind of "donation" without restricting what kind of political statements people can make, which was the whole point of CU.

So it's really not clear at all what exactly you are asking for. Can you perhaps be more specific as to what exactly you think needs to be changed?

Bob said...

It seems so long since I could say "Sister Susie sittin' on a thistle."

Peter said...

"...who see that the false prophets are handsomely rewarded with money, status, and access to more power.”--Cornel West


This sounds like a variation on the "false consciousness" theme.

That is, if people don't vote as Cornel West thinks they should, it must be because they've been deluded by "false prophets"?

From which it would seem to follow that "false propheting" should be criminalized, perhaps? For as surely as there are always false prophets, there are people who will follow them.

So, where are the philosopher-kings when you need them? And is Cornel West perhaps applying for the position?

Kirk Parker said...

Cornel West gets himself arrested? Please, please, PLEASE, PLEASE can they lose the key???

GetReal said...

"And God didn't create The Washington Post, which is a corporation. Could Congress criminalize WaPo's reporting about political candidates in the 2-month period preceding an election? It would protect us from distorted ravings like yours, Ms. Thisltethwaite. What do you say? You must say yes! I mean, if you care about coherence. And I know you don't."

Does your dean know that you are publishing things like this? Exceedingly embarrasing for a person who purports to be a law professor.

Let's take a look at the 1st Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The Washington Post is part of the press and, thus, does not need to rely on any right of free speech allegedly possessed by a corporation.

But you knew that...you're just a total hack so you leave it out.

GetReal said...

Dust Bunny Queen writes:

"Just because some people decided to incorporate themselves, they and the group they represent should be stripped of their First Amendment rights? The right to express a political opinion as represented by the incorporated group. The right to buy advertising."

The people themselves are not stripped of any rights. The question is whether a form of business entity that was created under state law for the purpose of facilitating capitalization is a "person" with the kind of rights as a human being. The answer is no. To the extent that courts have in the past held that corporation's are people, they have done so for limited purposes, i.e. in order to enable the entity to enter into contracts, etc., that are consistent with the corporation's role as a business entity. Citizen's United is a wide departure from the traditional view of the corporation.

Dust Bunny Queen further writes:

"Corporations ARE people, in the sense that they are owned by the shareholders."

This is the silliest thing I've read in a long time. Is being owned by shareholders a characteristic that is common to "people"? Did you graduate high school?

PaulV said...

Bunch of liberal book burners should be ashamed.

MikeR said...

"The question is whether a form of business entity that was created under state law for the purpose of facilitating capitalization is a "person" with the kind of rights as a human being." Get Real, get real. You didn't read the decision, or research it. It did not in any way say that corporations are human beings. It only said that the human beings who formed the corporations did not lose their same First Amendment rights just because they're working together.

"The Washington Post is part of the press and, thus, does not need to rely on any right of free speech allegedly possessed by a corporation." More nonsense. The press does not have any First Amendment rights not possessed by the rest of us. Ann is not bound by your peculiar misunderstanding of the decision as being about "corporate rights". "Congress shall make no law..." No law. Not for "the press" and not for the rest of us.

J said...

Susan Brooks Thisltethwaite = retarded fetus.

GetReal said...

Mike R says:

"Ann is not bound by your peculiar misunderstanding of the decision as being about 'corporate rights'."

That's because Ann isn't the legal scholar she purports to be. She brings new meaning to concepts like "abuse of tenure" and "sinecure." Funny how you tea partiers have no objection to wasting resources at public universities when it happens to support your ideological idiocy.

Mike said...

Citizens United wasn't just about corporate personhood and the First Amendment. It upheld the right of corporations to donate, but it also imposed very strict disclosure requirements. Organizations receiving donations are not permitted to keep their donor lists secret.

The resulting precedent has been used several times in the past year to force disclosure of donor lists by groups opposing same-sex marriage. There are details in this NY Times piece. Apparently, Citizens United has been "good for gay rights."

A Blockbuster Case Yields an Unexpected Result