Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Et Tu, ACLU?

by BOB FITRAKIS And HARVEY WASSERMAN

The Supreme Court’s atrocious Citizens United green light for unlimited corporate campaign spending had a willing accomplice—the American Civil Liberties Union.

Why?

As long-time supporters, we are horrified by the ACLU’s betrayal of political reality and plain common sense.

Standing proudly with the victorious corporate hacks on the steps of the SCOTUS was none other than the legendary First Amendment crusader Floyd Abrams.

Keith Olberman has called him a “Quisling” for aiding and abetting this catastrophic confirmation of corporate “personhood.”

The ACLU has long been the go-to stalwart of First Amendment rights. Its list of accomplishments is long, impressive and essential.

The ACLU has bravely faced divisive, expensive controversy. Long ago it defended the right of American neo-nazis to march through Skokie, a heavily Jewish suburb of Chicago.

The ACLU has also defended the right of such loathsome haters as the Ku Klux Klan to gather and speak.

In these and other such cases, the ACLU has been right, and has courageously paid a price.

But perhaps the organization has confused those valid First Amendment cases with a Citizens United decision perpetrated by the most virulent judicial opponents of individual speech in the history of the Court. In reference to this case the ACLU says it “has consistently taken the position that section 203 is facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it permits the suppression of core political speech, and our amicus brief takes that position again.”

We respectfully—but vehemently—disagree. Simply put: money is not speech, corporations are not people.

Given the immense sums of cash these corporations have to spend, the Citizen’s United decision is the equivalent not of guaranteeing individual Nazis the freedom to march, but instead of granting the Party itself the right to drive tanks down the street, guns ablazing.

It’s not the same as giving individual Klan members the right to hold a rally, but rather for the organization to do public lynchings as part of a terror campaign aimed at taking tangible power.

Nowhere in the Constitution do the Founders mention the word corporation. There were six of them at the time of ratification, all strictly limited by state charter to where and what kind of business they could do. They bear scant resemblance to the multi-national behemoths we confront today. Those who wrote and ratified the First Amendment would be horrified by their very existence.

The moneyed power of these corporations and their access to the First Amendment through the myth of “personhood” has been the ultimate pox on American politics since the 1880s.

It has been reported that the ACLU Board is now considering endorsing limits on campaign spending. Abrams has been reported as arguing that “The worst thing you could do – the absolutely worst thing you could do – is transform a civil liberties organization into a liberal political organization.”

But this decision has transformed the ACLU into a conservative political organization, working to arm the ultimate enemies of democracy with unlimited monetary and political power.

We are confident the activist community can survive this latest assault on democracy. It will not be easy, but it can be done.

A good first step would be for the ACLU to face reality and now oppose the false claims anti-human money machines have made on our sacred Bill of Rights.

Attorney Bob Fitrakis & Historian Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection. Bob’s Fitrakis Files are at www.freepress.org, where this article first appeared. Harvey’s History of the US is at www.harveywasserman.com.

 

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have co-authored six books on election protection, which are at www.freepress.org, along with Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES. HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US is at www.solartopia.org, along with his SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH.

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]