“We Must Exercise the Right to Speak Back…”

by JC

Tonight on MTPR, there was a great commentary by Brian Muldoon on the Citizen’s United case. Here is the clip:

“A corporation obviously is nothing at all like a human being. There is no social benefit to granting it the unrestricted right to speak on behalf of its agenda. Human beings benefit from free speech–we change each other’s minds, we listen, we change our own minds. Corporations don’t have minds. Or opinions. They don’t listen. They don’t have moods or inspired moments or disappointment. Applying the free speech protections of the First Amendment to corporations is the ultimate act of legal sophistry…

We created corporations, we are their parents, and we are responsible for what they say and do. If we don’t find a way to set some limits, it is we the people–the real people–who are to blame.”


  1. From the documentary “The Corporation”, Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan take the notion of personhood to heart and ask if they are indeed citizens, what type of citizens are they? Using DSM-IV, they conclude that corporations are psychopaths. They routinely engage in unlawful behavior, are deceitful, are con artist, aggressive, recklessly disregard the safety of others, are financially irresponsible, and have no remorse about anything.

    That in mind, we should indeed accept that corporations are persons, and put them in institutions, and hope for their sake that the persons who run these institutions are not also corporations.

  2. Pilot

    Time for a Constitutional Amendment to keep the Gang of Five from ripping us off from our other rights, and amendment making it clear that their corporate sponsors are not “people.”

    He’s why we should be able to do it: We have the “right of the people to peaceably assemble to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    We need to do it before they find that the 1st Amendment is “unconstitutional.”

  3. But corporations can be looked at as organizations of the people – isn’t that just an extension of one person, becoming a group? Like the right for jews or christians to speak out – the question is, do organizations benefit from the same protection that the individuals do? Or do organizations inherently lose some level of humanity because they are grouped humans, and in groups humans cannot be trusted?

    • JC

      Sure, corporations can be looked as organizations of individuals. Show me where in the Constitution at “organizations of the people” have collective rights. They don’t. That’s why the Supreme Court ruling is looked at as “judicial activism” as it overturned precedent with no direct basis for such a ruling in the Constitution.

      Protections for “organizations of the people” can be obtained through laws and regulations.

      “do organizations inherently lose some level of humanity”

      How can organizations lose that which they never have? A corporation is a piece of paper authorized by law. A legal construct has no “humanity.”

      Again, this is what is wrong with those who support corporate 1st amendment rights. They anthropomorphize corporations, and then attempt to extend rights to this non-sentient creation of law.

      Whether or not humans group together or not, legally or informally, the individual human holds the basic right. Why should the collection of individual rights be greater than an individual’s rights? That’s why we have elections, to cast votes and tally the individual will, equally and without discrimination.

    • I’m with JC on this one.

  1. 1 The Aristocracy of Monied Corporations « The Small "r"

    […] interesting post and comments on the 4 & 20 Blackbirds blog has developed on this topic. Click here for more […]

  2. 2 “Move to Amend” Resolution Attacking Corporate Personhood Hits Missoula City Council « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] don’t forget to listen to the great editorial on Montana Public Radio last year by Brian Muldo… describing Citizen’s United and the history of corporate […]




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