Missoula CIty Council Votes 9-1 to Place Referendum to Amend the Constitution on Local Ballot

“This is a question of whether American democracy itself can beat back a corporate takeover”
— Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula


I’ll let the voices of a few of Missoula’s leaders in support of amending the U.S. Constitution to restrict corporate “personhood” tell the story (from behind the paywall at a local chapter of a national corporate newspaper chain):

University of Montana professor Vicki Watson thanked the council for bringing the referendum forward and said she wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an official message it erred. She said extending civil rights to corporations “makes a mockery of our sacred human rights.”

“Corporations do not bleed or feel pain. They can’t die in an unsafe workplace,” Watson said.

Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, said she pitched a similar piece of legislation in Helena, and she heard support from Democrats and Republicans all across the state. Hill noted Montana history is laced with stories of big money, such as the Copper Kings, buying influence.

“This is a question of whether American democracy itself can beat back a corporate takeover,” Hill said.

Mary Stranahan… said putting power back into the hands of the people is a huge matter. She encouraged people to seek more information about the national movement from The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, www.celdf.org.

“I think this is one of the most important issues we as a country face in trying to preserve what democracy we have,” Stranahan said.

And to those of you who complained in the comments of my last post on this issue, that the City Council should attend to more important matters, you got your wish: they also approved spending $188,829 on a machine to fill pot holes.

I’m just back from several days of vacation on a (mostly) deserted lake somewhere in NW Montana (and aching legs to prove it), and I’ll have much more to say about this issue in the future. One point I’d like to focus on is the stance that Missoula’s other newspaper publisher (and I presume many other newspapers) has taken in opposition to the movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to reserve 1st Amendment rights to the flesh and blooded. That somehow that would affect the 1st Amendment’s bedrock protection of freedom of the press.

I think that debate is a very worthy one to have. What is at stake is not just the fallout from Citizen’s United, but future fallout from a concerted effort by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his activist wife Virginia to reconstruct the Constitution to adhere to an originalist’s (and Tea Party) view that is more in concert with the will of the “Founders.”

  1. mr benson

    On what ballot? The city wide ballot? !

    I did read, just recently, that the Koch brothers funded tour was a complete flop. That seemed to evidence that the right and moderates aren’t bamboozled by corporate circuses. Soros and his corporate bucks seem to still hold sway over the left.

    Overspending by the federal government is a huge danger to our country. Tell me, would they put a balanced budget amendment on the ballot, too? Polls show a majority of americans support one, but we are blocked at every turn by whom? Politicians or Corporations?

    As for mocking the pothole fixer, I’m glad Missoulians won’t have to borrow one from a city with less lofty pretensions but better streets.

    • lizard19

      no, not everyone mr. b. i see Soros as a POS neoliberal who likes to fund color revolutions.

    • JC

      Yes, on the city ballot. On what other ballot could a city council place a referendum?

      As to Koch brothers funding a tour, this sort of Constitutional Amendment would have nothing to do with them funding nonprofits like Americans for Prosperity or FreedomWorks.

      And yes, this sort of Amendment would apply to Soros as well as the Kochs when it comes to them spending millions of their corporate dollars directly on media disinformation campaigns designed to swing elections.

      And mocking the pothole fixer? Nah, I was mocking those that think that pothhole fixers are more important than saving our democracy from being purchased by the highest bidding corporations. You’re just upset that MIssoula won’t be renting Bozeman’s anymore and helping your city to pay for theirs.

      And finally, about the Tea Party–it will disappear from the forefront as it is an electoral liability this cycle. There will be a few wackos who will still run around in patriotic costumes with bad signs. But as the New Yorker article I linked to points out, Tea Party ideals run deep in activist Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia (the patron saint of the Tea Party movement). They have an agenda, and it won’t take Koch funding to accomplish it.

      • mr benson

        “You’re just upset that MIssoula won’t be renting Bozeman’s anymore and helping your city to pay for theirs.” Better check your facts on that mind reading, buckwheat. Not only did we lend it, we also sent people to help run it.

        But hey, you’re just proving once again that nobody values something they get for free.

  2. Escapee

    Well done, Missoula CC, even chewing gum while walking and putting the lie to those whomsaid you can only do ne thing at a time!

    The newspaper/freedom of speech argument is hollow, as 1) even though they have free speech, they don’t exercise it when they come up against corporate or government power – they self-censor so well that they don’t need to worry about outside censorship; and 2) they have technically had freedom of speech in their journalisitic endeavors for centuries, again unexercised, and the absence of corporate personhood affected it not in the slightest.

    • JC

      It’s important from the viewpoint that the newspaper industry has the power to tank movement politics. That’s why I think it is important to understand the argument and begin to defuse it.

  3. Ingemar Johansson

    I seem to remember that Mizzo also voted themselves “Nuclear Free”.

    The frivolity continues.

    • lizard19

      hmmm, that’s funny coming from the party of gold, the code of the west, spear hunting, and pulling out of the UN.

  4. Ingemar Johansson

    “Party of gold”??

    This party member pulled out of gold and into silver. I can always forge into bullets and spear tips.

  5. This is high comedy considering that a week or so ago they flushed $2 million in public money to make a little private debt go bye-bye.

  6. No more whining or bitching about the lack of employment opportunities or earning decent wage. If you are stupid enough to drive and keep away business from our wonderful little town, than you deserve what you get – low paying, low skill jobs.

  1. 1 Upcoming City Council Elections; MCAT Posts Interviews Online; Corporate Personhood Referendum « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] a great story in the Missoula Independent a few weeks ago about Cynthia and the ballot issue that we reported on back in August. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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