The Occupy Wall Street phenomenon (not quite a movement yet) is the most hopeful sign that Americans are finally “getting it”. After years of a progressive take-over of the American political process by corporate money, we are once again confronting the threat of what Teddy Roosevelt called the “Robber Barons”. But America today is much less democratic and amenable to change than the America of Teddy Roosevelt’s era, when African-Americans and women were not allowed to vote. This is because the political process has been overwhelmed with corporate money, and the US Supreme Court ruling in the Citizen’s United case officially legalized the corporate takeover of the political process.
Hopefully, Occupy Wall Street can make the transition from making a statement to forcing a revolutionary change in the American political process – and a revolution is what we need. This depends on the 99% of Americans who are being systematically exploited and disenfranchised finally recognizing that the American dream of prosperity based on hard work has died, and that their only hope is to remove the corrupting influence of corporate money on government.
The US Supreme Court should have ruled long ago that there is no free speech right of a corporation to the political process written into the Constitution. In fact, the intent of the Framers was to protect individual rights from the powerful, whether it be the government or the rich. However, this present Court, having been constituted specifically to defend corporate rights over the rights of individuals, will never recognize their error. What is really needed is a Constitutional Amendment banning any contributions by any corporation to political candidates, period. Short of this fundamental reform, I fear that any non-violent, popular movement is doomed to fail. The 1% have no moral compunction against defending their money and the power. Just ask Scott Olsen, or the thousands of Occupiers who have been not only arrested but attacked by the police.