Protesting the corrupting influence of corporate money in government, 19 people, including Princeton University professor Cornel West, were arrested on the steps of the United States Supreme Court on Sunday.
After attending the morning dedication of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall, some 250 protestors marched from Freedom Plaza to the Court. Speaking to those gathered, many of whom were carrying signs that read “Human Need Not Corporate Greed,” West declared, “We want to bear witness today that we know the relation between corporate greed and what goes on too often in the Supreme Court decisions.”
The protesters were part of the October2011: Stop the Machine movement that has been occupying Freedom Plaza since October 6. Stop the Machine, like the Occupy DC and Occupy Wall Street movements, has been protesting the ways in which large sums of money from corporate interests are skewing politics and the economy to favor the wealthiest one percent of the population at the expense of the interests and well-being of the other ninety-nine percent of the population.
An example of Supreme Court decisions being denounced by the protesters is the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling that allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on advertising to support or attack candidates in elections. One of the October2011 organizers, Kevin Zeese, said: "It is a fitting tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for Dr. West and the others to risk arrest protesting the unfair wealth divide and the Supreme Court empowering money over voters. In the battle for a real, participatory democracy getting money out of politics is a critical step." One protestor held a sign reading, “I can’t afford my own politician so I made this sign”; another read “No $$, No Voice.”
Alliance for Justice has been active in tracking and reporting on the Court’s numerous decisions in favor of big-money special interests through its Corporate Court campaign. To learn more about the Corporate Court, including past rulings and upcoming cases, see Alliance for Justice’s Corporate Court: Open For Business webpages.