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The Hell Child: Citizens United Enters the Terrible Twos

Today marks the second anniversary of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United. Yes, it’s true, our little devil-may-care campaign spending hellion is now entering his terrible twos.

And it shows.

If any one felt as if the United States was a plutocracy wearing democracy as a fig leaf, Citizens United stripped away the remaining fragments of illusion and laid it all bare. The problem, is do enough people actually care?

Cries from the dozens of Occupy Wall Street protests and encampments around the country included calls for an end to the influence of limitless corporate donations on our elections, if not an end to the notion that somehow corporations are people. I mean, really, can they be turned into Soylent Green? I think not.

If you think we’ve seen the worst of big-money influence on our elections, think again: Read this eye-popping report from our pals at AlterNet, which outlines just how much money some corporations are prepared to spend — and others to earn — thanks to Citizens United. How to stop it? It’s not as easy as it seems, as Stephen Rosenfeld points out at Alternet, but the Internet-wide effort to thwart proposed “piracy” legislation gives some hope that a focused, concerted “strike” against those in power can have a positive, if potentially short-term, effect and victory. The electoral system is rigged against actual populist uprisings and what ordinary folks want from their politicians and the government. In this game, free speech is most protected for those who can spend more. Most of us can’t pump unlimited monies into a SuperPAC — or have a platform like satirist  Stephen Colbert to mock these Hydra-esque offshoots of Citizens United. As Gina Kim at Moyers.com points out in this great interview with Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation, there may be ways in which we can bring greater attention to the companies and individuals donating to these SuperPACs as a way to better inform voters about who’s behind these groups. Legislation is in the works that would force donors to be listed publicly. Gee, imagine that! A recent court ruling in California gives hope that local laws aimed at blunting the worst effects of Citizens United can be written in such a way as to stand the test of a court challenge. We need more local efforts like that out of San Diego to combat Citizens United as it’s likely attempts at the federal level will meet with strong resistance by those who benefit from the status quo created under Citizens United. Here in Vermont, lawmakers recently introduced a resolution — which, if adopted would be the first of its kind by a state legislature — calling on Congress to initiate a constitutional amendment to undo the damage of Citizens United. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has launched a petition calling for support of just such a constitutional amendment — one that he’s introduced in the Senate. Close to 190,000 people have signed the petition so far — have you? You should. There’s also a statewide effort in Vermont to get folks on Town Meeting Day to also call on Congress to amend the constitution. The state’s largest city has already approved the question to be placed on its ballot. More are expected to follow suit this month. Town meetings are held in communities across the state in March and, while not binding votes, can help to send a clear message to policymakers about what citizens expect from their government. You should be asking your local representatives and elected officials to be doing the same. If I recall correctly, the preamble to the Constitution reads, “We the People …” not “We the People Corporations … .”


Gene Logsdon: Contrary Farmer & Rural Philosopher (1931-2016)

One of Chelsea Green’s most prolific writers, thinkers, and all-around curmudgeonly but lovable farmer — Gene Logsdon — died this week. We were heartbroken to hear the news, and many of us who have worked with Gene over the years  began to think of all the ways in which we were the better for not […] Read More

Hands-On Learning: School of The New American Farmstead

This summer, twelve of our authors (plus Chelsea Green’s own President and Publisher) will be leading hands-on intensive courses at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vermont. These workshops, classes, and certifications will inspire you, equip you with marketable skills, and provide you with new perspectives on integrated, community-centered farming and food production. Engage your Senses The […] Read More

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook Wins IACP Award

Chelsea Green is thrilled to have received the Food Matters Award for The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook, by the OAEC Collective and Olivia Rathbone.The International Association of Culinary Professionals announced its 2016 IACP Award winners on April 3 during a ceremony in Los Angeles.The awards recognize the best food writing of the year, […] Read More

Color Me Green: Chelsea Green to Launch Coloring Books Imprint

In response to demand from readers who clearly aren’t able to fill up their days building swales, chicken tractors, forest garden greenhouses, kombucha and kimchi, mead or salad sprouts – Chelsea Green is launching a new imprint of coloring books.These books will bring some of its most popular, and iconic, titles to a new market—adults […] Read More

Dig In: February Roundup 2016

The latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community, and special sales, promotions and new releases. 10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the […] Read More
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