Tampa activists start local Move to Amend chapter

09/16/11 Josh Holton
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Corporate influence on politics has many folks so mad that they want to fight a Supreme Court decision by seeking to amend the US Constitution. Last night a rag tag group of activists from several different bay area communities formed a Tampa chapter of Move to Amend, a group that opposes the ruling in FEC vs. Citizens United. They seek to establish that money is not speech, and that corporations are not people.

A small gathering about 20 political activists gathered at a coffee shop. Their plan was to end corporate rule and legalize democracy. Local activist Anita Stewart and former attorney Mark Adams organized the event, but they are still plotting out their strategy to fight the results of a supreme court decision. Stewart proposed starting locally.

Since it is extremely rare that the Supreme Court will rehear a case, Adams said that passing laws locally to ensure fairness and transparency in elections is a good place to start.

And while the group was comprised of a variety of political backgrounds, most of those who spoke took aim at Republicans. But Adams said Move to Amend isn’t partisan.

David Maynard is a self-described socialist who serves on Hillsborough’s Soil and Water Conservation Board along with Stewart. He was protesting at the CNN/ Tea Party debate, an activity which he claimed was more effective than a coffee house conversation.

But Maynard’s rhetoric turned off many folks at the meeting, and one man got up and left.

Even though Adams once practiced law, he seemed at a loss for words when proposing language for an amendment to the US constitution, or even a nonbinding local resolution. He thought Citizens United actually repealed limits on individual contributions. But local MoveOn member Chris Radulich disagreed, and offered his own language.

Adams liked the suggestion, and even considered revisiting language from prior campaign finance law in the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act. But he still said that other issues like public vote counting should be included along with Move to Amend resolutions.

But Radulich wasn’t too keen on suggestions to broaden the scope of their goals, and simply argued for measures to keep corporate money out of politics. This was the group’s first meeting in Tampa, but they plan to meet at Sacred Grounds Coffee House every month.

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