Occupy Wall Street to rubber stamp money with anti-corporate slogans
Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen might rake in a hefty paycheck for being on top of the American ice cream game, but he hasn’t lost touch with the 99 percent. Last year the flavor kings came out publically to announce that they supported the Occupy Wall Street movement and the company’s board of directors published a message on their website celebrating the protest movement. Now as OWS comes close to reaching its nine-month anniversary, Cohen is once again saying that he sides against the one percent. This time, however, he plans to fight Wall Street with more than just a few hot fudge sundaes.
Cohen is backing a campaign set to begin this August that’ll involve, in part, distributing rubber stamps branded with advertising anti-corporate slogans to people from coast to coast. The plan, he says, is for people in the US to get ahold of one of the stamps and ink any currency that they come into contact with a message meant for big-shots in Washington.
Among the messages being added to the stamps: “Corporations are not people,” “Money is not free speech” and “Not to be used for bribing politicians.”
Cohen hopes that, by raising awareness of the importance money has in American politics today, he’ll be able to fight towards amending the US Constitution to make sure corporations can’t be afforded the same rights that are meant for individuals — and often acquired by enormous wealth. The initiative is being conducted in cooperation with Move to Amend, a national coalition that says on their website that they are “committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.”
According to Cohen, the goal of the stamp-out is"To secure a constitutional amendment saying corporations do not enjoy the same protected rights as individuals and that money is not a form of speech.” Since September 2009, Move to Amend has been fighting for that mission, even months before the Supreme Court ruled with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations are allowed the same personal rights and freedoms as US citizens. That decision was instrumental in establishing multi-million dollar super political action committees that critics say can buy elections for candidates and causes with substantial funding. In an article published last week by Politico, Republican super PACs were reported to plan on spending roughly $1 billion on the 2012 elections. Priorities USA Action, the super PAC supporting incumbent Barack Obama and other democratic ideals, looks to spend around $100 million.
On the Ben & Jerry’s website, the company says that they have indeed launched several activism campaign that are considered lobbying by federal and state laws, but the number one position they have endorsed is supporting a constitutional amendment that would limit corporate spending in elections.
Cohen tells reporters that his stamp plan might be harder to get off the ground then the establishment of encampments across the country that coincided with the start of the Occupy movement and adds that "In some ways, it's kind of a more difficult and certainly a more time consuming task than occupying parks.” His lawyer says that inking dollar bills with the organization’s slogans isn’t considered illegal though, and they look to take a giant stamping machine on the road this summer and encourage "thousands of people to buy rubber stamps and stamp any currency that comes into their possession.”