Over 200 march to Asheville federal building to protest corporate personhood

Over 200 people showed up for a rally this afternoon protesting the Citizens United decision and calling for a constitutional amendment banning corporate personhood. The protesters marched from Pritchard Park to the federal building in downtown Asheville.

The protests were organized by the Meet, Talk, Act — an affinity group of Occupy Asheville — and Move to Amend.

With a backdrop of people dressed as Supreme Court Justices and the Statue of Liberty, speakers including Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell and Dr. Errington Thompson addressed the crowd.

Bothwell asserted that the American Revolution was an overthrow of British corporate power and that the country needed to “keep the thumb” on corporations

“This has been building for a long time; corporations have amassed more and more power,” Bothwell said. “You deserve better than what’s being handed down, you deserve much better.”

He also encouraged the audience to refuse to vote for any candidate — Bothwell is running in the 11th congressional district — that received corporate contributions.

Corporations, Thompson said, “have turned our country on its head,” highlighting the foreclosure crisis.

“What we wanted was just a little piece of the pie: a nice home in a safe neighborhood,” Thompson said, but people ended up stuck in mortgages with terms they didn’t understand and couldn’t pay.

“This was out in the open, it was sanctioned American rip-off,” he said. “Our government needs to be accountable, the law needs to work for us.”

After the speakers, the crowd marched on the sidewalk down to the federal building, waving their signs at passerby and chanting “corporations are not people, money is not speech,” among other slogans. After gathering in front of the building complex, the protesters returned to Pritchard Park and dispersed.

There was a small police presence — both Asheville Police Department and federal protective services as the march neared the federal building — observing the march, but no altercations.

Photo by Bill Rhodes


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4 thoughts on “Over 200 march to Asheville federal building to protest corporate personhood

  1. Tracy K.

    Folks, what a successful day. In reading the media from other cities – and there were so many who came out today to protest!! – our little town appears to have had one of the best turnouts in the country in terms of numbers. Go Asheville! We are awake!

  2. 1. I can’t help but notice the complete absence of any mention of “union personhood.” The “Citizen’s” case decided the same thing for unions and corporations; that is, that individuals and even groups of individuals (pooling their resources) cannot have their speech rights violated by the government. Good.

    2. Corporations do not have power. Without protections and favors from coercive government, corporations can only offer valuable products and services to satisfied consumers. They live or die by serving the community.

    • Christopher C NC

      So you’ll just gloss over the corrupting influence of money, the power inherent in money and the prevalent human predisposition to greed that likes to hoard money and power.

  3. Anne Craig

    Thanks to everyone who came out to the event and all the organizers. The Occupy Asheville Media group did a great job getting the word out! When the community comes together, good things can happen!
    As to unions and Citizens United…comment from Tim Peck. Unions are member driven organizations -the names of the members of a union can be public knowledge. From what I understand, Citizens United allows corporations to set up PACS whose donors can remain secret. There is a difference.

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