by Bob Geary
Bicentennial Mall is the space between the Capitol and the General Assembly building, flanked by the state Museum of History and the state Museum of Natural Sciences. In other words, it's a good place to visit on any given Saturday.
Tomorrow, from 11-3, it will be especially good as (at last count) 19 progressive organizations set up shop — tables — to let the public know what they're doing to make North Carolina a better place to live.
The ON TRAC N.C. Community Engagement Fair has a Facebook page, of course.
The Raleigh Action Collective (TRAC) is among the organizers, along with the core group of folks who kept Occupy Raleigh going all those many winter months. Consider this Occupy Raleigh 2.0.
This probably won't appeal to you if you're part of the 1% — or want to be — or you think Mitt Romney is a helluva candidate. (Does anybody really think that?) For the rest of us, there are a variety of rooting interests to get with.
Also important: Stacie Borrello, one of the Occupy Raleigh organizers, will speak on behalf of a coalition of progressive groups Tuesday night at the Raleigh City Council meeting. She'd like your support if you can make it. (7 pm at City Hall.)
She's asking the Raleigh Council to get behind efforts to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows multinational corporations and rich individuals to spend unlimited sums of money — anonymously, if they want — to influence election campaigns.
This cause, too, has a Facebook page. It contains the resolution the group would like the Raleigh City Council to adopt:
RESOLUTION OF THE RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL TO SUPPORT ACTION TO OVERTURN THE “CITIZENS UNITED” SUPREME COURT DECISION, AND TO RESTORE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO THE PEOPLE.
(1) Whereas, transparent and fair elections are essential to democracy and effective self-governance;
(2) Whereas, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. FEC broke with long-settled legal precedents that acknowledged the power of citizens through their elected representatives to limit the influence of private interests in elections;
(3) Whereas, polls show that 79 percent of American voters support repeal of Citizens United, along with 66 percent of the nation’s small business owners;
(4) Whereas, so far in the current election cycle, spending by super PACs, corporations, unions and others exceeds $90 million, more than double the amount spent in any previous election;
(5) Whereas, unregulated and excessive expenditures by any organization allows the election process to be corrupted, encouraging elected officials to vote against their constituents in order to compete for financial campaign support; and
(6) Whereas, it is anti-democratic to allow private interests to outweigh the rights of ordinary citizens by using concentrated wealth to disproportionately influence candidate selection, election outcomes, elected officials’ votes, and, ultimately, public policy decisions.
Therefore, be it resolved, that the City Council of Raleigh, NC encourages federal and state legislative action to defend democracy by calling for a stop to anonymous, unlimited political donations and supporting a Constitutional amendment establishing that:
Only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights, not corporations or any other type of organization, and
Since the Constitution is meant to protect the rights of all individuals equally regardless of wealth, regulating excessive and/or anonymous spending in political campaigns is not equivalent to limiting political speech, and is necessary to preserve equitable and transparent democracy.
This Resolution is supported by The Raleigh Action Collective and Coalition Organizations OnTRACNC@gmail.com