Friday, January 20, 2012
RIVERSIDE (CA) - On the two-year anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, Occupy Redlands staged a protest outside the federal bankruptcy court near downtown Riverside, just a few blocks from the former encampment of Occupy Riverside. Citizens removed limits on corporate campaign contributions to individual candidates, branding the money as "free speech." The ruling, and the sense that it helped to cement that the corporations are in control of the political system, was a strong motivating factor for many middle class people who formerly felt franchised to join the occupy movement. Once supporters from Occupy Riverside arrived, about 30 people were present on the corner outside the court.
A tent was set up on the corner, and RPD arrived shortly after its erection to repress the protesters. The officer involved insisted that the tent not be set on the ground, so rather than tearing it down, enterprising occupiers simply lifted the tent off the ground, holding it there for the remainder of the protest.
Protest organizers handed out anti-corporate lyrics to song that attendees sang to the tune of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." Several people volunteered to perform in a multi-act play about corporate personhood that hearkened back to an imagined time when people held power in this country.
Flyers were handed out for an upcoming action on February 29, and a signature-gatherer circulated a petition to end the death penalty in California.
Some within the Occupy movement support reforms in the political and financial sectors such as the "Move to Amend" the US Constitution to define only natural human beings (to the exclusion of corporations) as "people." Many of us however, while initially motivated to repair perceived flaws in the political structures governing the US, have grown far beyond that position to seek much more than reform.
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