(Photo:Occupy Biloxi protestors at Federal Bldg. in Gulfport, Age 2-83 yrs.)
by Dr. Tom Baldwin
On Friday, January 20,2012, Occupy Biloxi participated in the national day of protest to Occupy the Courts. This day commemorated the two year anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decision on the Citizen’s United Case which both gave corporations “Personhood” status and also ruled that Money equals Free Speech.
Numerous serious legal opinions generally regard this decision to be one of the worst in the history of the Court and as a severe blow to our Democratic Republic. It basically means corporations can give unlimited amounts to political parties and campaigns and, by hiding their contributions in entities known as Superpacs, can even remain unknown or anonymous in their actions to support candidates. The situtation was bad before but it has been made even much easier for corporations to “own” a public official.
One remedy to this gross injustice has been to promote a Constitutional Amendment which, of course, could take years to accomplish even if Congress were so inclined. But so many people in Congress are “on the take” they are not even interested in supporting an amendment. It is clear, however, that several methods must be used to address this injustice and inequity and this blow to our Republic. Occupy Biloxi intends to make the corporate abuse of power in our political system as a high priority, consistent with that of Occupy Wall Street. That corporate abuse of power is one of our primary concerns in the Mississippi Power Kemper Coal Plant decision by the Public Service Commission which is destined to greatly increase electricity rates and represents a huge environmental risk.
At the Occupy event, we were greeted by a person who identified himself as representing Homeland Security and another (in the picture below on the right) as a U.S. Marshall, Matthew Dell, who explained his responsibility for protecting the Federal Building where we were protesting. Another person identified himself as the minister of the church across the street and he explained he was fully supportive of what we were doing! The only negative experience was from an attorney entering the building who began an argument with us, walked quickly away, and then complained he was being “victimized” by people “yelling” at him in public setting!
Will Watson talks with U.S. Marshall Dell about our protest. Julia and Derek are on the left.