CHICAGO – Marking the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, hundreds of Chicagoans marched and rallied Jan. 19 to protest the “Golden Megaphone of Money” that decision has provided to corporate America.
Poster-carrying protesters formed a “CEO Walk of Shame” to dramatize the damage done by the power of corporate money in politics. The poster of W. James McNerney Jr., CEO of Boeing Corporation, pointed out that Boeing laid off 57,000 American workers while raking in $32 billion in profits. It received $58 billion in corporate welfare, but paid no income tax between 2002 and 2011.
Another poster depicted Leon Blankfein, the chairman of Goldman Sachs. His company spent $2.6 million for lobbying in 2012. Goldman Sachs in turn received $814 billion in loans along with a $10 billion bailout. At the same time, the investment banking firm holds up to 39 off-shore tax havens.
Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, was portrayed in another poster as the CEOs’ court jester. Emanuel was remembered for helping push the North American Free Trade Agreement through Congress in 1993, eliminating millions of American jobs. As Chicago’s mayor, he has continued that program, privatizing city services while trying to bust unions.
Chanting “Money out, voters in!” the protestors marched to Michigan Avenue, Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile,” ending the action with a spirited singing of the Woody Guthrie anthem “This Land is Your Land.”
The rally’s sponsors included Public Citizen, Move To Amend, Common Cause, MoveON, Illinois Public Interest Research Group, Coffee Party, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, American for Democratic Action, the 10th Dems, U.S. Uncut, DuPage County Green Party, Progressive Democrats of America – Illinois and Occupy Naperville.
Photo: Public Citizen. CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0.