The Workers' Paradise A Discussion of Workers Cooperatives and Building the New Economy

April 4, 2011

Wisconsin Co-operators Need to Vote on April 5th

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — John McNamara @ 4:28 pm

Tomorrow, people who live in Dane County and believe in co-operatives have 3 great reasons to vote tomorrow.

The first is JoAnne Kluppenburg who is running for Supreme Court–she will provide a better balance on the court by being an independent judge who considers the law, not the politics. File this vote under the Co-operative Principle of Autonomy and Independence.

The second is Joe Parisi for County Executive. I haven’t said much about Joe because I consider his race a slam dunk. However, he is known for being an effective manager and has committed himself to defending Dane County against the onslaught of the Corporatist attack. He also was a drummer for what I consider to be Madison’s best band in the 1980’s Honor Among Thieves.

The third is a county-wide referendum seeking to amend the US Constitution to correct the mistake of Citizens United. Corporations, like Co-operatives, are not people. Our government must be based on the rule of humans, not capital.

For those of us in Madison, we have two more reasons to vote tomorrow.

Paul Soglin is running for Mayor. He has promised to rebuild Madison’s economy with co-operatives as part of the mix. He has even proposed a City-wide Co-operative conference to assist the City planners and administrators to engage with the area co-operatives.

A city referendum to seek an amendment to the US Constitution similar to the County referendum.

For those of us in the 6th District, we have the opportunity to re-elect Marsha Rummel. In addition to her ability to facilitate the discussion in a very vocal (and somewhat contrarian district), she is also the manager of Rainbow Bookstore Co-operative. She is the only member of the Common Council who truly understands co-operatives inside and out.

Regardless of the outcome, however, we have to continue to push our agenda. Electoral politics only goes so far. Elected officials exist to ratify the consensus of the community, we need to build that consensus. Co-operators need to vote tomorrow and then stay engaged. Make co-operation a force. Demand that our economy mirror our values. Vote, then agitate!

3 Comments »

  1. Hi, I’ve stumbled across this site in search for information about co-ops. I certainly like the detail You provide. *two*thumbs*up* I just have one tiny point of contention. It regards the statement above on Citizens United. The line reads, “The third is a county-wide referendum seeking to amend the US Constitution to correct the mistake of Citizens United. Corporations, like Co-operatives, are not people. Our government must be based on the rule of humans, not capital.” Pretty good. Pretty good. However, the statement seems, do correct Me if I am wrong, based on the presumption the CU case equated corporations with People. It did not. The opinion can be found here: http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2008/2008_08_205#opinion. As You can see (or hear if You partake of the streaming aspect), while the court maintains political speech is indispensable to a democracy, which is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation, the court made no determination equating corporations with People. It took Me a while to realize this and I am an avid Follower of SCOTUS actions; so, not knowing how closely You follow the court, if You have been unaware until this point in time of this detail of Citizens United I might not be surprised. Other than this one point, I am really enjoying this blog, though! 🙂

    Comment by Brian P. Rabbit — August 16, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  2. Thanks for reading! I have to start writing on a regular basis again (and will once I get three papers under control). I get the nuance of what you are saying, there is a difference in the speech from a corporation. That speech is called advertising and advertising does get restricted. This opinion essentially argued that corp and human speech are the same at least in the political arena. Okay. I do believe that there is an 1890’s ruling which is credited with the granting of legal personhood to corporations. I think that the documentary, The Corporation discusses this.

    Comment by John McNamara — August 16, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

  3. “Thanks for reading!” Hey, thanks for blogging! 🙂

    “That speech is called advertising and advertising does get restricted.” Commercial advertising gets restricted, yes, subject to intermediate scrutiny. Political advertising, conversely, is subject to far fewer judicial/legal restraints. As a general rule, restrictions on political speech, regardless of the “Speaker” must withstand a strict scrutiny analysis or be deemed invalid.

    The case of which You are thinking is probably Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394 (1886), in which the Reporter noted in the headnote to the opinion the Chief Justice began oral argument by stating, “The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.” However, the headnote is not part of the Court’s opinion and thus not precedent. I think what the court was going for in Citizens United was something along these lines: People (Humans) have a right to engage in political speech generally unencumbered by the law; when They join Together in a group, They retain that right; calling that group a “corporation” does not remove that right anymore than calling it a “club”, “league”, “partnership”, “co-operative”, or “qwijibo”. However, I readily admit I am a little less versed in the logic of the Individual Justices than I would like to be.

    If I may muse for a moment, I am wondering, to diminish chances of corrupting influences, should We not demand sitting Members of the congress to enact tough ethics rules prohibiting Them from accepting any political donations of any kind unless both chamber are in recess? Admittedly, such a restriction won’t do much for so-called “outside expenditures”, though. To diminish the influence of that class of funds, We would probably need to increase the size of the House and/or the Senate. Hmm, come to think of it, such a move might be good in general. I often hear People complain how Members of the congress do not “listen to Their Constituents”. More Members, at least in the House, would make districts smaller and increase communication efficiency. LOL, why do I have this feeling some Mathematician somewhere has already crafted an equation for the ideal number of Representatives and wrote it down in a paper Nobody has read?

    Comment by Brian P. Rabbit — August 16, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

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