We’re all familiar with the many issues caused by the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision. It will be many years (and many election cycles) before we see any changes to the new electoral landscape the decision has created. What can we do in the short term?
Maxim Thorne has some intriguing answers. On Tuesday, July 10th from 5:00 – 6:15 pm EST, Funding Exchange will present a political education call: Citizens United: What’s Possible for Donors and Activists.
During the call, Maxim, who holds teaching positions at Yale College, Yale Law School and Yale School of Management, will explore his provocative idea that nonprofits can and should begin to think of financial power and freedom of speech differently. He’ll explain why nonprofits must stop ignoring the positive and powerful implications of Citizens United (CU).
Through Maxim’s vision, we can can harnesses the existing investment in community organizing, support movement-building and further advance organized opposition, not only around issues like corporate personhood, but against any racial, economic or social injustice.
FEX staff first struck up a conversation with Maxim about this at the Left Forum conference panel about what the left can learn from the fall of ACORN. He is insightful and bold in his thinking about the implications of the Citizens United decision.
Maxim holds that the broad language of CU opens up the possibility that IRS political and advocacy restrictions will be undone. That’s right: no more real distinctions under the Court’s ruling between c3 organizations, c4s and PACs. In fact, these distinctions didn’t use to exist. Maxim believes that we’re arriving there again within the next few years. Religious institutions already have freedom of speech AND freedom of tax-benefits. Maxim suggests that we can have it as well, and that we can use this status to undo corporate personhood, take on other issues, and challenge the Citizens United ruling in the process.
Have questions? Other ideas? Join us on July 10th for a lively discussion of how we can exploit the “liberation” of corporate free speech in the c3 realm to craft longer-term restrictions on the influence of money on our democracy. It’s sure to be a memorable discussion.