Article Twenty-Six: (by petition) To see if the Town will vote to adopt the following resolution, or take any action relative thereto:

Resolution to Legalize Democracy and Abolish Corporate Personhood

Whereas, government of, by, and for the people has long been a cherished American value, and We The People"s fundamental and inalienable right to self-govern, and thereby secure rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed in the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and;

Whereas, free and fair elections are essential to democracy and effective self-governance, and;

Whereas, persons are rightfully recognized as human beings whose essential needs include clean air, clean water, safe and secure food, and;

Whereas, corporations are entirely human-made legal fictions created by express permission of We The People and our government, and;

Whereas, corporations can exist in perpetuity, can exist simultaneously in many nations at once, need only profit for survival, and exist solely through the legal charter imposed by the government of We The People, and;

Whereas, in addition to these advantages, the great wealth of large corporations allows them to wield coercive force of law to overpower human beings and communities, thus denying We The People"s exercise of our Constitutional rights, and;

Whereas, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution. The People have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor have We decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of We The People of the United States.

Whereas, interpretation of the US Constitution by unelected Supreme Court justices to include corporations in the term "persons" has long denied We The Peoples" exercise of self-governance by endowing corporations with Constitutional protections intended for We The People, and;

Whereas, the illegitimate judicial bestowal of civil and political rights upon corporations usurps basic human and Constitutional rights guaranteed to human persons, and also empowers corporations to sue municipal and state governments for adopting laws that violate "corporate rights" even when those laws serve to protect and defend the rights of human persons and communities, and;

Whereas, corporations are not and have never been human beings, and therefore are rightfully subservient to human beings and governments as our legal creations, and;

Whereas, large corporations" profits and survival are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings, and;

Whereas, large corporations have used their so-called "rights" to overturn democratically enacted laws passed at municipal, state and federal levels, aimed at curbing corporate abuse, thereby rendering local governments ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate harms to the environment, to health, to workers, to independent business, to local and regional economies, and;

Whereas, the recent Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision that rolled back the legal limits on corporate spending in the electoral process creates an unequal playing field and allows unlimited corporate spending to influence elections, candidate selection, policy decisions and sway votes, and forces elected officials to divert their attention from The Peoples" business, or even vote against the interest of their human constituents, in order to ensure competitive campaign funds for their own re-election, and;

Whereas, large corporations own most of America"s mass media and use that media as a megaphone to express loudly their political agenda and to convince Americans that their primary role is that of consumers, rather than sovereign citizens with rights and responsibilities within our democracy, and this forces citizens to toil to discern the truth behind headlines and election campaigning, and;

Whereas, tens of thousands of people and municipalities across the nation are joining with the Campaign to Legalize Democracy in the United States to call for an Amendment to the US Constitution to Abolish Corporate Personhood;

Therefore be it resolved that the Town of Leverett, Massachusetts hereby calls on our Selectboard to join the tens of thousands of citizens, grassroots organizations and local governments across the county in the Campaign to Legalize Democracy in the US and to call for an Amendment to the Constitution to Abolish Corporate Personhood and return our democracy, our elections, our communities back to America"s human persons and to thus reclaim our sovereign right to self-governance.

Be it further resolved that the Town of Leverett, Massachusetts supports education to increase public awareness of the threats to our democracy posed by Corporate Personhood, and encourages lively discussion to build understanding and consensus to take appropriate community and municipal actions to democratically respond to these threats.