At least 250 San Diegans rallied on Friday, January 20th, in downtown San Diego against the US Supreme Court case known as “Citizens United”. It was the one year anniversary of the court decision that gutted campaign finance reform and that has eroded citizens’ rights of freedom of speech.
Organized by Women Occupy San Diego and Common Cause in conjunction with a national group called Move to Amend, the well-attended gathering next to the Federal Building was the largest protest in this city against the Supreme Court decision that has come to represent everything bad in modern American elections.
The three women speakers all strove to have the protest focus on the worst in presidential and electoral politics. Keynote speaker Marjorie Cohn, law school professor and long-time activist, gave the background to Citizens United and decried how corporations are not citizens as “they don’t pass the belly button test”. She set the intellectual stage of why we oppose this horrific Supreme Court ruling allowing unfettered corporate monies to corrupt and overwhelm the fragile democratic process.
Tahra Ludwig then gave a very impassioned speech, drawing close parallels between San Diego’s hundred-year-old Free Speech Fight by the Wobblies in downtown San Diego with the harassment that the Occupy San Diego movement has experienced from San Diego police. Ludwig has been an activist with Occupy San Diego, lives in Point Loma, and is in the process of joining the OB Rag.
Rounding out the trio, Lori Saldana addressed the crowd, as she is running for Congress in the 52nd Congressional District, as a former state Assemblywoman. Saldana has been a supporter of progressive issues locally and has identified herself as a Occupy Wall Street enthusiast.
The crowd was blessed with the singing by the group Occupellas – a group of women vocalists supportive of Occupy San Diego, who have rewritten several old songs with new lyrics more in tune with current issues.
For a mid-day rally during the week, the turn-out at this protest was very good. Kudos to the women who organized this event. We do need to keep the pressure on against Citizens United – and until it is overturned or replaced – corporate and Super-Pac money in US politics will continue to exercise the loudest voice and drown out those of the citizens.
And true to form, very little corporate press was on hand to record the protest. In fact, it appears that the “new” U-T San Diego totally ignored the rally.
Also, interestingly enough, yesterday’s rally in San Diego was apparently one of the largest in the nation. (See this report.)
Check out the gallery – most photos were taken by Lowell Waxman (click on image for larger version):