Friday, January 13, 2012

Occupy locality

While Occupy Nashville is having little or no effect on Metro politics, in other cities other occupy groups are at least motivating local officials to express municipal opposition to controversial federal issues:

Portland City Council chambers overflowed this afternoon with supporters of two resolutions that grew out of the Occupy Wall Street and anti-war movements.

Both are largely symbolic.

The first measure takes aim at military spending and responds to a call from local peace activists in October ....

A second resolution, piggybacking on efforts in Los Angeles and elsewhere, establishes "that corporations should not receive the same legal rights as natural persons do, that money is not speech and that independent expenditures should be regulated" in political campaigns. It takes aim at the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which allows unlimited corporate spending in elections.

Mayor Sam Adams, the sponsor for both measures, introduced the second rule by noting that not all corporations act the same. And, he said, "the world would be a better place," if more corporations in the world behaved like Portland corporations.

"This is about what kind of electoral system we want to devise for ourselves," Adams said.

Both resolutions passed 3-0.

20-30 years ago a number of cities not only made symbolic efforts to counter Republican policies of appeasement of apartheid in South Africa, they also made substantive efforts to divest themselves from companies that did business with the Afrikaners in power. Symbolic efforts like these by Portland are an important first step, which is more than Nashville is taking.

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