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Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Occupy Wall Street Constitution?

Things have heated up nationally today with the occupy movements. Obviously these groups have diverse members. Indeed, last night, one of Jon Stewart's "reporters" did a funny story about the supposed class divide within the Occupy Wall Street movement. The highlight was when an I-Pad owning OWS member said he would never just donate his device to a poorer member of OWS, since it was personal property. So my post here is a bit of a thought experiment. Yet I'm wondering what an Occupy Wall Street U. S. Constitution might look like (an OWS draft "manifesto" was circulated at one time, but it was a set of policy recommendations rather than constitutional provisions). The parallel is that various scholars have already started writing about the Tea Party's constitutional views. Of course, there's more to work with on that question since Tea Party members have talked explicitly about their notion of the U.S. Constitution. But let me offer a few initial thoughts.

First, I think an OWS U.S. Constitution would make clear that corporations are not persons. This would facilitate the OWS agenda opposing corporate influence. Second, their constitution might include socio-economic rights provisions, especially regarding employment, education, and welfare. Third, the document might embrace a form of radical de-centralized democracy, though that could be in tension with strong national rights provisions. I wonder what others think. If the occupy movement survives and becomes less divided, perhaps something regarding the constitution might emerge.

P.S. Congrats to Dan and Paul for being quoted earlier this week in a New York Times blog (if my memory is correct)

Posted by Mark kende on November 17, 2011 at 07:23 PM | Permalink


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Would the OWS U.S. Constitution tell the "NAACP" or the "NYT" that they have no rights to sue under the 14A since they are only corporate entities? Or, if Ben & Jerrys wish to sue when the government prohibited its advertising of Stephen Colbert's ice cream, only Ben or Jerry, not the company, could sue? Or, as all nine justices believed in Citizens United, are corporations limited persons that can be treated differently in various contexts, the differences a matter of dispute?

Posted by: Joe | Nov 17, 2011 7:50:33 PM

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