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Forum Post: Ben and Jerry’s Co-founder: Ben - "Time to Occupy Dollar Bills"

Posted 2 years ago on June 20, 2012, 2:23 p.m. EST by NewStart2012 (112)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Published on Monday, June 4, 2012 by Common Dreams Ben and Jerry’s Co-founder:

Time to Occupy Dollar Bills

  • Common Dreams staff

Yahoo! News reports that Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, is teaming up with Move to Amend to “distribute rubber stamps with anti-corporate election spending messages so that the politically-minded can mark their dollar bills.”

Cohen plans to put a giant stamping machine on a national tour in August to encourage “thousands of people to buy rubber stamps and stamp any currency that comes into their possession.”

Slogans like “Corporations are not people,” “Money is not speech” and “Not to be used for bribing politicians,” will now adorn currency in an Occupy cash campaign. The goal of Move to Amend is to secure a constitutional amendment that says “corporations do not enjoy the same protected rights as individuals and that money is not a form of speech.”

Cohen’s attorney says that as long as the bills are still legible, it is legal to put the stamps on them.

Yahoo! News’ Lookout reports:

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and one of the deep pockets behind the Occupy movement, says he is helping launch a campaign this summer to highlight the influence of corporate money in American politics.

Cohen and the Move to Amend advocacy group will distribute rubber stamps with anti-corporate election spending messages so that the politically minded can mark their dollar bills. The end goal: To secure a constitutional amendment saying corporations do not enjoy the same protected rights as individuals and that money is not a form of speech.

Cohen plans to put a giant stamping machine on a national tour in August to encourage “thousands of people to buy rubber stamps and stamp any currency that comes into their possession,” he tells Yahoo News. According to his attorney, this is legal, as long as the bills are still legible after the stamping. The Occupy movement tried the stamp tactic last October, defacing dollar bills with infographics that showed the income distribution in American society.

This round of stamps will include “Corporations are not people,” “Money is not speech” and “Not to be used for bribing politicians,” among other slogans.

The amendment for which Cohen is advocating would reverse decades of Supreme Court decisions, which have extended free speech and other rights to corporations and have ruled that spending money is a form of protected speech. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010 held that corporations and unions can spend unlimited amounts of money during elections as long as they are not directly funding individual candidates. (This led to the rise of independent super PACs, which have poured millions of dollars into this election cycle alone.) The decision overturned existing campaign finance laws.

Cohen expects this iteration of the Occupy campaign to be tougher than its first, when thousands of people “occupied” public spaces in cities around the country. “In some ways, it’s kind of a more difficult and certainly a more time consuming task than occupying parks,” he said. Nearly all of the Occupy encampments were gone by the winter, when local police and cold weather drove the protesters away.

Cohen announced in February that he had raised $300,000—some of it, surprisingly, from wealthy businessmen—to fund Occupy-related projects, and that he hoped to reach $1.8 million. Cohen’s group, the Movement Resource Group, has raised only $100,000 since then, however, and he’s not optimistic that it will hit the original goal.

Nevertheless, other Occupy operatives say they plan to launch new projects this summer. Adam Nelson, who has tried to hone Occupy’s message through his public relations firm, tells Yahoo News that protesters plan to disrupt the Republican convention in Tampa in August, when the party will officially choose its presidential nominee. The group will try to project protest messages on nearby buildings from the rooms of hotel rooms and enlist local high school marching bands to circle the convention in a “massive Occupy marching unit.”



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[-] 3 points by RememberIlluminatti (7) 2 years ago

Clever.I'm going to have my stamps made soon.Here's another, even more potent idea: write out several e-mails outlining your concerns with and commitment to not buying imported products from every major store, listing as many consumer goods as you can think of in your e-mail. Then, demand that U.S. Americans be put back to work immediately in all sectors of manufacturing in this economy, starting with all consumer goods that you have listed.Save these e-mails for repeated daily use and send.You can change details and format daily for variety if you want to be effective.Then send them daily by the dozens to every retail corporate headquarters you can think of. And stick to the demand: Refuse to buy anything imported unless you absolutely must have it. Change will happen quickly as retailers sniff the cash register winds hourly for signs of consumer changes in buying habits.Don't forget the corporate headquarters for pharmacies, electronics and footwear stores. It is time the pharma,electronics and footwear manufacturing industries comes back home where they were invented and belong.Put your neighbor back to work by demanding it with every dollar you spend. Now there is some 'fair trade' that will change this depression and secure the U.S. dollar's stability and worth, for generations to come. The American consumer holds all the power over this economy and this government. They just don't know it because they are too busy feeling like victims. And don't forget to rubber stamp your bucks. That does a lot of talking in all kinds of places. Genius idea.

[-] 3 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

If money speaks, how come I can't get the guy on the front of the bill to talk to me. He keeps giving me the cold shoulder. Is there some trick I don't know about.

Joking aside. I like this idea. The kleptomaniacs like to make money holler for them. Fight fire with fire and make the people's money holler back.

[-] 1 points by NewStart2012 (112) 2 years ago

Agreed! The great thing is, we don't have to wait for the stamps. Anyone can do this right now! I have read f people who have done this for a while now, using a black magic marker. They just write their own messages on the bills. So long as the numbers are still visible on the money it is still usable. It can be any message you want. "The Federal Reserve is a private bank", "Google The NWO", "Google The Money Masters", etc. Have fun with it!

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

speech is not done in private nor should contributions

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

If they work for the people, all of it should be public.

[-] 2 points by doitagain (234) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

I saw one dollar bills many times already, but i didnt expect such news from yahoo. very surprised.

[-] 2 points by Shule (2239) 2 years ago

Suggested dollar stamping "Not to be used for purchasing corporate products."

And "For Local Business use only."

One can also use a pen......

[-] 1 points by NewStart2012 (112) 2 years ago

My Sharpie is in the car! I've started doing this. I hardly make a purchase without some sort of informative message on the bills. I saw a similar link recently called "POST IT REVOLUTION", where people use the yellow sticky post-it notes and leave informative messages everywhere. All easy and inexpensive ways to spread information.

[-] 1 points by Shule (2239) 2 years ago

Also, how about graffiti?

I'm not sure how well the link works, but from the title of the article, you can get the idea:

"Gaza's writing on the wall; A look at how graffiti has evolved as an art form and a tool of resistance in the Strip."


[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Excellent idea. Creative and delivers the message in a clear and unique way.

[-] 1 points by SiriusBlackSun (8) 2 years ago

Sometimes, the smallest and easiest ideas are the best, with the farthest reach!

[-] 1 points by SiriusBlackSun (8) 2 years ago

How very clever!