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Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's ice cream and the Move to Amend advocacy group will distribute rubber stamps to mark dollar bills with anti-corporate election spending messages.

Dollar bill rubber stamped with Occupy message. (photo: OccupyGeorge.com)
Dollar bill rubber stamped with Occupy message. (photo: OccupyGeorge.com)



Ben & Jerry's Co-Founder: Occupy Dollar Bills

By Liz Goodwin, The Lookout

05 June 12

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

Ben and Jerry's co-founder wants to rubber-stamp dollar bills with Occupy messages.

en 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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+41 # Billy Bob 2012-06-05 09:15
Brilliant idea.
 
 
+7 # John Locke 2012-06-05 12:13
I like it also, except there is a law against defacing "Government" Currency, and the Government will argue Federal Reserve Notes are Government money...It isn't!

But do you blieve that will stop the Justice Department...Th at is a message that will lead to a revolution if enough people see it understand it and react as they should
 
 
+2 # RLF 2012-06-06 06:20
You are right...Justice will probably prosecute people for defacing money and continue to let bankers walk free. Typical of the spine of Holder.
 
 
+30 # medusa 2012-06-05 10:12
What I have read is that the Citizen United decision itself was the reversal of longstanding precedents, so much so that it prompted Obama to denounce it when it was passed. It feels strange and unAmerican because it is.
Government of the people, by the people, for the people--let's revive it!
 
 
+12 # DougB 2012-06-05 11:07
Where is a good place to get these stamps? Should you just have them made custom?
 
 
+15 # Wolfchen 2012-06-05 11:24
You can have your own stamp made up localy. It will have more impact, however, if coordinated messages are used. Repetition of easy to remember slogans have more power.
 
 
+8 # pamitty 2012-06-05 11:11
That would save time spent writing slogans on it. I want to know how to get one.
 
 
+7 # RedLeaf 2012-06-05 11:16
There is always the power of the pen...

Start writing - be creative.
 
 
+20 # Wolfchen 2012-06-05 11:18
We need to add the following stamp:

"Impeach Supreme Court judges who subvert the law and betray Democracy for corporate Plutocracy."

There should also be massive demonstrations in front of the US Supreme Court. This could be brought about by well organized "Occupy Now" organizations. Corruption in our judicial system has to be confronted head-on, so as to give viability to the efforts for bringing about a Constitutional Amendment overriding to override "Citizens United".
 
 
+7 # James Marcus 2012-06-05 11:24
Marvelous! and Riotous!
But, Should be 'Current Property of the 1%'

( And, with Printing Presses Rolling, Funny-Money, at best!) ..........Ben, will be Busted..... for 'Inciting a Riot', be it Laughter or, finally, Revolution; unto replacing all of Congress, currently, a Ship of Thieves as well as Fools...
 
 
+17 # Wolfchen 2012-06-05 11:35
Public Financing of Elections must be demanded, and all politicians who do not support this objective must be voted out of office.

The Republicans demand a pledge of "no new taxes".

America needs a pledge of "Public Financing of Elections NOW.
 
 
+7 # Joe Bob 2012-06-05 12:23
We had better do something before we are all totally irrelevant. Since it's money we are stamping, a good stamp would be ARREST THE BANKERS AND WALL STREETERS.
 
 
+6 # letpeacereign 2012-06-05 13:08
These stamps are a great idea! Thanks
 
 
+6 # MichiganLiberal 2012-06-05 13:54
Count me in. Our currency already comes pre-defaced with the legend "Federal Reserve Note" anyway, so we may as well add something useful.
 
 
+2 # 14democracy 2012-06-05 14:04
I love this idea. "Money is NOT Free Speech!","Inval id if used to Bribe Politicians or Pay Lobbyists", "Invalid if used to pay Corporate CEO's",and "NOT TO BE USED TO BAIL OUT BANKSTERS OR WALL STREET CROOKS","On Temporary Loan by the 1%" would be other good rubber stamp slogans.
 
 
-7 # CandH 2012-06-05 14:40
"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."

Wait a minute...In April of 2000, Ben & Jerrys was sold to Unilever PLC, a corp with worldwide "market capitalisation of £27.3 billion ($42 billion) as of 23 December 2011, the 18th-largest of ANY company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange." (Wikipedia)

Um, this is a powerful tragicomedy setup in the works. What/why/how would someone in this disposition get involved with "highlight[ing] the influence of corp money in American politics?" Just asking...
 
 
+1 # Bodiotoo 2012-06-05 18:13
Maybe Ben Cohen is not quite of the mind set...that he has to have it all..he already earned a nice piece of the pie and has been sharing his success right along.
 
 
+1 # CandH 2012-06-06 10:07
That would be true, except for the following conflicting problems with that statement:

1--Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield were physically at OWS in Zuccotti Park last year scooping out Unilever-Owned Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream; and

2--If Facebook/Zucker berg and Bain Capital/Romney hasn't taught you anything about M&As (Mergers & Acquisitions) and "Going Public" yet, there is a complete mythology to suggest that there is "success" when you "go public" or "sell yourself to a bigger fish." As we've seen, M&As in the last 30+ years are almost entirely derived from the Fed Greenspan's Reaganite monetary policies, and his fanatical push to deregulate banking to the point of criminal lunacy.

So, if anything, Cohen and Greenfield rode/profited on the coattails of Greenspan's ideologies, to sell their corporation to a massive multi-national foreign-based corporation, and are still supporting that behemoth corporation vis-a-vis marketing the product to OWS participants. Beyond the chutzpah it takes for them to even suggest they believe otherwise, it is thusly categorically ridiculous to ignore these plain vanilla facts.
 
 
+1 # kyzipster 2012-06-06 06:53
This isn't the French Revolution, it's a battle of ideologies, not a movement to destroy successful people. When rich and successful people get behind OWS, all the better.

There are quite a few corporations that make a hefty profit while embracing progressive ideals, they should be highlighted, not criticized.

Also from Wiki on Ben & Jerry's:

"In 2010, Jostein Solheim, a Unilever executive from Norway, became the new CEO of the company and had this to say about the transition: "My mantra that I've repeated a hundred times since starting at Ben & Jerry's is: ‘Change is a wonderful thing,'" he said. "The world needs dramatic change to address the social and environmental challenges we are facing. Values led businesses can play a critical role in driving that positive change. We need to lead by example, and prove to the world that this is the best way to run a business. Historically, this company has been and must continue to be a pioneer to continually challenge how business can be a force for good and address inequities inherent in global business.""
 
 
+1 # CandH 2012-06-06 10:52
I like the added quote. It's right out of an MIT MBA double-speak program. Observe:

"Historically, this company has been and must continue to be a pioneer to continually challenge how business can be a force for good and address inequities inherent in global business."

Also, from Wikipedia about the historical value of this company, "The initial harvesting of palm oil was from British West Africa, from where news reports seen back in England showed the workers abroad in favourable conditions.[7] In 1911 the company received a concession for 750,000 hectares of forest in Belgian Congo, mostly south of Bandundu, where a system of forced labour operated.[8] The subsidiary of Lever Brothers was named "Huileries du Congo Belge". During the great depression in the thirties, the Huileries sharply decreased the fee for gathered oil nuts, while the government of Belgian Congo strongly increased taxation. This resulted in social unrest in 1931, which is known as the Revolution of the Pende, in which eventually more than 400 members of the Pende tribe were killed." And that's only on compromised by PR Wikipedia.

Please stop with the Romney-esque mantra of "destroying successful people" crap. As stated in response to Bodiotoo, success has NEVER had anything to do with criticism of corporations, and the people who profit off of them, unless you count following Greenspan's ideologies as "successful."
 
 
0 # kyzipster 2012-06-06 14:33
"Romney-esque", oh grow up. So Ben Cohen sold his company and that makes him somehow guilty of genocide in 1931? It wipes out his very impressive work for the progressive cause? Not in my view.
 
 
0 # CandH 2012-06-06 20:11
Hm, grow up? Maybe this explanation fits that request:

"...former AFL-CIO economist Thomas Palley, who has recently published what looks to be perhaps the most important book of the year, From Financial Crisis to Stagnation: The Destruction of Shared Prosperity and the Role of Economics:

"…the roots of the financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession can be traced to a faulty U.S. macro-economic paradigm that has its roots in neoliberalism, which has been the dominant intellectual paradigm.

**One flaw in the paradigm was the growth model adopted after 1980 that relied on debt and asset price inflation to drive demand in place of wage growth linked to productivity growth.**(the M&A model of economic growth)

**A second flaw was the model of engagement with the global economy that created a triple economic hemorrhage of spending on imports, manufacturing job losses, and off-shoring of investment.**(M &A investments to off-shore behemoths)

The combination of stagnant wages and the triple hemorrhage from flawed globalization gradually cannibalized the U.S. economy’s income and demand-generati ng process that had been created after World War II on the back of the New Deal. However, this cannibaliztion was obscured by financial developments that plugged the growing demand gap."

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/06/neo-liberalism-de-capitalizationde-industrialization-and-the-res-publica.html
 
 
+1 # Evolouie 2012-06-06 07:01
Quoting CandH:
What/why/how would someone in this disposition get involved with "highlight[ing] the influence of corp money in American politics?" Just asking...

Ben Cohen has been very active for a long time in trying to fix some of the current problems.
One of his best projects was the Oreo video for US Action and True Majority.

Watch the Oreo video from back in 2007.
http://www.truemajority.com/oreos/
 
 
+1 # Davethinks 2012-06-06 12:57
All my dollar bills (both of them) are already defaced with a graffiti that says, "IN GOD WE TRUST." So I need a stamp that blots that out as it inscribes a proper message.
 
 
+1 # Anarchist 23 2012-06-06 13:45
"Money doesn't talk, it swears" Bob Dylan
Use a red pen!
 
 
0 # Trueblue Democrat 2012-06-07 10:28
During the run up to the 2000 general election, I overprinted dollar bills with the message "with this $1 and a million more you too can bribe Dubya."

You should have seen store managers just about give themselves hernias rushing over to remove the bills from circulation.
 
 
-1 # cypress72 2012-06-12 11:20
Why don't Ben&Jerry "redistibute" their vast fortunes, since, afterall, all they did was produce a product that has contributed to the epidemic of obesity in this country. Aren't they ashamed of all the morbidly obese people that bury their face in the containers of "Cherry Garcia"??? What does Michelle Obama think of them ??? Doesn't she want to get ice cream banned from school lunches???
 

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