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The Story of Citizens United

Annie Leonard’s new film asks: Why have corporations gotten so powerful? And what can we do about it?
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Annie Leonard, the Story of Citizens United

Do you want a healthy environment, good jobs with fair wages, access to affordable health care? So do most Americans, but too often our political system stands in the way. Why is that, if we live in a democracy?

Annie Leonard (creator of The Story of Stuff, The Story of Cap & TradeThe Story of Cosmetics, The Story of Bottled Water, and The Story of Electronics) is back, this time with a pithy video that takes on the role of corporate power in American democracy. A year ago, the Supreme Court decided in Citizens United v. The Federal Elections Commission that corporations are persons with the right to free speech—including the right to spend unlimited money to influence the outcome of elections. In the next federal election, the 2010 midterms, outside groups spent more money than they had in all the midterms since 1990—combined.

Of course, corporations are much more powerful than most real people—of the 100 largest economies in the world, Annie points out, more than half aren't countries, but corporations—and they're also required, by law, to pursue maximum profits, even at the expense of the environment or jobs. So it's not that surprising that their interests aren't in line with those of most Americans, or that 85 percent of us now feel that corporations have too much influence in our democracy.

So what can be done about it? 

Click here for Annie's tips: 5 ways you can help stop Citizens United.


Video courtesy of the Story of Stuff Project.


  • Read more of YES! Magazine's coverage of ways to respond to the Citizens United court decision.

More videos from Annie Leonard:

  • The Story of Stuff
: The Story of Stuff will take you on a provocative tour of our consumer-driven culture—from resource extraction to iPod incineration—exposing the real costs of our use-it and lose-it approach to stuff.
  • The Story of Cap & Trade: 
Asking tough questions about who cap and trade really benefits—and whether it will make a difference in averting catastrophic climate change.
  • The Story of Bottled Water
: Should you be worried about your tap water? Yes, but not for the reason you expected.
  • The Story of Cosmetics: What's in your shampoo, anyway? Annie Leonard explores the toxins in our bathrooms, and what to do about them.
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