Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Founders Get Arrested At U.S. Capitol

The co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Ben Cohen, and Jerry Greenfield, were two of the 1200+ arrested in the past week at the U.S. Capitol to protest the influence big money has in politics as part of the Democracy Spring movement. According to the U.S. Capitol Police, those arrested were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, which is unlawful demonstration activity. Both Cohen and Greenfield were processed and released on scene.

Ben Cohen also runs a non-profit, Stamp Stampede, which literally stamps money out of politics. The stamps stamp money with slogans such as ‘Not to be used for bribing politicians.’

“No matter what issue you are most passionate about—environment, healthcare, soaring prescription drug costs—the root cause is always linked to corporations giving so-called donations in large sums to politicians, in a process Senator John McCain has called ‘legalized bribery,’” Ben Cohen told me in an interview for the New York Observer in December 2015. A few hundred really wealthy people put in the majority of early contributions to our country’s presidential candidates,” he said. “In the context of congress, our representatives get gobs of money from corporations through lobbyists for either passing or not passing legislation, essentially transforming our democracy into an oligarchy. We can’t tackle the rest of the problems until we tackle this basic one. It’s difficult to address because it requires an amendment to overturn a Supreme Court decision, but that’s what Americans have done throughout history—we have worked to overturn egregious decisions, which is why we have the constitutional amendment process.”

The non-profit’s website, StampStampede.org, has photos of stamped money posing with Senator Elizabeth Warren and other advocates for getting money out of politics. As long as corporate and wealthy influences can undermine democracy through campaign contributions, the gridlock in congress will persist and most likely worsen. Big money doesn’t want meaningful progressive reforms, they want to influence legislation to insulate themselves from the rigors of a competitive market while exploiting tax loopholes and government subsidies to maximize their profits at the expense of the working and middle classes in America.


Featured Image Courtesy of Flickr