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Can We Stamp Money Out Of Politics… With A Stamp?

The other day, when I looked at my change from the grocery store, one bill stood out in particular. It was a one dollar bill, and right next to the face of George Washington, there was printed, in red ink, the message: Stamp Money Out Of Politics: Amend The Constitution”. I’d never seen this message before, but it certainly got my attention, so I decided to research where the bill had come from.

stamp money out of politicsLooking more closely at the stamped message, I saw that there was a web address there, but I couldn’t quite make it out, as the ink was smudged. Still, it wasn’t hard to find the site online. A simple Startpage search for the phrase “stamp money out of politics stamp” brought me to the site Stamp Stampede.

It turns out that Stamp Stampede, which is dedicated to spreading opposition to unlimited campaign finance through independent expenditures by commercial corporations, was founded by Ben Cohen, one of the founders of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. The inspiration for Stamp Stampede came in part from Occupy George, a similar activist effort in which red messages about income inequality are stamped on dollar bills.

Is Stamp Stampede an effective form of activism? In its ultimate goal, to get corporate money out of our democratic process, it hasn’t worked yet. However, that one stamped dollar bill did get me to take notice of the cause, and to write about it, spreading word of it to you. So, it’s been successful at least in moving the issue forward that one additional step…

… which is more than will get done if we just sit around and fume in private about how corrupt the American electoral system has become.

13 thoughts on “Can We Stamp Money Out Of Politics… With A Stamp?”

  1. DrRGP says:

    Last I heard, it was a federal crime to “deface” the currency. I learned this when I wanted to place a penny on a railway track just before the arrival of a train. Other kids already had collections of flattened pennies and even nickels, and I wanted to start my own. But my father, who was observing me from a short distance, told me I was about to commit a federal crime.

    1. Doctor Fever says:

      This article is a long time coming. As the word gets out, more and more stamped dollars should flow to elected representatives. Leave a stamped dollar as a tip in your local rep’s office.

      While it is possible to deface money in an illegal fashion, the Stamp Stampede demonstrates the many legal ways of stamping paper money.

      Done on an increasing scale, and done with diligence and commitment (just like the big boys do), the Stamp Stampede can return representative government to this country.

  2. Horatio says:

    Here’s what this stamp company has to say about it, DrRGP: “Many people assume that it’s illegal to stamp or write on paper currency, but that’s not the case. It’s illegal to destroy paper currency or deface it so much that it’s no longer recognizable and has to be taken out of circulation. But that’s definitely not what we’re up to.”

    http://www.stampstampede.org/pages/legal

    What your dad says about the law is probably not the most reliable source.

  3. Mark says:

    Where’s George (www.wheresgeorge.com) has been stamping money for over a decade now. As long as the stamp is not advertising, it’s fine.

  4. Jim Cook says:

    When I was a kid Northern Sun sold peace sign stamps that fit the circles of dollar bills.

  5. ella says:

    G*d Bless Ben and Jerry and you for passing it on. That is a unique way to get the message across. I sue hope it works. But where is the petition? Put up an online petition. It takes a huge amount of people to cause a Constitutional Amendment. 2/3 of the states to ratify it. As you say, this is a beginning.

  6. Virginia says:

    Thank you for writing about Stamp Stampede! We’d love to send you a stamp if you’re interested in joining the cause–please email virginia@stampstampede.org.

  7. zaphod says:

    I stamp ALL of my cash. When I spend it I feel quite good about spreading the message. 🙂

  8. Brooklynnygrl says:

    I feel it’s my duty to get the corruption message out there. I love stamping my money & spreading the word.

  9. Sid says:

    I have the “not to be used for bribing politicians” one & have been stamping $20s for almost 2 yrs now.

  10. James says:

    I’ve given away over 100 stamps from Stampstampede.org to fellow stampers. I’ll ask a group of like minded activists “How many of you have protested in the last month?” Most hands will go up. Then I’l mention that I protested 4 times today. I protested at Starbucks, Mc Donnalds, my local grocery store and movie theater and my protests will be seen by thousands of people and I didn’t use the internet!

    I used to do my commerce with my debit card. Now I get my money for the week in $5 & $1 because no business deposits $5 & $1 at the bank so they stay in circulation. I’ve been stamping for years and never had a problem but I have had a lot of interesting conversations with cashiers.

  11. David Keeler says:

    I’ve been stamping for over 4 years, daily. Have had a few merchants complain the bill counting machines have a problem with stamped currency (as well as worn); my usual replay is: That’s why it’s good to have few employees to oversee the counting machines.” Usually ends the discussion.

  12. Bob says:

    I have stamped over 10,000 bills. I stopped counting at 10,000. The first 5,000 or so had CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE AND MONEY IS NOT FREE SPEECH on the back and NOT TO BE USED FOR BUYING ELECTIONS on the front. The Corporation stamp was to hard to use.
    .
    My credit card bills have drastically dropped. When I get money from the banks from the bank it is in $1.00 and $5.00, usally about 7 $1.00 for each $5.00 I stamp my wife and daughters money also. I have had many conversations and enlightened many a person who had no idea what was going on.

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