[RAISETHEFIST] Corporations as PersonHoods or RobinHoods? (fwd)
measl at mfn.org
Mon Jan 24 16:00:08 PST 2011
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 14:10:34 -0800
From: "Banuelos, Max" <max.banuelos at lausd.net>
Reply-To: raisethefist at lists.riseup.net
To: raisethefist at lists.riseup.net
Subject: [RAISETHEFIST] Corporations as PersonHoods or RobinHoods?
It's unbelievable that in the united states colleges and university
students and people are taught this garbage, A Corporate Soul,
untouchable by the hand of any creation or creator, above the divine and
any citizen. A plant has more respect and more logical right to exist
as opposed to corporations 'whose' claim is above anybody, anything, and
everything. The result......borrowed time.
Resolution Calling to Amend the Constitution Banning Corporate
Personhood Introduced in Vermont
The Image of Corporations on Nature. Any Questions?
On the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, Vermont politicians
are moving to deny corporations the rights that humans enjoy.
By Christopher Ketcham
January 22, 2011 "AlterNet
> " -- - A year ago today, the Supreme Court issued its bizarre Citizens
United decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections as a
form of "free speech" for the corporate "person." Justice John Paul
Stevens, writing for the dissent, had the task of recalling the majority
to planet earth and basic common sense.
"Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts,
no desires," wrote Stevens. "Corporations help structure and facilitate
the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often
serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of
'We the People' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."
Fortunately, movements are afoot to reverse a century of accumulated
powers and protections granted to corporations by wacky judicial
In Vermont, state senator Virginia Lyons on Friday presented an
anti-corporate personhood resolution for passage in the Vermont
legislature. The resolution, the first of its kind, proposes "an
amendment to the United States Constitution ... which provides that
corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States."
Sources in the state house say it has a good chance of passing. This
same body of lawmakers, after all, once voted to impeach George W. Bush,
and is known for its anti-corporate legislation. Last year the Vermont
senate became the first state legislature to weigh in on the future of a
nuclear power plant, voting to shut down a poison-leeching plant run by
Entergy Inc. Lyons' Senate voted 26-4 to do it, demonstrating the level
of political will of the state's politicians to stand up to corporate
The language in the Lyons resolution is unabashed. "The profits and
institutional survival of large corporations are often in direct
conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings," it
states, noting that corporations "have used their so-called rights to
successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws."
Thus the unfolding of the obvious: "democratically elected governments"
are rendered "ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate
harm to the environment, health, workers, independent business, and
local and regional economies." The resolution goes on to note that
"large corporations own most of America's mass media and employ those
media to loudly express the corporate political agenda and to convince
Americans that the primary role of human beings is that of consumer
rather than sovereign citizens with democratic rights and
Denouncing this situation as an "intolerable societal reality," the
document concludes that the "only way" toward a solution is the
amendment of the Constitution "to define persons as human beings."
Constitutional lawyer David Cobb, the 2004 Green Party presidential
candidate, recently traveled to Vermont to help draft the resolution.
Cobb says it is an historic document. "This is the first state to
introduce at the legislative level a statement of principles that
corporations are not persons and do not have constitutional rights," he
told AlterNet. "This is how a movement gets started. It's the beginning
of a revolutionary action completely and totally within the legal
Such an amendment would be the 28th time we have corrected our founding
document to reflect political reality and social change. In other words,
we've done it 27 times before in answer to the call of history, and we
can do it again. There is a groundswell of support: 76 percent of
Americans, according to a recent ABC News poll, said they opposed the
Citizens United decision.
The Total Weirdness of Corporate Personhood
The corporate person is the product of some plainly weird metaphysics.
This astonishing fictional "person," accorded all the rights of a human,
can split off pieces of itself to form new fictional persons, can marry
many other similar persons in a process called a merger, is immortal,
can change its name and identity overnight, and can aggregate gigantic
streams of capital with which it somehow has the right to speak.
Strangely enough, the corporate person, who has neither soul nor body,
is at the same time owned by many other persons called shareholders who
buy and sell its parts every day -- it is owned, in fact, much the way a
slave is owned.
Additionally, the many-limbed, mercurial, shape-changing
god-person-as-chattel can connive to murder wretched fleshy mortal
persons and not be hanged by the neck or electrocuted in a chair or go
to jail for life as punishment. Instead the corporate person pays out a
paltry sum and goes about his or her blithe business as if no murder was
committed, no crime accomplished. The corporate person can shut down
whole communities by driving out business, can spread cancers in the air
and water, can destroy fisheries or lay waste to forests, and do all of
this with a degree of impunity provided under the vaunted protections of
the Bill of Rights. The best-known and most insidious of these rights is
that which allows the corporation under the First Amendment to speak
freely using money -- yet another twist of metaphysics masquerading as
law, and one that has not gone unnoticed by the highest jurists in the
The "useful legal fictions," launched into society as creatures of
commerce and ostensibly at the beck and call of their creators, have
freed themselves to wreak havoc on the people they were designed to
help. Mere humans are arrayed against a dangerous automaton army, the
army of the fictional corporate super-persons that deploy power with
real-world consequences. If corporate hegemony is rightly understood as
the overarching threat to world democracy today -- the threat from which
all other threats derive when governments stand captured by
corporatocracies -- then it is the absurdist legality of corporate
personhood that serves as the functional lever of that hegemony. In this
epochal battle for the future of planet earth, the humans against the
corporations, the survival of the humans will depend on a dramatic legal
assault, with nothing less than the murder of corporate personhood as
Christopher Ketcham has written for Vanity Fair, Harper's, the Nation,
Mother Jones, and many other publications. He can be contacted at
cketcham99 at mindspring.com.
))) Mitakuye Oyasin - Panche Be - En Lakech - Itzea (((
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