Our country is no longer controlled by, and for, We the People, but instead by, and on behalf of, international banking and multinational corporate interests. While the gradual, almost imperceptible takeover of our government by this corporate fascism has been evolving by design for many decades, it is a coup d'etat nonetheless and has been disastrous for the vast majority of Americans. This blog is an exploration and discussion of how this occurred, and the damage it has done to our democratic processes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Declaration to Abolish Corporate Personhood

WE BELIEVE that the rights of personhood — as manifested in the Bill of Rights, the Fourteenth Amendment, civil rights legislation, and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights — are among the hardest won and most valuable possessions belonging to all human beings.

WE BELIEVE that the word “person” in the Constitution means human beings.

WE BELIEVE that the word “person” in the Constitution was not meant to include corporations or other artificial entities. Corporations are not mentioned, described, or given any rights in the Constitution.

WE BELIEVE that the Supreme Court in 1886 had no moral or legal authority to give the legal rights of persons to corporations.

WE BELIEVE that corporate personhood has damaged democracy, the environment, society, and citizens in the United States and around the world, benefiting only giant corporations and the wealthy few.

WE HAVE SEEN corporations claim the First Amendment right to free speech in
order to use large sums of money to influence our electoral and legislative processes and to advertise destructive products to our citizens.

WE HAVE SEEN corporations damage the environment when they use the
Fourteenth Amendment to contest government regulations and the Fourth
Amendment to avoid government inspections. We eat genetically modified food without our knowledge because the First Amendment protects corporations’ right not to speak.

WE HAVE SEEN small, neighborhood businesses crushed, despite our efforts to
save them, because the “civil rights” of giant corporations prevent communities from “discriminating” in favor of local stores. Our attempts to prevent the invasion of cell phone towers and giant chain stores are also ruled to be illegal discrimination against corporate persons.

WE KNOW that a corporation is not a person. It is a legal abstraction without
conscience or moral capacity.

WE KNOW that We the People, through our state governments, create corporations. It is, therefore, the right and responsibility of We the People to instruct corporations as to what they may do and how they may do it.

ON BEHALF OF THE PLANET AND ALL LIVING CREATURES ON IT, we pledge
to abolish corporate personhood and thereby protect the rights of human beings everywhere.

Reprinted from, and special thanks to:

1213 Race Street • Philadelphia, PA 19107 • 215.563.7110 • www.wilpf.org

10 comments:

KayEm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KayEm said...

I agree with what you say. Have any ideas been put together to defeat corporations? I'd love to hear of them. Here are some facts to start with.
- People like championing individuals
- The small guy or gal doesn't have the money to match a corporation to invest in infrastructure or compete in cost and price.
- People are fed up of similar looking chain stores on every street.
So my line of action would be to find out as many advantages and disadvantages an individual has against corporations and then ask how the advantages could be enhanced and disadvantages diminished

Jefferson's Guardian said...

KayEm, I've seen many ideas put forth to reign-in corporations but obviously nothing substantial is going to occur until the legal precedent of "corporate personhood", as it's known in this country, is revoked and abolished. I'm not sure of the extent of corporate power in your parliamentary system of government, but I'm guessing it's exceedingly strong and isn't going to go away without a struggle.

POCLAD offers a "Democracy Insurgency Campaign" -- a real bottom-up insurgency calling for governance at a grassroots level, designed to grow and eventually sprout and take-hold over a larger area. Many local communities in the U.S. have had some success with keeping unwanted "box stores", for instance, out of their towns and townships. To order a Democracy Insurgency packet, contact POCLAD at people@poclad.org.

Other organizations are going to the "top kill" method -- planning a full assault at the constitutional level and hoping to change through amendment ratification on a national level (such as movetoamend.org).

Still, from a purely personal perspective, there are things an individual can do. Examples are not doing business with the obvious large banking syndicates; withdraw your savings, close your checking accounts, don't finance a mortgage or refinance through them. Eat locally; try to avoid frequenting chain restaurants and stores. Buy more of your fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers and farmer's markets and eat more meals at home. In a word, starve the beast.

I think you're getting the idea. There are a lot of things that can be done; we just have to do them.

Thanks for commenting! Please stop by again and let me know of other ideas you might have that can stop this horrible global infliction.

KayEm said...

Hi JG, The poclad package for democracy sounds good. I'll check their website out. But the rest sounds like it is something you wish others to do even if it rakes in the profits for them.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

KayEm, please give me an example...

KayEm said...

"ON BEHALF OF THE PLANET AND ALL LIVING CREATURES ON IT, we pledge
to abolish corporate personhood and thereby protect the rights of human beings everywhere."

JG, this is the only action statement in your post - what you pledge to do. And it doesn't say "how" which is what I'd be VERY interested in - the other points state what you believe or what you've seen.

Let me tell you what angle in this, interests me. In India, we have the unique little man still triumphing in business. But nowadays, he or she might need to spruce up their act. In New Zealand, where I now live, I am always looking for that unique place, be it a cafe or theatre or shop. I feel a bit jaded when I see the same store on every street. At the same time, there are advantages. A chain store would obviously be able to buy things cheaper as it buys at high volume. I believe (perhaps naively) that they pass on the benefit to the consumer. When I know the advantages and disadvantages of corporate versus individual more fully, I hope to write about this very interesting issue.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

KeyEm, corporate personhood isn't about advantages or disadvantages for the consumer. It isn't about ideas such as economies-of-scale, break-even points, or similar economic jargon. It's way beyond that. From my previous posts you'll understand that it's about whether corporate entities are constitutionally (U.S.) equal in status to that of natural persons. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a laundry list of decisions over more than a century, has indicated they are -- culminating in last January's Citizen's United decision.

In answer to your question about what actions need to be taken, I personally think a constitutional amendment is urgently required to strip corporations of constitution rights. Analogously, the genie's already been let out of the bottle. Real reform, on any meaningful level, isn't possible until he's put back in.

I invite you to read my previous posts and watch the embedded videos. This should clarify what this pledge, from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, is all about; what it means and why it's so important that all persons -- of the "natural" variety, not artificial and man-made, take a stand.

In your adopted country, and India, what constitutional status do corporations have? Are they viewed as having the same rights as human beings, or are they extensions of the state privilege-granting authority -- which is what they were in the United States at one time.

KayEm said...

I feel your cause is worthy of understanding but these are some of the question marks in my mind.
• I wonder what your government's line of defence is. WHY do they protect corporations and their rights so much?
• Certain corporations are vital to your country. What about those? Would you want those stripped of their constitutional rights as well?
• What about the little person doing business. Doesn’t that business need constitutional protection against say, individuals who run off without paying? If yes, isn’t a corporation a group of individual businesses doing business together?
• What would you want put in place to protect the individuals behind those corporations and businesses?
• I remember the story of the young lady who proved a corporation had turned the water in a village toxic. The insurance company tried to fudge or squash the story so they wouldn’t have to fork out. (Erin Brokovich?) I’m sure you have many such stories. Perhaps you should put those up to refresh our memories.
I'll do as you suggest and read your previous post and watch the video to try and understand your cause better.

KayEm said...

I did read and listen to the person who is standing for congress in your previous post. You are all concerned about the money that is being spent by these corporations during elections. Quite frankly, I find it quite shockingly wasteful. My question to you: how will divesting corporations of their 'protected person' status stop that from happening? Will that not raise other problems as I asked in my previous response? Will the corporations simply not find another way to donate and influence?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

KayEm, please don't confuse contractual rights and constitutional rights. They're not the same thing -- not even close. If corporations didn't have "personhood" status, as I already mentioned was the case at one time, and which I'll delve into in more detail on upcoming posts, they'd still be protected contractually. Furthermore, each individual within a corporation still has constitutional protections -- as a natural person. They never forfeit that right just because they're part of a man-made organization.

I find many people have a hard time comprehending and accepting this concept ("corporate personhood"), and the only explanation I can come up with is that we've lived within the framework of this particular paradigm for such a long time, at the peril of our "god-given" rights, it's the only frame of reference we're comfortable grasping onto. I hope, with this blog, to explore more fully the intricacies of corporate personhood and how it has transformed the political, cultural and social landscape -- not only here in the United States, but how it has extended beyond our boundaries and affected literally every corner of the globe.

Thanks for your very thoughtful comments. Please continue reading and learning as much as you can. The more we understand, the less power "they" have. That's, ultimately, the goal of my quest.