Many who know me realize I'm an ardent supporter of the anti-corporate personhood crowd. I've been adamantly against the legal fiction that corporate entities have been increasingly given those most sacred of human rights that our founders recognized over two centuries ago. With this blog I hope to explore, with your help, the concept of corporate personhood and all its insidious ramifications. Most people haven't a clue what the words "corporate personhood" mean, what it refers to, where it came from, or even how it affects them in their daily lives. With this blog I hope to explore these questions, and hopefully answer them with meaningful discourse and discussion. The following post, initially published on my friend Tom Degan's blog on September 9, 2008 -- literally days before the near-collapse of the investment banking sector -- is even more meaningful today.
"Tom, like you, I used to be firmly in the Democratic camp each and every election cycle, just knowing that if only the Democrats could retain power, all our social and political problems would be worked on, and would finally get solved. But, decade-after-decade, the same problems continued to persist. They actually got worse, not better. Aside from a Republican revolution that oversaw a dismantling of much of the New Deal era's strides to put society on a more equal footing, even when Democratic control was firmly in place the slide continued towards further degradation of human rights, and citizen needs, in favor of corporate and moneyed interests.
I, too, sincerely hope I'm wrong in my opinion about Senator Obama. I truly do. But the evidence is irrefutable. Thankfully, in 2002, which is the year Thom Hartmann's remarkable Unequal Protection came out, I picked it off the bookstore shelf and only intended to take a quick glance, but then couldn't put it down. I immediately bought it, and read it - more like absorbed it. Since, I've done extensive reading and research concerning corporate personhood through other areas, such as POCLAD.
That day things really started to crystallize for me. I understood that our problems weren't unsolvable through democratic action; they were only resisted by corporate entities that held far more power and influence than I did as a voter, and an agenda that was antithetical to mine, and most Americans. I learned that although I had the protections and rights granted to me through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so did, underhandedly, multinational corporate and banking interests. Just as important, it became apparent that our elected officials, from both parties, were in the corner of their corporate benefactors; not mine, or yours, or any of the other millions of middle or working class people in this country. When I made that connection, I mean when it finally hit me like a ton of bricks, I understood that a slow-motion coup d’état had taken place right under our noses. It didn't take troops and tanks rolling through the streets; all it took was time and incremental steps. It worked, and sadly, most of America is oblivious to the fact that it happened. They know 'something's wrong' but they haven't figured it out. It was the most covert takeover of a people in history.
I'll probably never return to the Democratic Party, but it could happen. If, through some miracle, they adopted the same stance in their official party platform that the Green Party has regarding the elimination of corporate personhood, then I'll come back. The 'Greens' unabashedly call for 'legislation or constitutional amendment to end the legal fiction of corporate personhood.' This, Tom, would be the real panacea to true reform, and the return of our country to We the People. Without this, we're just pissin' in the wind."
Of course, since this post, the advancement of corporate personhood has made great strides in solidifying its position while concurrently overshadowing our democratic rights. As this short video makes clear, corporate rule is firmly in-place. Although it didn't begin with last January's Supreme Court ruling, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a 5-4 majority invalidated many restrictions on corporate spending to influence elections.