Corporate Personhood. Before today I had no idea what that word meant, let alone that it existed. Did you know, that in America, corporations are considered persons and thus are afforded all the rights and privileges that the rest of us have, that’s what Corporate Personhood means. At first glance that seems perfectly logical and, based on our Capitalist society, legitimate.
However, Vermont Senator, Virginia Lyons, today announced a resolution to recommend an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would no longer allow corporations to be considered persons and therefore not eligible to the same rights and privileges that we, as actual persons receive. Seeing as the Constitution was written to protect the rights of citizens and not corporations this is an absolutely wonderful thing.
In Lyons’ resolution she says, “The profits and institutional survival of large corporations are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings.” I’ve been saying this for quite a while now, corporations are in business to make money and will do so in any way possible regardless of who it hurts. She continues by saying that corporations, “have used their so-called rights to successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws.” Therefore the, “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.” And here’s where it gets really good, “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 responsibilities.” Pick a news network, we’re being lied to by that network, and all in the interest of increasing profits for some faceless corporation. This isn’t about Capitalism, this isn’t even Socialism, this is about the protection of our rights as citizens, seeing as that’s what the Constitution is all about. Virginia’s resolution concludes with, “the only way toward a solution is the amendment of the Constitution to define persons as human beings.” We’ll have such a hard time accepting these changes because we’ve had the idea that changes like this will lead to the Socialist conversion of our beloved country pounded into our head, but these changes are important to make if we ever want our country to truly prosper again.
The article referenced above continues by explaining how corporations have abused these rights afforded to them by being considered persons.
“This astonishing fictional “person,” accorded to 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 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 land.
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 automation 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 absurdest 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 dramatic legal assault, with nothing less than the murder of corporate personhood as the goal.”
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing “American” about any of the things these corporations do, protecting their right to continue to do so, likewise, is not un-American. It’s about time someone started suggesting changes that at least have the possibility of protecting our rights as United States citizens.
- Citizens United and the Constitutional Rights of Corporations (professorbainbridge.com)
- FCC v. AT&T reveals the limits of corporate personhood at the Supreme Court. (slate.com)
- Sign the Petition: Constitutional Amendment to end Corporate Personhood – Sign the Petition | Change.org | CREDO Action | Change.org (f33dyourhead.wordpress.com)