Corporate Personhood-Demeaning Our Bill of Rights - Reclaim Democracy.org Contents Introduction to Corporate Personhood Our Bill of Rights was the result of tremendous efforts to institutionalize and protect the rights of human beings. But corporate lawyers (acting as both attorneys and judges) subverted our Bill of Rights in the late 1800′s by establishing the doctrine of “corporate personhood” — the claim that corporations were intended to fully enjoy the legal status and protections created for human beings. We believe that corporations are not persons and possess only the privileges we willfully grant them. Read our draft constitutional amendment to revoke corporate constitutional “rights,” (published nearly a decade before the Citizens United v FEC ruling). Read this model resolution to free democracy from corporate control, along with a list of how’s and why’s of resolutions to help you catalyze action in your area. Overviews back to top Current Debates Relating to Corporate Personhood An image that speaks for itself. Digging Deeper: Articles, Briefs & Books
'The Fate of an Honest Intellectual', by Noam Chomsky (Excerpted from Understanding Power) I'll tell you another, last case—and there are many others like this. Here's a story which is really tragic. How many of you know about Joan Peters, the book by Joan Peters? Well, he got back one answer, from me. Well, he didn't believe me. By this time, he was getting kind of desperate, and he asked me what to do. He's now living in a little apartment somewhere in New York City, and he's a part-time social worker working with teenage drop-outs. But let me just go on with the Joan Peters story. Meanwhile, Finkelstein was being called in by big professors in the field who were telling him, "Look, call off your crusade; you drop this and we'll take care of you, we'll make sure you get a job," all this kind of stuff. Well, as soon as I heard that the book was going to come out in England, I immediately sent copies of Finkelstein's work to a number of British scholars and journalists who are interested in the Middle East—and they were ready.
Occupy Wall Street's Battle Against American-Style Authoritarianism The Occupy Wall Street movement is raising new questions about an emerging form of authoritarianism in the United States, one that threatens the collective survival of vast numbers of people, not through overt physical injury or worse, but through an aggressive assault on social provisions that millions of Americans depend on. For those pondering the meaning of the pedagogical and political challenges being addressed by the protesters, it might be wise to revisit a classic essay by German sociologist and philosopher Theodor Adorno titled "Education After Auschwitz," in which he tries to grapple with the relationship between education and morality in light of the horrors perpetrated in the name of authoritarianism and its industrialization of death. To see other articles by Henry A. Giroux visit The Public Intellectual Project. Democracy is always an unfinished project. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It Campaign Finance Reform | The New Rules Project In the United States, candidates for public office have always needed money to run for public office. To get it they have often depended on wealthy contributors expecting favors in return. In 1971, the federal government passed the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), in an attempt to combat this phenomenon. The FECA (which was amended several times until 1979) put a cap on the amount a single donor could contribute to a campaign for federal government, and required public disclosure of these contributions. But the landmark 1976 Supreme Court ruling, Buckley v. Despite these reforms, and, in part due to the Buckely v. Meanwhile,the states have been plagued by the same problems afflicting campaigns for federal office. States Enact Campaign Finance Reforms The states began to respond to these developments in the 1990s by enacting a variety of different reforms. A Supreme Court decison in Jaunuary 2000, Nixon v. Maine was the first state to enact such a law, by voter referendum, in 1996.
Weekend Musing: Direct Democracy and Economics - macrobusiness.com.au | macrobusiness.com.au Guest blogger Steven Spadijer presents a multi-part series on Direct Democracy to start off the Weekend Musing articles for 2012. In this first post he examines the empirical evidence, speficially the economic impact versus a “representative” democracy. The second post will confront the questions regarding the intelligence of voters, particularly the information-rich environment effect on voter knowledge and interest in politics. In the final post Steven will question if Australia should abolish the states and create something more akin to highly decentralised Swiss cantons. What is Direct Democracy? Readers might notice that these regions are some of the wealthiest, well-governed and most stable countries in their region today. Given the interest emanating from Deus Forex Machina’s recent post “Is Australia the new Switzerland?” the empirical analysis provides evidence that referendums induce less centralization of fiscal activities. Progressivism and Direct Democracy Reasons? 1. 2. 3.
Powell Memo « The People's Book Project Class War and the College Crisis: The “Crisis of Democracy” and the Attack on Education The following is the first part of a series of articles, “Class War and the College Crisis.” By: Andrew Gavin Marshall Today, we are witnessing an emerging massive global revolt, led primarily be the educated and unemployed youth of the world, against the institutionalized and established powers which seek to deprive them of a future worth living. All around the world, increasingly, the youth are taking to the streets, protesting, agitating, and striking against the abuses of power, the failures of government, the excesses of greed, plundering and poverty. The “Crisis of Democracy” For the general population, these movements were an enlightening, civilizing, and hopeful phase in our modern history. The Trilateral Commission later explained its views of the “threat” to democracy and thus, the way the system ‘should’ function: The “threat” of educated youth was especially pronounced.
Lawrence Lessig and Mark McKinnon: How to sober up Washington The following op-ed, co-written by HLS Professor Lawrence Lessig and Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, appeared in the Apr. 6 edition of the online publication. by Mark McKinnon and Lawrence Lessig Washington is hopelessly addicted to money and thus to the status quo; drunk with power and incapable of getting sober and fixing itself. It’s time for an intervention—by the states. Politically, we two disagree on just about everything. But the one thing we do agree on is that the institutions of government in Washington have become corrupt, held hostage by well-funded special interests. And so too many throw up their hands and say, “We give up. But there is something we can do. The framers left open a path to amendment that doesn’t require the approval of Congress: a convention. Easy to do? Even if 34 states don’t call for a convention, history teaches that a real threat is often enough to get Congress to act. Indeed, the movement has already begun.
Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) was a matter brought before the United States Supreme Court – but not decided by the court – which dealt with taxation of railroad properties. A report issued by the Court Reporter claimed to state the sense of the Court – without a decision or written opinions published by or of the Court. This was the first time that the Supreme Court was reported to hold that the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause granted constitutional protections to corporations as well as to natural persons, although numerous other cases, since Dartmouth College v. Woodward in 1819, have recognized that corporations were entitled to some of the protections of the Constitution. History and legal dispute San Mateo County, along with neighboring counties, filed suit against the railroads to recoup the massive losses in tax revenue stemming from Southern Pacific's refusal to pay. Headnote Waite replied: C. Decision
Weekend Musing: Direct Democracy and Voters - macrobusiness.com.au | macrobusiness.com.au Guest blogger Steven Spadijer, of Australian National University, continues with Part Two of his series on Direct Democracy. Part One is available here. In today’s post I’ll examine the role direct democracy has on informing the people. That is, what impact does direct democracy have on the average voter competence? Authors Benz and Stutzer (see references at bottom) provide evidence in favour of the conjecture that citizens in states with direct democratic institutions are better informed than citizens in purely representative states. Some European states used referendums to pass the Maastricht Treaty, others did not. They also looked at to what degree direct democracy in Switzerland is practiced at cantonal level, and compared this with the answers from Swiss citizens on three questions about general Swiss politics. The US literature also reveals the positive endogenous effects of direct democracy: So the “people are stupid” mantra seems rather…err…stupid. Californism?
The Anti-Corruption Pledge Call on your lawmakers to take the pledge Determining your location. Could not determine your location, try again? Determining your representatives. Could not find your representatives, did you enter the address correctly? Need some tips on what to write & say to your Representative? Tips for composing a written message When writing your representative be sure to inform them of the details of the pledge and why you think it is important for them to take it. Tips for making a phone call When calling a representative's office be sure to identify yourself as a constituent. A Sample Communication Representative Smith, As one of your constituents I am very concerned about the overwhelming influence of money in politics today. You can take the pledge at Sincerely, Full Name 1234 Street Address City, ST ZIPCD Share Your Story Why does the pledge matter to you? Help us make the pledge better If you have suggestions and changes, please use the wiki.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, 558 U.S. 310 (2010)[dead link], is a U.S. constitutional law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations. Background The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film's release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. Before the Supreme Court Opinions of the Court Overview