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
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.
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
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
Movement to Abolish Corporate Personhood Gaining Traction By Kaitlin Sopoci-BelknapPublished July 1, 2011 Editor’s note: ReclaimDemocracy.org is a member of the Move to Amend coalition. We’re thrilled that our original home base of Boulder, CO is now among the communities driving localopposition to corporate personhood. In the year and a half since the Citizens United decision, Americans from all walks of life have become concerned about corporate dominance of our government and our society as a whole. Throughout the country people have responded by organizing against “corporate personhood,” a court-created precedent that illegitimately gives corporations rights that were intended for human beings. The movement is flowering not in the halls of Congress, but at the local level, where all real social movements start. At the forefront of this movement is Move to Amend, a national coalition of hundreds of organizations and over 113,000 individuals (and counting). Despite the momentum, Move to Amend organizers know this won’t be an easy fight.
The Corporations That Occupy Congress Some of the biggest companies in the United States have been firing workers and in some cases lobbying for rules that depress wages at the very time that jobs are needed, pay is low, and the federal budget suffers from a lack of revenue. Last month Citizens for Tax Justice and an affiliate issued “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers 2008-10″. It showed that 30 brand-name companies paid a federal income tax rate of minus 6.7 percent on $160 billion of profit from 2008 through 2010 compared to a going corporate tax rate of 35 percent. All but one of those 30 companies reported lobbying expenses in Washington. Another report, by Public Campaign, shows that 29 of those companies spent nearly half a billion dollars over those three years lobbying in Washington for laws and rules that favor their interests. For the amount spent lobbying, the companies could have hired 3,100 people at $50,000 for wages and benefits to do productive work. Doubt that? © 2011 Reuters
Fighting Corporate Personhood and Restoring Citizen Control over Corporations - A Resource Guide "... it's ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations. What kind of freedom is there inside a corporation? They're totalitarian institutions - you take orders from above and maybe give them to people below you. There's about as much freedom as under Stalinism." - Noam Chomsky From ReclaimDemocracy: NOTE: You can link to any of the documents, court cases, organizations or case studies listed below from this page: / 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. Overviews Timeline of Personhood Rights and Powersby Jan Edwards (pdf) Munn v.
Alternative Radio — Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism In these eye-opening interviews with prominent economist Richard Wolff, David Barsamian probes the root causes of the current economic crisis, its unjust social consequences and what can and should be done to turn things around. While others blame corrupt bankers and unregulated speculators or the government or even the poor who borrowed, the authors show that the causes of the crisis run much deeper. They reach back to the 1970s when the capitalist system itself shifted, ending the century-old pattern of rising wages for U.S. workers and thereby enabling the top 1% to become ultra-rich at the expense of the 99%. Since then, economic injustice has become chronic and further corrupted politics. The Occupy movement, by articulating deep indignation with the whole system, mobilizes huge numbers who seek basic change. Occupy the Economy not only clarifies and analyzes the crisis in U.S. capitalism today, it also points toward solutions that can shape a far better future for all. Author(s):
Kent Greenfield for Democracy Journal: The Stakeholder Strategy Issue #26, Fall 2012 Kent Greenfield John Bonifaz is a wiry, bespectacled man with graying temples and a hearty laugh that camouflages his seriousness. These days, however, we find ourselves differing vociferously on what to do about Citizens United v. Nevertheless, I believe that the move to amend is a bad, even horrible, idea. John and I recently debated Citizens United on television, and during our exchange he said something particularly revealing. The reality is different. This essay urges progressives to cease their efforts to amend the constitution to weaken corporate “personhood.” The Foundational Nature of Corporate Law It is not surprising that most opponents of Citizens United have focused on constitutional responses. These tendencies end up clustering progressive responses to civil, economic, and social ills around public-law ideas like constitutional amendments or top-down, command-and-control regulations overseen by bureaucracies. Yes, this is bizarre. Post a Comment