Third Party & Independents Archives

Finding Our Way Back

IMO, Glen Beck is correct in targeting the citizen as the weak link in our political system. Too few seem willing to care, to speak out, to take action in protecting the Constitution that many ‘first American’s’ shed blood to put in place.

I often write that we have too much democracy. The silent majority is quite willing to sit on their hands while the vocal minority eat their cake.

We recall that in Bell, Calif. , about 36k population, had city administrations making near half million dollar salaries. Eight city councilmen were bilking the city taxpayers out of approx $5.5M in salaries and perks annually. Maryland police and firemen have been in the news with high rates for disability claims leading to early retirement. Today, Vernon Calif. reports that a retired city administrator is taking it easy with a $43,320.53/month retirement package. That’s pushing $520k/yr. I suppose Calif. will conduct a study, at some point, to determine why they are some $26B in the hole.

Then, we can remember the Santa Clara Supreme Court case where the railroad was able to translate a case involving freed slaves and the 14th amendment into a case for corporations being declared in law as having certain human rights. Following is verbage from http://www.iiipublishing.com/afd/santaclara.html

Excerpt: How We Can Revoke Corporate Personhood

Corporate personhood and corporate constitutional rights are a lie. How do we get the courts and government to realize that?

The simple solution would be to somehow bring a case involving only corporate personhood to the Supreme Court and ask them to rule on it. Hopefully they would take a strict-constructionist line and recognize that the Constitution does not mean corporations when it says persons. This method is unlikely for a variety of reasons, the foremost being that the current Supreme Court is a product of the corporate-dominated legal system and appointees are designated by corporate-dominated presidents and approved by a corporate-dominated Congress. In addition, many roadblocks have been built into the system to prevent such a case from even coming to the Supreme Court. We would need a law in some State or locality specifically denying corporations personhood, but attorneys and judges have so far taken the view that any such law would be outside the allowable bounds for local jurisdictions. They can (and certainly will) advise elected officials that they cannot even allow such a law to come up for a vote or referendum.

But neither did the railroad attorneys simply declare corporations persons and a few days later have the Supreme Court agree with them. Powerful as they were, it took them 15 years to get corporate personhood enshrined in the system.

We will need a sustained grassroots campaign to abolish corporate personhood. This campaign has barely begun. We can win with education and action. We must try to pass laws abolishing corporate personhood in every local government and in every state. We must argue before the courts so that they become familiar with our ideas. We must pass referenda and then protest when our referenda are struck down by the corrupt judiciary. We must demand that elected representatives take a stand against corporate personhood if they want the votes of environmentalists, workers, and small business owners. And we must argue our points in the law schools where future generations of lawyers and judges are being trained.

Supreme Courts do not work in a vacuum. When the public cries out for an issue to be tried the Supreme Court loses its prestige, perhaps even its ability to govern the country, if it refuses to hear the issue. Even if, in the first case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of corporate personhood, if they at least gave an actual rational to their madness, we would be able to tear it apart. We could focus on each point of their argument and bring suits appropriate to overruling each point.

We could, and probably should, clarify our position by an Amendment to the Constitution that clarifies the legal status of corporations. Amending the Constitution is a very difficult process, but it is the ultimate expression of the people=s authority.

The corporate media will not be on our side; we must communicate through our natural inter-connectivity as a grassroots campaign.

Other tactics are available besides education, legislation, and lawsuits. We can find corporations that will publicly and voluntarily renounce their corporate personhood. We can boycott corporations that lead the fight to retain corporate personhood. We can add civil disobedience and direct action to our campaign. If a State revokes corporate personhood, and the Supreme Court overturns them, we could refuse to participate in the federal government and simply govern ourselves through the State government until the Supreme Court sees the light.
The struggle to abolish slavery was long and difficult. Even as abolitionists seemed to have won, by passing the 13th and 14th Amendments, counterattacks were being prepared. Corporations were pronounced persons in 1886, and in 1896 black people were declared to be sub-persons. In the 20th century we have seen the emergence of wage-slavery on a massive scale. We must ask ourselves: Are corporations to be our masters? Or are we to be free? What price are we willing to pay for our freedom, and what price do we pay now for our ongoing subjugation?

The Abolition of corporate personhood is part of the abolition of slavery. It is deeply connected to our need to save the earth from environmental destruction. This is not an optional campaign. Hard as it might be to fight now, it is better to fight now than in 20 years when corporations are even more entrenched and the average person has sunk even deeper into our modern style of slavery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What would be the immediate effect of revoking corporate personhood?
The only immediate effect of revoking corporate personhood, either at the state level or by the Supreme Court, would be to cause the legal status of corporations to revert back to that of artificial entities. (We should refuse to use the old terminology of artificial persons.) They could still be represented in courts by attorneys and would be subject to the law and taxation.

However, a whole body of Supreme Court decisions would have to be re-examined. The ability of States, when granting or renewing corporate charters, to restrict harmful activities of corporations would be greatly enhanced. New legislation to protect the environment, workers, small businesses, and consumers could be enacted without worrying that it would be struck down by the Supreme Court.
How would small businesses be affected?

Small, incorporated businesses would become artificial entities under the law. Most small businesses have gained no meaningful advantage from corporate personhood. Small businesses do not have the kind of money it takes to corrupt the political process that large corporations have. Small businesses would be better situated to protect their interests since laws favoring local businesses over national and international corporations would become legal.
If corporations can't lobby, how can they get laws that are fair to them?

Revoking corporate personhood would not immediately prevent corporations from lobbying, but it would allow laws to be passed (and enforced) that would restrict corporate lobbying and campaign contributions. If a state legislature or Congress is considering legislation that affects a particular industry they would be able to hold hearings and interrogate corporate representatives. If a corporation feels its needs a change in the laws, not for its own profits but in order to insure competition or public safety, it could petition the legislature to hold such a hearing.

What about past harms done by corporate personhood?
That is an interesting question with no certain answer. The Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws (laws that punish for deeds committed before the law was written), and properly so. However, revoking corporate personhood does not create an ex post facto law. It may be possible to force corporations to rectify damage they did to the environment during the era of corporate personhood.


Would the media lose its freedom of the press and free speech?
The ruling that corporate ads on political and social issues is free speech could be overturned, but the corporate media would continue to have freedom of the press. New legislation would be needed to restrict corporations to ownership of a single radio or TV station, newspaper, or magazine and to insure that individual and non-corporate voices could be heard as well.

How will revoking corporate personhood affect non-profit corporations?
Non-profit corporations would continue to operate as the artificial entities that they are. However, it would be possible to restrict for-profit corporations from working for corporate interests.

Why don't unions have corporate personhood?
Unions don't have corporate personhood, even though they are also, legally, artificial entities, because unions have never fought to get it. Unions have largely avoided the court system, correctly seeing it as the home court of their enemies.

Why do you want to restrict the freedom of stockholders and people who work for corporations?
This is a trick question. Corporate lawyers and propagandists will try to get people who work for corporations to support corporate personhood by lying to them about the effects of revocation. In fact individuals, whether they work for corporations or not, will retain all of the freedoms recognized in the constitution. In addition, individuals will have their freedom enhanced by not having their liberty overpowered by the rule of corporations. Only the artificial entity of the corporation will be redefined to have restrictions on its liberty.

Wouldn't we lose the power to tax and regulate corporations?
In the art of lying it is hard to surpass corporate lawyers. They have managed to place in the minds of law students, in the texts of some law books, and in the public mind, the idea that corporate personhood is necessary to bring corporations under rule of law. This is such a big lie it is amazing that they can tell it with a straight face. Corporations were taxed when they were artificial entities, long before they were granted personhood. They were more subject to the rule of law, not less, before receiving personhood. Read up on the history; don't be fooled again.

November 13, 2000
This work has been placed in the public domain. It may be reproduced in whole or in part by anyone for any reason.
For more information on ending corporate dominance and corporate personhood visit the Redwood Coast Alliance For Democracy web site: http://www.iiipublishing.com/afd/santaclara.html


End verbage
Some bigtime corruption transpired in the late 1800’s, while the people sat on their hands. More amazingly, the courts, the white lilies from the so-called top learning institutions have followed suit in numberous Supreme Court cases.
Joel Hirschhorn, in Delusional Democracy, recommends mandated voting for elections. But, if people are knowledgeable of what they are voting for/on I’m not sure that mandated voting would help the situation.
I do believe that instead of fighting for unions people should be fighting to repeal corporate personhood law. Then we could have real campaign finance reform, get the money influence out of politics (www.republicsentry.com) and restore the gov’t to something more in line with what the Founder’s intended.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by Roy Ellis at March 9, 2011 7:04 PM
Comments
Comment #319822

—people are aren’t knowledgeable —-

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 9, 2011 9:17 PM
Comment #319827

If you want to challenge the concept of “personhood” for corporations start prosecuting corporations under the criminal statutes. You could start with Wall Street.

Posted by: Rich at March 9, 2011 10:16 PM
Comment #319833

End The Fed

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 10, 2011 1:26 AM
Comment #319840

It seems to me that corporations want it both ways. They want all the rights of natural citizens but also want to retain the corporate shield against personal liability. My comment above that corporations should be subject to criminal prosecution for fraud and other criminal acts wasn’t just “tongue in cheek.”

Posted by: Rich at March 10, 2011 9:35 AM
Comment #319843

rich, I don’t see where prosecuting corporate’s operating outside the lines of established corporate law would be helpful.

IMO, our political system has devolved into a left and right wing, each supported by their preferred corporations while the voters, largely independent, remain outside the political system. When the going gets tough politicians run for the center. John McCain flipped on immigration for the 2008 election. President Obama has cast his party to the wind as he tries to ‘center’ up for the 2012’s.

The goal is to remove the money influence from politics/govt to the extent humanly possible. IMO, that can best be done thru a centrist 3rd party with a specific/primary agenda to abolish/repeal corporate personhood law.

It’s a lot like the Libyan thing. The money and organization is on Quadaffi’s side. The people have neither and need an interested 3rd party, a ‘white knighter’ to come to their rescue.

Otherwise - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 10, 2011 9:42 AM
Comment #319849

Glen Beck should also have said that the American corpocracy is the strong link to tyranny over the American people.

The colonists were mostly united and fought under Gen George to defeat the Crown’s Corpocracy. Today’s opposition to the current corpocracy is splintered and thus weak. A way needs to be found to unite the hundreds of NGOs fighting the corpocracy but almost totally without collaboration among thems and no grand strategy of legislative, judicial, and economic reform initiatives that are desperately needed and that would end the corpocracy if undertaken.

Please see my website www.democracypowernow.com and tell me what you think of it.

Gary Brumback
garybrumback@bellsouth.net

Posted by: Gary Brumback at March 10, 2011 11:59 AM
Comment #319870

Rich wrote:

It seems to me that corporations want it both ways. They want all the rights of natural citizens but also want to retain the corporate shield against personal liability.


Thanks to the 7 Stooges in Washington, corporations have already been given the individual citizenry right of giving unlimited amounts of money to any political candidate they want without having to disclose the amount or frequency of donation. So they’ll also have the individual right to say “you can’t ask me that” when audited.

Corpocracy: It’s not just for futuristic movies anymore.

Posted by: Gary St. Lawrence at March 10, 2011 3:01 PM
Comment #319886


Roy, did Glen Beck say, “Corporate personhood and corporate Constitutional rights are a lie.” ???

Glen Beck has labeled those who are fighting corporate personhood socialists and Nazis.

“The corporate media will not be on our side.”

Glen Beck is the poster child of the corporate media. He is the corporate media’s biggest star.

When Glen Beck goes on a tirade about the Santa Claire Supreme Court case and corporate personhood please let me know.

IMO, Glen Beck should be left out of any discussion about ending corporate personhood until you can refer people that want to sign a petition demanding an end to corporate personhood to www.glenbeck.com. It only alienates people from a great cause just as he would alienate that cause.

The favorite corporations of liberals and conservatives primarily deals with the two parties and only some of their constituencies.

Post the links to those fighting corporate personhood and nearly all of them lead to left-wing progressive sites. Not right-wing sites, centrist sites, or even many liberal sites.

Good people, predominantly from the left side of politics have been fighting against the corporate personhood ruling since it was made.

The great apathetic center that you and Beck are talking about are the greatest supporters of the corporations. They all have their favorite corporations. WalMart is one of their most favored.

Progressives would love to have that great apathetic center to wake up and join the cause. If the progressives had the money that is spent on behalf of centrist liberal and right-wing causes by the corporate media they would be able to compete with that corporate media.

Since the progressives don’t have the money to compete with the corporate media, they can only continue their long standing grass roots campaign in their effort to wake up that great apathetic center.

Likewise, Beck will continue to denounce progressives as socialist Nazis because he wants that great apathetic center to consider his version of history and current events as the gospel truth.

I apologize for ranting on about Beck, but he has no business in any discussion about abolishing corporate personhood other than as an adversary of that cause.

I and many others have targeted the people as the weak link. The common people have always been considered the weak link in a democratic form of government. Have you noticed that those who are corporate personhoods greatest supporters are also supporters of the democratic forms of government, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Democracy that works best for them is democracy where 45% of the population does not participate in the democratic process.

Posted by: jlw at March 10, 2011 4:16 PM
Comment #319912

jlw, well aware that Beck, to my knowledge, hasn’t made mention of opposing corporate personhood. Also, well aware that he has some millions of followers who like the idea of ‘faith, hope and charity’ and some of the positions Beck has taken.

IMO, the way to abolish corporate personhood is thru a 3rd party, pulling the majority of Independents and some of the near 50% that don’t vote into the fray. The battle can’t be won by ideology but via a centrist 3rd party putting abolishment of corporate personhood at the top of the agenda, making it the prime focus until that objective is accomplished. Push general welfare and common sense, sans ideology.

It’s clear that both parties have their corporate benefactors and the ‘in’ party receives the lions share of corporate money.

Gary, thanks for the post. Fer shure, will read your book, ‘The Devil’s Marriage, and keep tabs on your new website. The book addresses a problem we need to work on now. That is, how to bring the many entities fighting corporate personhood together under some kind of umbrella. I do like the idea of fighting fire with fire, a 3rd party approach but am anxious to read about your suggestions on the matter.

Otherwise, we have the corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 10, 2011 7:56 PM
Comment #319917

Whoops, dropped a Gary there! St. Lawrence, as my previous post suggest, I don’t think it helpful to the cause to take cheap shots at those who, over the years, delivered us into the hands of the corpocratists.

I think it is important to take the high road and fight the cause on merit with integrity and good common sense. A centrist 3rd party so structured, etc.

So far as I’m aware Ralph Nader’s party is the only party with a stated agenda to abolish corporate personhood. I’ve voted for Ralph a few times, but his agenda is woefully laden with a plate of issues that, I believe, would turn off a large number of voters. Also, I tried a number of times to click on to his website in the 08 election with my dial-up system and don’t believe I ever made it.

Also, a 3rd party, designed for the 21st century, must be founded in some hardfast rules that prevent the party from being co-opted by the money influence. Otherwise, your achievements will be for naught, IMO.

I don’t think the Supreme Court could stand on the status quo very long if society at large were not favorable to their position. Anxious to read what Gary Brubaker suggest in winning over the courts.

Otherwise - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 10, 2011 8:14 PM
Comment #319924


The Centrist Party of the United States, founded July 4, 2006.

Posted by: jlw at March 10, 2011 9:05 PM
Comment #319928

jlw, a quick look at the Centrist Party, now melded into the Modern Whig Party. Broad idealistic platform goals such as promote general fiscal responsibility.

What I didn’t see in either party and in any other party that I’ve perused is the evidence of established party rules to prevent the party(ies) from ever being co-opted by the money influence.

IMO, you can put up a party touting the greatest platform, lotsa bells and whistles, etc but if there is nothing to give the people a sense of being different, apart from the rest, - - not the right words. A strong feeling that the representative party has established itself rigidly in rules that forbids change to anything about the party unless approved by the membership majority - - that’s what I would like to see in a real political party. Otherwise, words or cheap, here today, gone tomorrow, etc.

We have to fight fire with fire, a political party designd for the 21st century. WYSIWYG year over year over year until changed by majority (66%) membership vote. Otherwise, a party is nothing more than a corporation or a union, to be whipped about by one or more leaders as they see fit. I think, from watching the action of the duopoly for the last 50 years, people sense that. They are looking for the real deal.

The Internet allows for creating a party with robust communcations to support dialog between the elected representatives of the members and the members. Who should be calling the shots in your party, the elected representatives or the members? Do you want another duopoly party or something different?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 10, 2011 10:33 PM
Comment #319942

Roy, the left and the right are the children of the center. As a parent, the center is alternately rewarding or punishing one or the other of it’s children. What else can the centrist do other than criticize the overzealousness of it’s children; especially in light of the fact that the average centrist is owned by the corporate entertainment media, keeping the people in a state of terrified bliss, dangerous economic dependency, and from now on, under constant surveillance.

In reality, it is the centrists who have allowed the corporate takeover of our government. Neither the left or the right is strong enough to do anything without the support of the center.

Example, for years the progressive left has begged the center to endorse the ending of corporate personhood to no avail.

You know as well as I that the liberal left and the conservative right claim to be the centrists or claim that the centrists are with them.

The center claims that it wants to reject the solutions of the left and the right in favor of common sense solutions that remedy our problems, but the devil is in the details, right?

What is the common sense solution for the excesses of regionalization or globalization? Isolationism? Tariffs and fines?

What is the common sense solution to solve the ever rising health care costs? The Republicans haven’t offered a solution and Obamacare is not the solution, so what is?

Like with Beck, I have seen no centrist ground swell for the elimination of corporate personhood.

Posted by: jlw at March 11, 2011 12:14 AM
Comment #319961

jlw, good response jlw.

I’m constantly posting that ‘you can’t grow roses in a cesspool’. You can’t expect to get good healthcare programs or find any real support for dealing with globalization where the US is the stuckee until, UNTIL, corporate personhood is abolished. Them strong, we weak, jlw. The corpocracy is there 24/7 with big bucks to assure the tide doesn’t rise more than 1/2 an inch or so.

Also posted on how globalization can be tamed, balanced by adopting a foreign trade VAT same as 153 other countries around the world. How we can be a winner by implementing a flat income tax and so on. Talk straight to China, etc. It ain’t that rocket science, jlw.

Same with healthcare but you’ve got to sideline the corpocracy before you try to deliver a good HC program.

You can’t expect to grow roses in a cesspool.

So, let’s get some support going for :

VOID, vote out incumbents for democracy

AVC, we know the supreme court won’t ever let the question of ‘corporate personhood’ come before the courts. A good way to get around that is through Article V Convention. A sufficient number of states have already ratified a balanced budget amendment. We must force the congress/courts to accept AVC.

A 3rd party, fight fire with fire, with a sole agenda, no social issues, to abolish corporate prsonhood and implement real campaign finance reform.

If we get behind those three entities we can take down corporate personhood toute suite, IMO.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 11, 2011 11:09 AM
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