How Can We 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 lawwould 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 27 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.


 
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