You are on page 1of 9

Sources of Corporate Personhood And Impact of Corporate Personhood on All Aspects of Society, and the Environment

(All are invited to add to this list, both new topics, and descriptions of how CP impacts a particular issue until this list is formalized on MTA (or elsewhere) please send suggested changes to Michael Greenman MTA Central Ohio at mgreenmanoh@gmail.com - Thanks) Note: Four places where corporations have been granted powers in the Constitution: Contracts Clause, Interstate Commerce Clause, Property Rights, and Personhood Rights which includes 14th Amendment, Bill of Rights (1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 14th Amendments), and Civil Rights Legislation. (Above statement and specific court cases from Timeline of Personhood Rights and Powers prepared by Womens International League for Peace and Freedom.) Specific Cases establishing Rights to Corporations* o 1886 Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad Establishes that corporations are persons. o 1889 Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad v. Beckwith Supreme Court rules a corporation is a person for both due process and equal protection. o 1893 5th Amendment Nobel v. Union River Logging Corporations have claim to Bill of Rights The 5th Amendment says: nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. o 1905 14th Amendment Lochner v. New York constitution used to invalidate government regulation of corporations, usually under due process clause of the 14th Amendment o 1906 14th Amendment Search and Seizure protection Hale v. Henkel gave protection against govt. looking into the books, records or papers of a corporation. o 1908 6th Amendment Right to Jury Trial Armour Packing v. U.S. Corporate defendant is considered an accused for 6th Amendment purposes. o 1922 5th Amendment Takings clause Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation, a regulation is deemed a takings. This clause is basis for NAFTA and WTO. o 1936 1st Amendment Grosjean v. American Press Co. Newspaper corporation has 1st Amendment liberty right to freedom of speech. Can sell advertising in newspapers without being taxed.

Updated: 8/6/13

o 1947 1st Amendment Taft-Hartley Act Corporations are granted free speech in the union certification process, usurping workers right to freedom of association and greatly weakening the Labor Relations Act of 1935 o 1967 4th Amendment See v. Seattle Protection from random inspection by fire departments. An administrative warrant is necessary to enter and inspect commercial premises. o 1970 7th Amendment Ross v. Bernhard Right to jury trial in a civil case. o 1976 1st Amendment Buckley v. Valeo Money is equivalent to speech. This expanded the 1st Amendments protections to include financial contributions to candidates or parties. o 1976 5th Amendment protection against double jeopardy U.S. v. Martin Linen Supply used in an anti-trust case. o 1976 1st Amendment Advertising is free speech Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council Supreme Court protects commercial speech. o 1977 1st Amendment First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti Overturn state restrictions on corporate spending on political referenda. o 1978 4th Amendment - Marshall v. Barlow gave right to corporations to require OSHA to produce a warrant to check for safety violations. o 1996 1st Amendment Right not to speak International Dairy Foods Assn. v. Amestoy. No requirement to label products containing bovine growth hormone. Extended to statements of fact as well as statements of opinion. Prevents laws requiring GMOs to be labeled. o 2003 1st Amendment untruths in advertising Nike v. Kasky Question of whether 1st Amendment gives a corporation the right to speak lies remains unsettled. o 2010 1st Amendment Speech Citizens United v. Federal Elections Comm. overturned most provisions of McCain-Feingold legislation that restricted corporate money in federal elections and reversed hundred-year precedent of Congressional authority to regulate federal elections. Most explicit justification of corporate personhood by the Court.

Specific Issues impacted by Corporate Personhood


Agriculture o Subsidies Most subsidies to large corporate farm organizations o Support for sustainable systems minimum subsidies o Factory Farms antibiotics, GMO feed, filthy conditions protected animated film describes: http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/videos/depopulation/gmo-a-gogo-truth-about-gmos-explained-in-new-animated-cartoon.html o Monsanto writes its own protection into federal continuing resolution Updated: 8/6/13

o o o o

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/448-farm-and-foodpolicy/16689-focus-monsanto-wrote-monsanto-protection-act Animal abuse slaughterhouses source of many diseases Local and sustainable farming no national support GMOs patenting of seeds and litigation for inadvertent plantings Processed food shown to be too dangerous for human consumption, but USDA bullied into not requiring listings http://dreamhealer.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/processed-meats-declaredtoo-dangerous-for-human-consumption/

Corporate rights/personhood o Corporate democracy does not exist in U.S. Many other countries require worker participation in management o True cost of business many factors not taken into consideration o First Amendment: Tobacco company invokes 1st Amendment Speech Right to claim the right not to speak to argue against package warning labeling - http://www.csnews.com/top-story-tobaccofda_will_not_continue_court_battle_over_graphic_cigarette_labels63035.html o The Courts o Mandatory Binding Arbitration (MBA) Most contracts include only MBA for redress of wrongs by corporations on persons or even small businesses! See Hightower Lowdown (March 2013) http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/3264#.UWl_gRnlVqc Economic Globalization o Privatization Adds to cost of goods o Fair Trade Vs. Free Trade Destroy local economies; cause mass migration to cities (slums) or across borders (TransPacific Partnership) o Sweatshops still a factor in many countries and used by many multinational corporations o Outsourcing encouraged by U.S. tax laws o Race to the Bottom Exernalizing costs in developing countries used to increase profit and damage country and culture Economics o Green Economics Actively discouraged. B-Corps almost unheard of Real GDP Quality of Life measure should be emphasized. GDP represents rate at which raw materials are converted to garbage. o Local businesses vs. BBR (Big Box Retail) Jobs lost, income exported, local community weakened. o Monetary reform Federal Reserve creation of money and secret Updated: 8/6/13

allocations result in decimation of economic system, creating poverty, unemployment, loss of housing. o FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) which supposedly guarantees your deposit is seeking to turn over its risk to the depositors: http://www.alternet.org/economy/think-your-money-safe-think-againconfiscation-scheme-planned-us-and-uk-depositors Discrimination (isms): (Many in all areas) o Age o Race o Religion o Culture/Language o Economic o Environmental o Gender o Sexual Orientation o Disability Education o Civics no longer in most schools o Public vs. Private Efforts to give support to private schools through vouchers and other means; eliminate public schools by reducing budgets o Vouchers Ohio governor pushing to make more broadly available o Religion Ohio pushing for financial support to religious schools o Corporate Influence Text books pushed by corporations; video shows paid by corporations broadcast every day in many schools; sponsorship of courses. o Efforts to teach Climate Change denial in schools: http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/02/alec-looking-teach-climate-denialschools/ o National Testing programs CCSS (Common Core State Standards) (facetiously referred to as Common Corporate Standards are pushed by corporations focusing on educational programs and products, despite decades of demonstrable failures: CCSS o Art, physical education, ethics, etc. eliminated in many schools o Charter Schools both public and through endowments from the Kochs, Murdochs, Bloomberg, Gates and other foundations are pushing their own Ayn Rand agendas. Environment o Seventh Generation Principle Next quarter profits vs. long-term thinking and planning. http://workingeffectivelywithaboriginalpeoples.com/seventh-generationprinciple. Updated: 8/6/13

o Commons vs. Private/corporate access EPA not able to inspect without search warrant (mining company in WV o Recycling Waste management firms make inaccurate economic arguments to communities that demonstrate partisan interest in reducing recycling certain products. Single-Stream recycling is in profit interests of those firms, not communities, society, or environment. o Species extinction mining, drilling, over-fishing, clear-cutting forests destroys habitats leading to extinction of entire species of animals and plants. o Over population impact of politics and economics have a far more significant impact on famines than do over populationi. o Global Warming Resistance to Carbon controls perpetuates increases in Greenhouse gas emissions. o Oceans Dying Agricultural runoff and solid waste Islands create dead zones in oceans. o Alternative Energy Resistance based on likely reduced income stream that results from use of non-hydrocarbon free energy sources. o Reducing Energy consumption Resistance based on reduced income stream. o Mountain Top Removal Easier, cheaper access to coal destroys ecosystem, adverse effect on health, loss of jobs (fewer employees) o Fracking Destruction of aquifers and poisoning water and environment. Government o Corporate Executives in many Federal Agency leadership positions that monitor activities of industry from which they are recruited http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/01/obama-tom-wheeler-fcc Gun Control o NRA, sponsored by gun companies, prevents meaningful gun control legislation. o 2nd Amendment has been misinterpreted by the Supreme Court under pressure from gun companies. Original ratification of the amendment was pushed by slave states to preserve slavery (corporate need for free labor); http://truth-out.org/news/item/13890-the-second-amendment-was-ratifiedto-preserve-slavery; Healthcare o Universal Single Payer inaccurate information leads to public mistrust of this widely accepted practice. U.S. only OECD country not using SP o Affordable Care Act an improvement, but still ensures maximum profits to insurance companies, restrictions on services available. o Access to necessary but illegal treatments Womens issues continually being attacked. Updated: 8/6/13

o Elder care Medicaid and other programs frequently are sought as sources of funding re-allocation. o Access to necessary surgery insurance companies unilaterally decide what life-saving surgery is not necessary. o Prescription prices U.S. has highest prescription prices in the world Time Magazine cover issue on pricing in hospitals: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2136864,00.html o Prescription Drug deceit advertising is hucksterism; moral duty of corporate executives reduced to maximizing profits; regulations cut on safety; legal punishment for damages limited to small fines o Pharmaceuticals: Court ruling may open door to more drug marketing http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/court-ruling-may-open-door-tomore-drug-marketing-3p7tatn-182073791.html o Tobacco companies manage to get graphic labels on cigarette packages outlawed as violation of their Free Speech Rights. o Tobacco companies pushing electronic cigarettes as safe alternatives to traditional cigarettes: http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/legislationnews/439344-alec-bills-ecigs-3.html o Pharmacies cannot be prevented from selling prescription information that would be a violation of their Free Speech Rights. Labor o Right to organize State governments (ALEC) encouraging elimination of labor unions o Whistle Blowers discouraged and sometimes arrested o Parental leave limited and resisted o Minimum Wage resistance to reasonable increases o Right to Negotiate attempt to eliminate o Paid Vacations U.S. has least amount of vacations of any developed country Media o Control of airwaves Public airwaves increasingly given to corporate monopolies with no requirements for balance or support for public interest. o Monopolies information dissemination increasingly in hands of fewer and fewer monopoly media corporations across all media types o Net restrictions corporations seeking to reduce economical access to high-speed internet o Broadband - Many countries, even developing, have widespread high speed and free internet access. Military o Outsourcing Intelligence Stratfor Inc. (Strategic Forcasting, Inc) 1/3 of Updated: 8/6/13

CIAs workforce has been privatized, employed by 114 corporate contractors. (Hightower Lowdown April 2012) o Outsourcing Military in 2012 90,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, 113,000 employees of military contractors. (H.L. April 2012) Peace o Landmines resistance to signing treaties o Weapons Trade No control possible o Support for genocidal leaders particularly where natural resources are available to multi-national corporations Penal System o Criminalization highest level of incarceration in the world o Womens rights women imprisoned for seeking reasonable health care services o Privatization Corporations encourage punitive laws to increase their prison population (ALEC) o Prison structure overcrowding, abuse o Prison labor Paid slave wages while corporations benefit with low labor costs o Restorative justice punishment, not restoration is the rule o Account for white-collar crime minimum punishment for egregious financial and other white collar crimes. Politics o Honest elections Lies are rampant in election materials and media; www.commoncause.org; http://www.brennancenter.org/content/pages/election_reform; www.fairvote.org; o Voting Machines IP prevents inspection of software o Campaign Finances Supreme Court threatening to do away with Arizona public financing of elections. o Finance Information Access confidentiality of many contributors to organizations. o Equal and fair access to media no longer observed. Media licenses are not subject to any oversight. o Honest, transparent, inclusive Citizens United permits unlimited money for advertisements in favor of or against any candidate o Direct democracy/representation Efforts in many states to disenfranchise voters in ethnic or social classes that would likely vote Democratic o Local Control Local jurisdictions often are limited in their ability to make their own decisions. Social Security Updated: 8/6/13

o Efforts to destroy, and replace with corporate-run retirement programs investing in Wall Street at high cost and lower benefits.

Updated: 8/6/13

http://www.globalissues.org/article/216/effects-of-over-consumption-and-increasing-populations Global Issues: Effects of Over-Consumption and Increasing Populations.


i