According to elementary students of economics and Wall Street financiers alike, the answer to this question is as simple as it is intuitive: the shareholders. The standard narrative goes like this: a share is a “piece of a company.” Accordingly, the holders of those shares are the company’s collective owners. Shareholder ownership explains why an army of retail investors coordinating trades on Reddit could claim they “owned a piece” of the struggling video game retailer GameStop and why Warren Buffet is as certain he “owns” companies as varied as GEICO and Dairy Queen as less wealthy Americans are certain they own the gadgets in their kitchen.
By Eleanor Goldfield for Occupy - Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian, theocratic regime that routinely tortures, imprisons and executes dissenters. On top of that, they also are vehemently anti-woman. The guardian system in Saudi Arabia requires that a woman receive permission to do everything - from get an education to travel. Women are also not allowed to drive cars or leave the house without head to toe covering. When they do manage to make it out of the house, they are not allowed to interact with men and all shops, transportation and public areas are gender segregated. Based on this, it seems odd, even ludicrous, that Saudi Arabia would get a seat on a UN Council tasked with upholding and forwarding women’s rights around the globe. But indeed, that happened. Not only that but Saudi Arabia ALSO has a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. Then again, so does the US - and many other human rights violating countries - from Brazil to China. So, what gives? What’s up with the UN’s human rights hypocrisies and does this international body really work? Could there be a better, more powerful iteration that actually holds human rights violators accountable, rather than periodically wagging a finger at them and ultimately putting them in charge of human rights?
The movement for constitutional reforms that would end what organizers call “corporate rule” has arrived in the chambers of Congress. This morning, members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined Move to Amend by announcing their sponsorship of the “We the People Amendment” (House Joint Resolution 48), which clearly and unequivocally states that: Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment. Leesa "George" Friday, a spokesperson for Move to Amend, agreed, saying: "Today, members of Congress join a movement that insists on the fundamental equality of all Americans, and that rejects the idea that the corporate class should have special protections against We the People.”
As I sat quietly in the back corner of the lofty courtroom, attempting to casually observe the ornate sculptures that rimmed the chamber's high ceilings, I fingered the little scrap of yellow paper folded in my pocket. My lifeline. I moved my hand as naturally as possible to rest on my lap. I glanced at the two security personnel stationed in the central aisle, not letting my gaze rest on either for longer than what I hoped would be perceived as benign curiosity. They looked like secret service agents: white, 40ish, dressed in black suits and equipped with transparent coiled ear pieces. I focused on physical sensations, how it felt to breathe and sit and wait. It was just after 10 am when the Supreme Court justices entered the chamber through a door behind the bench and were introduced with various ecclesiastical slogans, ending with "God save the United States and this honorable court!" Our cue.
The title says it all: Corporations Are Not People. And Jeff Clements is in a position to know. During his tenure at the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, Clements was involved in a number of cases that saw corporations eager to gain all the rights of a person without holding the responsibility of a person. This is the cornerstone of Clements's book: common sense blended with first-hand experience and pointed research. It's a simple comment on what has become a complex issue. Still, the logic remains simple and straightforward: corporations aren't people just as imaginary corporate characters are not people. The fact that there is even a debate on the question shows the pervasive and insidious effect of corporate power on our daily lives.
The hubbub created by Washington insiders and political operatives around SJR 19 was little more than a sideshow to divert our attention, before an election, from the appalling records of both major parties on economic, environmental, and social justice issues. "We the people" have seen our human rights shrink, along with dwindling economic opportunities and environmental desecration, while "corporate personhood" and "money as speech" have flourished under both party’s leadership. SJR 19 failed to receive the necessary 60 votes in the Senate yesterday. It was never the magic pill to right the wrongs wrought on our Democratic Republic. The bill did not address the root of the rot infecting our democracy: Corporate Personhood. Our democracy is in crisis; SJR 19 and the proposal to overturn Citizens United merely addressed a symptom of our diseased democracy, but left the cause of the disease — large corporations wielding Constitutional rights — untreated. Move to Amend is the only grassroots organization building a real amendment movement in all 50 states to pass an amendment that actually solves our root problems by ending corporate Constitutional rights and money as speech.
In keeping with the theme "May the 4th be with you", Occupy Venice aka the Rebel Alliance joined with members of Vets for Peace, the Topanga Peace Alliance and other activist groups as a part of the 4th of July Parade down Main St in Santa Monica. Over 50 participants led the call to overturn the Empire and fight the TPP, Corporate Personhood, and a new war in Iraq. "Stop Wars" banners and street theater filled the parade as OV acted out lightsaber duels with stormtroopers and against the evil corporate influence of money in politics. The crowd of 5,000 joined in on chants of "The people united will never be defeated!" and cheered along with the march. The Rebel Alliance continued their march down the Venice boardwalk and rallied throughout the rest of the day, welcoming the public and tourists to take part.
Rolling Rebellion actions have begun. Light Projections around the Capitol by Backbone Campaign, Popular Resistance's "Which Side Are You On Tom?" musical asking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to stand with the people and declare independence from the telecoms, and Money Out of Politics projection actions across Baltimore by the Rolling Rebellion for a Real Democracy Luminous Intervention. The US Democracy Movement is growing. It is creatively Declaring Independence from the oligarchy and their corporate state. Getting Money Out of Politics is one essential component of battling the corruption of our political, legal and economic systems. People around the country are embracing and insisting upon the self-evident,endowed by creator, unalienable rights which the Declaration of Independence celebrated and promised to uphold.
Our Democracy has been corrupted. Billionaires flood our politics with money, special interests control our politicians, and corporations are afforded the same rights as real people. A series of court decisions that equate money with speech, corporations as persons and allow unlimited spending on electoral campaigns has led to deep corruption of the government. It’s time for ‘We The People’ to rebel against corporate rule and claim a real democracy. From July 5th – July 12th Americans across the country are rising up in a week of colorful, creative rebellion to reclaim the promise of government – of, by and for the people. From New Hampshire to Seattle we’ll draw on our country’s revolutionary spirit and showcase a movement ready to overthrow corporate rule. Join the democracy rebellion.
By now only five people seem to believe that money doesn't buy influence in politics. Or, more accurately, they just don't care. Recently the Supreme Court addressed the issue of campaign contributions in deciding McCutcheon vs. FEC. In the SCOTUS opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts and four colleagues held that money in politics corrupts, or appears to corrupt, only in cases of quid pro quo bribery. In other words, you can have a politician on retainer just so long as he never itemizes the bill. For everyone to whom that looks wrong, it turns out you actually think it's fine. You must have been looking at some other country where corporations get the same rights as citizens. Of course everyone knows better. The voters know it, the politicians know it, people spending this money know it. And, whether they protest too much or not, the Justices know it.
An interview with Kevin Zeese, organizer with Flush the TPP and Popular Resistance.
It has been 20 years since NAFTA, (North American free Trade agreement) went into effect with the promise of more equality, more jobs, and a better, more prosperous and peaceful world for all of us. Given that NAFTA has contributed to a world that is a negative image of what was sold to us, it is no surprise that the global elite and the Obama administration have been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership in secret.
As the late populist and journalist Molly Ivins once said: “It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.” Extending those liberties and constitutional protections to corporations is antithetical to the principles of Democracy. While the Supreme Court has been slowly granting rights of persons to corporation for over 100 years, the phrase “Corporate Personhood” entered the popular lexicon soon after the January 21, 2010 Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court Case.
On this episode of The Resistance Report: 1. Dennis Trainor, Jr. talks about the 15 innocent people in Yemen who were killed Thursday by a U.S. Drone attack. The 15 homicide victims will be called collateral damage, and yet we are not at war with Yemen. 2. We hear the haunting yet absurd steps taken by the NSA to monitor citizens. Unfortunately for activists, revolutionaries, and other agents of social change, that’s only the “state” prong of surveillance. The corporate arm is much more damning. 3. Donald Sutherland, who stars in the Hunger Games Franchise, wants to see a revolution that brings about the end of the American Empire, and he wants the Hunger Games movies to be a spark for that flame. 4. A group called We the People Maine went to the State House on Wednesday to deliver a formal request for the Legislature to apply for a Constitutional Convention of States to overturn Citizens United and establish that “corporations are not people and money is not speech.”
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