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Corporatism

Indigenous Group Fighting Emissions Cap Supported By Oil Company

A national Indigenous group is fighting a proposed federal limit on oil and gas sector emissions by arguing it will harm First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. But the group has a powerful non-Indigenous ally, according to corporate documents from Canada’s second-largest oil and gas producer. Cenovus, a Calgary-based oil sands company that last year had net earnings of $6.5 billion, says in those documents that it has paid for membership with the Indigenous Resource Network (IRN). Yet a spokesperson for the network called that a “misrepresentation.”

Railroad Executives Got Cash, In Part For ‘Record’ Train Length

While concerns have been building across the railroad industry for years about the growing length of trains, our Scripps News investigation found that Norfolk Southern’s top executives personally pocketed millions of dollars in incentives and cash rewards after the company hit a controversial financial target and made its trains longer. Critics from within the industry say the specific financial metrics the executives were incentivized to hit can pressure them to cut costs — potentially at the expense of safety. The Norfolk Southern train that derailed just outside the small Ohio town of East Palestine stretched nearly two miles long. 

Berlin’s Pledge To Socialize A Quarter Million Apartments In Danger

Just over a year ago, Berliners won one of the biggest victories in decades for tenants in large cities. On September 26, 2021, in a landslide victory, locals voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum that called for the drafting of a new law to socialize almost a quarter of a million apartments in the city. Such a law would clear the way for  the largest expropriation of housing in post-unification Germany—a significant step forward in the global fight against vampire real estate and the large private companies and wealthy investors that have gobbled up housing stock and maintained a death grip on rent prices throughout the world. The passage of the referendum was a rare victory and a lesson to many tenant activists that, through organization and education, they can fight back—and win. The fight, however, is far from over.

We Should Be Able To Fix Our Stuff Ourselves

From IPhones To John Deere Equipment, Corporations Shouldn’t Be Holding Needed Repairs Hostage. Think back to your flip-phone or bulky tube TV of yesteryear. When they were on the fritz, you didn’t necessarily fix them yourself, but you may have turned to a local repair shop to get things sorted. Today, most of the repair options that await (when your iPhone starts glitching, for example) are deeply unpleasant. After trekking out to an Apple Store, an “authorized genius” might ask for an exorbitant fee or, more often, just tell you to buy the newer model. John Deere restricts how its tractors can be repaired, hospital equipment manufacturers don’t share their repair documentation, and on. Right-to-repair advocates point out this situation is an intentional, controlled part of a planned obsolescence that creates waste and drives up repair fees. Beyond the cost to your pocketbook, churning through electronic devices takes a huge toll on the environment in the form of tens of millions of tons of electronic waste each year.

Utilities’ Failures And Shady Practices Show We Need Energy Democracy

In June of 2021, torrential rains flooded the City of Detroit and surrounding areas, causing over $100 million in damages, mostly in poor, Black, and Brown neighborhoods. Kamau Clark, an organizer for the nonprofit We The People Michigan, moved into his apartment in Detroit’s West Village neighborhood just two days before the storm. “I came home at 2AM and the apartment was flooded,” he recalls. Overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn, Clark went to a town hall on the city’s east side, where representatives from water and sewage authorities tried to explain the situation to him and a crowd of angry residents. According to officials, the city’s infrastructure was not fit to handle the unprecedented volume of rain. However, there was another problem — the storm had also caused a power outage at the city’s wastewater facilities, rendering some of their pumps only partially operational. At the time, city officials told residents that it was these outages, combined with the heavy rain, that caused the record flooding.

As We Confront The Climate Crisis, Is Bigger And Faster Always Better?

“Scale” has become something of a buzz word in climate movement circles. When we see something inspiring, we often ask: “How do we quickly replicate this everywhere, so we are acting in a way that feels commensurate with the scale and urgency of the climate crisis?” As a climate organizer, I’ve often noticed myself seesawing between smaller spaces where I can build deeper relationships and work at a more global scale. The latter forces my mind and body to overstep its limits to do things that feel more commensurate with the all-pervasive nature of the climate crisis. But is the conflation of “scale” with “bigger” and “faster” undermining our efforts to usher in the deep and transformative change required to confront a challenge as complex as climate change?

Corporate Greed At Its Worst

With colder winter weather looming, a new analysis released Tuesday shows that the nine largest energy utility companies in the U.S. raked in nearly $14 billion in combined profits during the first three quarters of this year—and dished out roughly $11 billion to their wealthy shareholders—as tens of millions of U.S. households struggled to pay their utility bills due to soaring costs. The watchdog group Accountable.US found that NextEra Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, Dominion Energy, Constellation Energy, Eversource Energy, Entergy Corporation, DTE Energy, and CMS Energy Corporation brought in $13.8 billion in the first nine months of this fiscal year. The firms, the nine largest in the U.S. by market capitalization, returned over $11.2 billion to shareholders during that period in the form of dividends and stock buybacks.

Global Climate Talks Spark Action Against Investment Treaties

In advance of the global climate negotiations taking place in Egypt, several countries announced important actions to curb the power of the fossil fuel industry. For decades now, a global web of international investment agreements has given corporations excessive powers to block government policies they don’t like. Through “investor-state dispute settlement” mechanisms, these agreements grant corporations the right to sue governments in unaccountable supranational tribunals, demanding huge payouts in retaliation for actions that might reduce the value of their investments. Corporations are able to file such lawsuits over a wide array of government actions — including actions designed to protect people and the planet.

The Truth About Cargill, The World’s Most Evil Company

The biggest supervillains in the world are not human: they’re corporations. And one of those corporations owns nearly our entire food system. This year, food prices have soared and Americans are feeling it. For example, egg prices have doubled since last year to nearly $3 a dozen, which is especially difficult if you make your living as an egg-juggling busker down by the condemned jungle gym. But the supervillain companies that set those prices aren’t struggling at all. The largest one is Cargill. And this year, Cargill’s revenue jumped to a record $165 billion. That’s $30 billion more than the year before. Let’s learn a little more about Cargill. Known to friends as the evilest company in the world – and to enemies as even worse than that – Cargill Inc. is the biggest privately owned company in the U.S., and they own a large chunk of every portion of the food that ends up on your plate.

US Pressuring New Left-Wing Honduras Government

Honduran President Xiomara Castro, who took office in January, promised on the campaign trail to abolish special economic zones known as ZEDEs (“Economic Development and Employment Zones” in English), where private investors have outsized power to shape labor laws, judicial systems, and local governance. These zones have garnered fierce opposition in Honduras for undermining the basic tenets of democracy. In April, she achieved a major win when the Congress of Honduras unanimously voted to repeal the law that allows for ZEDEs, and to abolish the current ones, though the latter has to be ratified next year. But the forces who want to keep ZEDEs in operation are retaliating, and they’ve found allies on Capitol Hill.

$11 Million Per Minute!

The world’s governments subsidize the fossil fuel industry with a mind-blowing amount of money. Lee Camp reports on an IMF study from 2021 that found that Big Oil receives $11 million per minute in subsidies. In other words, we’re all paying for ExxonMobil, Shell, British Petroleum, and their peers to continue doing business by polluting the land, water and atmosphere. The public deserves to know that their governments are paying for corporations to risk the future of humanity.

‘We’ve Incentivized Corporations To Go After This Price-Gouging Strategy’

Janine Jackson: In a section labeled “Core of the matter,” the Economist declared: “Despite rosier figures, America still has an inflation problem. Is higher unemployment the only cure?” I guess we’re meant to find solace in the idea that the magazine thinks there might conceivably be other responses, in addition to what we are to understand is the proven one: purposely throwing people out of work, with all of the life-changing harms that come with that. CNBC‘s story, “Inflation Fears Spur Shoppers to Get an Early Jump on the Year-End Holidays,” encouraged us to think that “inflation is a Scrooge.” So—an abstraction that is somehow stealing Christmas, to which the healthy response is to make more people jobless while corporate profits soar. It makes sense to corporate media, but if it doesn’t make sense to you, you are far from alone.

I’m A Railroad Worker

As I think about generations gone by, the values people held, the moral compasses that guided them, I can’t help but wonder what our ancestors would say about the mess this country is in today. Somewhere along the line, I think, a paradigm shift occurred: We stripped this country down and sold every scrap of society and community to the highest bidder, while the things that we used to hold near and dear withered and rotted like old fruit. We’ve forgotten what the Constitution of this great nation says, we hate each other for our differences rather than embracing them, and our leaders—the purported champions of the oppressed, the self-styled protectors of all things fair and just—have become our enemies. The corporations controlling next to every facet of our daily lives are well aware of this, and they are actively capitalizing on the chaos at our expense.

Healthcare Profits: Montefiore Hospital Closes Bronx Center

Montefiore Hospital System is set to close its Family Health Center (FHC) at 1 Fordham Plaza which has provided primary care to a community in the Bronx for over 30 years. At the same time, Montefiore is slated to open a large, upscale primary care clinic for wealthy patients living around Hudson Yards. This is healthcare under capitalism: shut down primary care in poor areas serving patients of color and instead open more profitable centers in wealthy areas serving predominantly white patients. The FHC has been providing primary care services to over tens of thousands of low-income residents in the surrounding community, most of whom are Black and Brown/Latinx. The center also is one of the primary training locations of the Family Medicine department’s Family and Social Medicine Residency outpatient training program.

‘Value-Based Care’ Is A Pretext For Privatization

Later this month, right before Medicare’s 57th birthday on July 30, corporate health care and the government players who facilitate their lucrative businesses, will gather for a summit on value-based care.   They will speak of driving health equity, of reaching underserved communities, of coordination of care, and accountable care.  They will insist that physicians share in risk just like insurance companies.  They will advocate the transformation of health care to value-based care, supposedly founded on payment for quality rather than quantity, value instead of volume, and outcomes not fee-for-service.  They will assert that this transformation brings equity, improves care, and saves money. They have no evidence to back up their assertions. 
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