"Corporate Personhood"

"Corporate Personhood" by truthout.org on flickr

In my childhood dreams, concocted in the Rip-Roaring 90s, I planned to work hard, go to college, and leave my humble roots behind. I would achieve middle class success doing a job I loved–sustainability managing a forest for wildlife and timber, restoring exhausted neighborhoods back to vibrancy, greening industries, and generally being a professional do-gooder.  Many people my age envisioned the same bright, progressive future, hoping to continue the mission begun some 30 years before, with the words of Rachael Carson, John Muir, and Jane Jacobs, emblazoned in our hearts and celebrated in our classrooms.

That future has not come to pass, and not for lack of my trying, but because something is very wrong in our country. I long avoided the corporate world, but now the corporate world has come after me. In fact, it has come after all of us. It has infiltrated every last square inch of this country. It’s in the unlabeled GMOs we unwittingly take into our guts; it’s in the contaminated water rural Americans in the fracking zone are drinking.  It’s in all three branches of government, as lobbyists and PACs fill the campaign coffers on both sides of the aisle, and fill the White House, Congress, and even Supreme Court with corporate mouthpieces. The checks and balances are no more. New emerging leaders are now big on looks and low on brains, and their appointees don’t protect the public good, but protect corporate interests, quid pro quo. Agency appointees waive aside or hamper regulation, and force the rank-and-file to operate blindfolded and with one hand tied behind their backs.  Corporations now even write our country’s laws and control the legislatures schedule of debates and voting through ALEC.

What a fine scenario they have for themselves. Corporations pay no taxes when they rake in billions, no penalties when they destroy the landscapes or fraudulently scheme, and all their little cheerleaders and friends take important jobs like Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner of GoldmanSachs, conveniently appointed to look after the money supply.  Fox in the hen house? More like saber-toothed tiger unleashed on day-old mice.  I could go on. There is no denying it, we are ruled by a government that is by the Corporations, for the Corporations; after all, they have personhood, free speech, and nearly all the money.

I genuinely do believe there is a solution, summarized in a short video (1) I created, and which I will elaborate on in my next post. But before we focus on solutions, let’s not sugar coat. We live in very dire circumstances.  We see the symptoms of our precariousness every day, with enormous unemployment, wage stagnation, foreclosure madness, and endless, ceaseless wars, and other injustices.  It is no coincidence corporations have never in history had so much money and power, and our society (and the world) is suffering so much. It is in fact not happenstance. This is causation. Corporate take over of this country is the disease, and it is killing us. It is killing young America men overseas in wars. It is killing Americans in rural havens with poisoned wells. It is killing Americans without healthcare, young and old.  And it is doing so much more to destroy the web of life around this planet, and make the masses suffer, in the pursuit of profit by a handful of people. We have to corporations in their place, and we have a battle ahead that requires everyone on the Left get this message. Please share.



(1)   “Fight the Corporate Agenda”  Running Time: 2 minutes.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8ygkwdbz68