[Original 1/31/2012 Post]
I’ve been thinking a lot about corporate personhood lately – all the controversy surrounding Citizens United v. FEC, which protects unlimited, undisclosed corporate political donations as “free speech”. We built up a good wiki page about this in the New Economic Charter last fall. In that page, constitutional amendments proposed by US Rep. Jim McGovern, US Rep. Ted Deutch, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that would reverse Citizens United v. FEC are described. This, of course, is an idea that radio personality Thom Hartmann has been pushing for several years: a constitutional amendment that curtails the construct of corporate personhood and the ability of said legal persons to manipulate our political system for their own purposes.
In the current Congress, those amendments appear to have zero chances of passage. Will they ever? The sluices carrying corporate and wealthy individuals’ money into politics are so wide open now that the legendary Morganza Spillway (remember that? how soon we forget!) is a mere tinkle beside that torrent.
Consistent with this, our society’s autophagy continues unabated… Barack Obama trumpets ever more desperate and expensive efforts to wring fossil fuels from the land. The health-extraction industry keeps growing at a rate many multiples of the CPI. Entergy Nuclear Corp. continues its court-supported stare-down of the entire political and civic establishment of the State of Vermont.
Here’s a crazy thought. Let’s assume there won’t be any constitutional or judicial relief for decades – generations, even – until the excess of dysfunction over whatever good corporations can achieve is so overshot that Americans rise up as one nation and actually vote in their own interests, beating corporate personhood back to something resembling the mid-20th century corp., or the German soziale Marktwirtschaft. Admittedly, this is a lunatic’s raving.
What to do in the meantime?
Idea: turn the situation on its head. By this, I mean, act as if every corporate employee, from the CEO down to the shipping room clerk, is personally and unboundedly responsible for everything the corporation does. Make it personal. Confront them. Refuse to deal with them. Insult them. Ostracize them. Spill things on their sleeves. Conduct a citizen’s arrest. Tell them they can’t hide behind that big old giant Corporate Person anymore. We don’t buy it. Sure, sure… ”Good people working for bad companies.” Right. Like, “what’s a nice girl like you doing, working for a nasty company like that?” Tell them that if they’re going to get to pass the responsibility up to a giant mega-construct that abstracts away human morality, accountability, citizenship, and civic duty – yet enjoys Bill of Rights protections – then tell them, nope, we’re going to start at the other end of the pipe now. You are your corporation. It’s fractal: the whole corporation and all its deeds and misdeeds reproduced in every little human atom of its structure.
That’ll cause a stir.
And illustrate the complete absurdity of the situation we have created in the Virtual Forbidden City that our klepto-capitalist society has become.
Time to Get Personal!
February 28, 2012 “Get Personal!” Update
Wow. This is actually being put into practice. Check out the campaign that Rebuild the Dream is launching against Freddie Mac:
From: Natalie Foster, Rebuild the Dream <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Let’s pop Freddie Mac’s bubble
Date: February 28, 2012 11:34:44 AM EST