"Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." -- Anonymous
The infamous NeoConservative, anti-democratic Roberts' Supreme Court 5/4 decision in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling (granting personhood to corporations) has emboldened the already powerful and very corruptible multinational corporations (that have already achieved dominion over politics and the economy in the United States) to "buy" any number of politicians and brain-wash many voters in many state and national elections.. The US Supreme Court has made legal the absurd notion that inanimate corporations deserve the same rights (but not the same responsibilities) as living humans.
Soberingly, after the ruling came down, there was only a brief bit of anger and outrage from our national leadership over this democracy-threatening decision, and the outrage was quickly drowned out of the public consciousness by a well-timed, mainstream media-orchestrated "tempest in a teapot" - Toyota's recall of tens of thousands of accelerator pedals (that apparently had only infrequently been the cause of significant accidents).
The following question must be asked:
If corporations have the privileges of personhood shouldn't they also bear the same responsibilities and incur the same punishments as individuals do when they commit crimes?
Peace and justice activists briefly applauded when the citizens of Shapleigh, Maine protected their water rights last March from the insatiable water-extracting corporate giant Nestle. (See video and more information on this episode here.
Nestle, one of the most infamous of the countless multinational corporate exploiters, has no allegiance to Maine or Wisconsin or any other locality where they try to extract relatively non-polluted water; but when the water is gone, so will be Nestle, and so will be Coca-Cola and Perrier or whatever other corporate intruder that extracts the people's resources for the benefit of their shareholders and their predatory corporate executives. The good citizens of Maine recognized the foxes that tried to get inside their henhouse, and they did the right thing by resisting, and little David and his slingshot won another rare victory against the evil giant Goliath.
This small victory for justice should illustrate what must be done if the disastrous Citizens United decision is allowed to stand. The future of the nation, the future of the children and the future of the planet is at stake. And corporations don't seem to care.
It is important to understand that the allegiance of corporations is to its shareholders, executives and management teams, and not to the people whose lives and health depend on the sustainability of the land, water, air and food supplies. Most corporate shareholders and executives are motivated by profits/greed and are not affected when local resources are used up and the struggling local communities (that placed their trust in untrustworthy corporations) are degraded.
The hollow "promises" of conscienceless megacorporations to "trust us" to un-poison the poisoned environment aren't revealed as the cunning disinformation it is until it is too late and the mess that is left behind is no longer the sneaky corporation's problem. What was promised prior to the pull-out or the bankruptcy or the merger was designed by clever corporate lawyers to legally go back on the promises that had been made during the conniving "courtship" phase of the deal.
One of the many tax avoiding American megacorporations is Wal-Mart. Most of its profits go to a handful of Walton family billionaires in Arkansas. WaMart tries hard not to pay for healthcare insurance and other benefits for their exploited and underpaid employees, who are victims of WalMart's union-busting policies.
US taxpayers are left holding the bag while Wal-Mart legally avoids what should ethically be their corporate responsibility to support their workers. Wal-Mart is notorious for not hiring workers for full-time work and then paying the part-timers below-subsistence level wages that force many of them to apply for welfare benefits - a cunning cost-shifting tactic that places economic burdens on the tax-paying public.
Another example is Coca-Cola. Coke depends on water that it extracts from anywhere the corporation can suck it out, including, as a particularly egregious example, from the aquifers that are situated beneath struggling, starving (and then suicidal) farmers who are losing their farms in drought-stricken India. Millions of gallons of water, that has traditionally been used for farmland irrigation systems, are being ruthlessly used up by Coca-Cola in order to meet the artificial demand that has been created for the sweet, addictive, nutritionally useless, sickness-inducing and obesity-producing soft drink that contains two cents worth of ingredients but is being sold to poor people everywhere for as much as the market will bear.
Coke's predation of poor people in India and elsewhere brings to mind another corporate crime that has never been brought to justice. The infamous 1984 Union Carbide/Bhopal cyanide catastrophe that killed 25,000 slum-dwellers, left 100,000 permanently poisoned, and has left uncounted numbers of people living on poisoned soil, drinking contaminated water and breathing poisoned air. Every person that has been exposed to the Bhopal plant environs since 1984 is chronically ill; and Indian mothers are still delivering malformed babies and dead fetuses because of the pesticide residues that cannot be detoxified. Union Carbide, the American corporation responsible for the disaster, has consistently shirked its moral responsibilities to the suffering victims. Carbide eventually sold itself to the equally infamous Dow Chemical, the company that brought us Agent Orange, immune-destroying silicone breast implants and a multitude of other highly profitable and very poisonous products.
Union Carbide's corporate executives have been subpoenaed to appear in Indian courts for their crimes. But the US has not honored the extradition treaties it has with India. These executives have repeatedly refused to appear and are therefore in contempt of court. There are warrants out for their arrests in India, just as there are warrants out for the arrest of citizen Henry Kissinger for his part in international war crimes in Chile, East Timor, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc. All remain at large, harbored by America's big Business-friendly, corporate-controlled nation.