Monday, February 14, 2011
Posted on Feb 14, 2011
|AP / Shawn Poynter|
By Chris Hedges
---------------------“Civil disobedience is all we had left,” he said. “We are not at present being civilly disobedient, but this event we are carrying on now in Frankfort required our willingness to be civil disobedient and to be arrested."
"The extraction and burning of coal in 26 states is perhaps the most urgent environmental concern facing the United States. Nearly 40 percent of our CO2 emissions come from coal-fired plants."------------------
"The people who run corporations are not under obligation to look far into the future, even necessarily at the interests of the very corporations they are working for. What they are working for is as large a dividend as possible in this accounting period to their shareholders."
Monday, February 7, 2011
Resolution Calling to Amend the Constitution Banning Corporate Personhood Introduced in Vermont
January 22, 2011 |
On the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, Vermont politicians are moving to deny corporations the rights that humans enjoy.
A year ago today, the Supreme Court issued its bizarre Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections as a form of “free speech” for the corporate “person.” Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the dissent, had the task of recalling the majority to planet earth and basic common sense.
"Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires," wrote Stevens. "Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of 'We the People' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."
Fortunately, movements are afoot to reverse a century of accumulated powers and protections granted to corporations by wacky judicial decisions.
In Vermont, state senator Virginia Lyons on Friday presented an anti-corporate personhood resolution for passage in the Vermont legislature. The resolution, the first of its kind, proposes "an amendment to the United States Constitution ... which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States." Sources in the state house say it has a good chance of passing. This same body of lawmakers, after all, once voted to impeach George W. Bush, and is known for its anti-corporate legislation. Last year the Vermont senate became the first state legislature to weigh in on the future of a nuclear power plant, voting to shut down a poison-leeching plant run by Entergy Inc. Lyons’ Senate voted 26-4 to do it, demonstrating the level of political will of the state’s politicians to stand up to corporate power.The language in the Lyons resolution is unabashed. "The profits and institutional survival of large corporations are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings," it states, noting that corporations "have used their so-called rights to successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws.”
Thus the unfolding of the obvious: “democratically elected governments” are rendered “ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate harm to the environment, health, workers, independent business, and local and regional economies." The resolution goes on to note that "large corporations own most of America's mass media and employ those media to loudly express the corporate political agenda and to convince Americans that the primary role of human beings is that of consumer rather than sovereign citizens with democratic rights and responsibilities."
Denouncing this situation as an "intolerable societal reality," the document concludes that the "only way" toward a solution is the amendment of the Constitution "to define persons as human beings.”
Constitutional lawyer David Cobb, the 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, recently traveled to Vermont to help draft the resolution. Cobb says it is an historic document. "This is the first state to introduce at the legislative level a statement of principles that corporations are not persons and do not have constitutional rights," he told AlterNet. "This is how a movement gets started. It's the beginning of a revolutionary action completely and totally within the legal framework."
Such an amendment would be the 28th time we have corrected our founding document to reflect political reality and social change. In other words, we've done it 27 times before in answer to the call of history, and we can do it again. There is a groundswell of support: 76 percent of Americans, according to a recent ABC News poll, said they opposed the Citizens United decision.http://www.alternet.org/story/149620/