The Beginning of Corporate Rights

By: Kourosh Behnam
March 19, 2012

One hundred ninety three years ago in 1819 the Supreme Court Case Darmouth College v. Woodward  ruled to allow corporations to have the same rights as, “The People”.   Sixty seven years later in 1886 The Supreme Court’s decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad   recognized corporations as people under the Fourteenth Amendment.  This decision that was made one hundred twenty six years ago is the foundation for modern laws concerning corporate personhood.

The most recent law regarding corporate personhood is Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commissions. This land mark decision is directly responsible for the rise of Super PAC’s  that are flooding our elections with money financed by oligarchs, multi-national corporations, and labor unions.

Recently many activists have been attempting to amend The Citizens United Decision,  declaring that corporations are not people.  While I think this activism is crucial to accomplishing our goals, we need to direct our energies to the beginning of when corporations were given their Fourteenth Amendment rights.  “Our communities expend time, money, energy, and resources in an endless game in which he right of corporations and those who command them harm our communities and deny our rights isn’t even on the table.”   I do agree with overturning The Citizens United Decision, but when we do accomplish this goal, corporations will still have persons rights.  We the people need to amend the constitution in certain ways that benefit the rights of nature and people over corporations.

Read More: Corporate Rights , Democracy School, IFG Programs: Wealth and Power

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2 responses to “The Beginning of Corporate Rights

  1. There is a Constitutional Amendment already filed, in 2011:
    H.J. Res. 88. This will remove the false concept of “corporate personhood” and prevent this flood of “free speech” that is buying our elections.
    The bill and a list of co-sponsors can be found at thomas[dot]loc[dot]gov. Call you U.S. Representative and ask them to co-sponsor this bill. If he/she does not, then they represent corporate interests over yours and then vote them out of office in November. We get our Amendment going, or we get a new House of Representatives this year.

    • @Plantiful Thank you for the information. The resolution filed does not talk about individuals (oligarchs) who are influence our elections with their massive amounts of wealth. Is money considered free speech?…i dont think so.

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