Unequal Protection: The rise of corporate dominance and theft of human rights
by Thom Hartmann

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A Resolution Abolishing Corporate Personhood - you can pass to educate your local community

While passing a law to ban corporate personhood may seem the most direct way to take on the issue, it may not be the most rapid or the best for your community, at least in the beginning. First, its necessary to educate a community, and passing a non-binding resolution (instead of a binding law/ordinance) can do just that. Although it wont have the force of law, it begins the process of change because proposing and campaigning for it will educate the voters in your community. The other benefit of passing a resolution is that it wont draw legal fire from corporations, who can challenge an ordinance and engage a community in costly litigation.

Beginning with a resolution as an educational effort is important because change movements always work from the bottom up, not the top down. Leaders and elected officials usually dont just wake up one day and change: citizens push them to do so. This is how it worked with the abolition and suffrage movements, among others: Books, articles, and editorials were written; citizens groups formed; political parties eventually staked out positions; communities passed resolutions, laws, and worked for constitutional amendments; court cases wound their way to the Supreme Court.

Thus, if the United States is to end corporate rule and move toward a modern version of the republican democracy envisioned by the Founders, the process will almost certainly flow from the bottom up. As the issue becomes more and more visible, eventually either the Supreme Court will reverse their clerks error of 1886 - the way in 1954 and 1973 they reversed their errors of 1896 and 1873, finally declaring that freed slaves and women are now persons under the law - or the States or Congress will take up the issue.

Whichever way the process of returning corporations to their former status ultimately happens, itll only come about when a critical mass of the electorate realizes its an issue.

To that end, an example of one of the most effective tools for educating people is what the town of Point Arena, California did in the year 2000. Instead of passing an ordinance or law, the City Council passed a resolution declaring that the City of Point Arena didnt think corporations were persons. The process took well over a year and was hotly debated in the town; as a result, today there is a high level of awareness about the corporate personhood issue in this part of northern California. Even thought the resolution didnt have the force of law, it was a tremendously successful educational process, and, thus, may represent the best place for a local community to start.

Heres the text of the final draft of the resolution passed on a 4 to 1 vote by Point Arenas City Council on April 25, 2000:

Resolution on Corporate Personhood in the City of Point Arena, California

Whereas,

Citizens of the City of Point Arena hope to nurture and expand democracy in our community and our nation.

Democracy means governance by the people. Only natural persons should be able to participate in the democratic process.

Interference in the democratic process by corporations frequently usurps the rights of citizens to govern.

Corporations are artificial entities separate and apart from natural persons. Corporations are not naturally endowed with consciousness or the rights of natural persons. Corporations are creations of law and are only permitted to do what is authorized under law.

Rejecting the concept of corporate personhood will advance meaningful campaign finance reform.

Therefore be it hereby resolved that:

The City of Point Arena agrees with Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in his 1938 opinion in which he stated, "I do not believe the word 'person' in the 14th Amendment includes corporations."

Be it further resolved that:

The City of Point Arena shall encourage public discussion on the role of corporations in public life and urge other cities to foster similar public discussion. The original resolution proposed to the city council was much longer and had some great language about democracy and corporate rule, but was eventually pared down to the lean version you see above. (The original is online at www.iiipublishing.com/alliance.htm) Its a marvelous template for something you may want to propose or pass in your community.

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GOP Blocks Equal Pay...again.

Just in time for election season, Senate Republicans blocked legislation aimed at closing the gender pay gap. For the third time since 2012, Republicans refused to allow debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, and reminded women that the GOP doesn't believe in equal pay for equal work.

From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Beneath the success and rise of American enterprise is an untold history that is antithetical to every value Americans hold dear. This is a seminal work, a godsend really, a clear message to every citizen about the need to reform our country, laws, and companies."
Paul Hawken, coauthor of Natural Capitalism and author of The Ecology of Commerce
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical research with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel."
David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Agenda for A New Economy