Ending Corporate Rule + Revoking Corporate Charters

Program #CIEP003-GROR002.

 First Program: Paul Cienfuegos - Ending Corporate Rule

Modern corporations trace their origins to the trading companies of imperial Europe more than three centuries ago. Their rise in power and influence has been a steady trajectory to the point where today they are the dominant institution in society. Governments have freed corporations from legal constraints through deregulation, and granted them even greater power through privatization. The Supreme Court has declared corporations are people and money is free speech. The latter has turned Congress into, as one commentator put it, “a forum for legalized bribery.” Many citizens feel that pleading to corporations is insufficient and that it is time to examine the nature of this artificial institution. Endless single-issue crisis-based activism, one grievance at a time does not address the core problem, which is the corporation itself. Is ending corporate rule an obtainable goal? How would it happen?

Second Program: Richard Grossman - Revoking Corporate Charters

Corporations, Corporations. From ExxonMobil to Wal-Mart they dominate society and politics. Over the last 100 years corporations have accrued enormous economic power and legal standing. A corporation is licensed to do business. These licenses are called charters. In theory, when a corporation violates its charter, it can be revoked. That used to happen but not any more. And now corporate power has gotten a big boost. On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court, in Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission, ruled that there are no limitations on campaign contributions by both domestic and foreign corporations. Noam Chomsky calls the decision "a dark day in the history of U.S. democracy, and its decline." The ruling, "The New York Times," says "strikes at the heart of democracy" by having "paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections."

Speaker(s):

Paul Cienfuegos (click to view archive)

Paul Cienfuegos is a leader in the Community Rights movement, which works to dismantle corporate constitutional so-called “rights” and assert the people's inherent right to self-government. He founded Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County in 1995, co-founded CommunityRightsPDX.org in 2011, and is helping to establish the Oregon Community Rights Network which launched in 2013. He is based in Portland, Oregon. More info at PaulCienfuegos.com.

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