Thursday, April 20, 2006

Our Corporate Government

The present government of the United States of America is not the one put in place by the founders. This government does not function "by and for the people," it functions "by and for corporations."

The forefathers never would have let his happen. The Boston Tea Party was a protest over the corporate British East India Company's monopoly on trade and the high taxes resulting form that. In Europe corporations chartered by Kings had not only increased their own wealth by finding, settling and plundering foreign lands, they has also increased the wealth of their countries of origin. The Massachusetts Bay Colony and Dutch East India Company are two other corporations who were dominating the world at the time. Using their huge wealth and influence, they were able to pretty much monopolize trade at the expense of ordinary people.

At the time of the American Revolution, there was a strong resolve to limit the power and wealth of corporate entities because the founding fathers knew that such a concentration would lead to influence that surpassed that of the people and interfere with self rule.

In the beginning of our nation corporations were held in check by laws that limited them to a business role. They were not allowed to interfere in public policy, elections, and civic society. The states were given the right to charter corporations and to evoke charters when laws were violated.

Many corporate charters were granted for specific purposes such as construction of public works and ended with the completion of the project. States could limit the amount of profits a company could make, and terminate the charter if corporations exceeded their authority or caused public harm. Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.

What Happened?

In the early 1800's laws to control corporate influence were weakened by Supreme Court decisions which found in favor of corporate interests in matters of state trade barriers being lifted and the ability of states to cancel a corporate contract. In a later court Chief Justice Roger Taney, who disagreed with the earlier rulings, lamented that "The continued existence of government would be of no great value, if by implications and presumptions, it was disarmed of the powers necessary to accomplish the ends of its creation; and the functions it was designed to perform, transferred to the hands of privileged corporations."

Corporations pressed on in their attempts to control labor, resources and community rights. IN 1886 a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, the court used the 14th amendment to find that California could not tax corporations differently than individuals. The 14th amendment had bee passed to protect recently emancipated slaves and stated "no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law." The ruling was corrupted by corporations who then claimed if they were protected by 14th amendment rights, then they must have corporate personhood. Armed with this new status, corporations have caused courts to strike down hundreds of laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm. They have increased their control over resources, jobs, commerce, politicians, and every facet of our society. As "persons" they have influenced the political system to serve their interests and needs while society suffers.

Corporations with the help of "deregulation" and other laws put into place by our government, are polluting our water, air and earth.

Labor laws have been diminished leaving workers unprotected and the right to form unions severely curtailed. "Tort reform" is the effort to remove our right to sue corporations for wrongdoing in courts. Foreign policy is based on the interests of corporations to expand and secure control over resources, labor and wealth of other nations. Researching the facts behind US military and covert actions will reveal that they were taken to protect and advance the corporate agenda. In the 1950's the democratically elected governments of Iran and Guatemala were overthrown by covert CIA activities.They did so not to stop Communism but to remove governments that planned reform to improve their societies. These reforms threatened the control corporations had over resources and land.

This corporate government has a history of labeling any country "Communist" or "Marxist" which attempts to reclaim their sovereignty over land, resources, trade, environment or labor. Consider this: Under Saddam, Iraq's constitution stated that all the country's resources were to be owned by the state and no foreign investment was allowed. In the September after the US invasion, Paul Bremmer let it be known that "Iraq is now open for foreign investment." Here's the kicker. Investments in Iraq would be protected under the US Bank of Import/Export and should said investments be lost, that loss would be covered by that bank. The US Bank of Import/ Export is a taxpayer funded bank and the losses would be paid by our tax money! If you thought the BCCI scandal cost us, just wait until we get this bill! What government that was truly working under the mandate to "protect and provide for the public security and welfare" would do that?

If you follow the money, it is obvious that the real winners in the "War on Terror" are the corporations who make and provide provisions and services to the War machine. Our wealth is being siphoned off directly into their pockets. Our soldiers are fighting hard to open the occupied countries up for corporate investment, exploitation and control.

When they use the term "democracy" they mean a system like ours where corporate interests rule. Our government now functions to increase corporate wealth and control and we find ourselves once again taxed without representation. Tea Party anyone?

Sue Dyer

Guest Essayist