The problem faced by the people is systemic and and rooted in how corporations are defined under law.
In 1886 the Supreme Court, in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, was interpreted to have ruled that corporations were “persons”—before women were considered persons under the 19th amendment to have the right to vote.
Ever since, corporations have enjoyed most of the same constitutional rights granted to real people.
But corporations are not humans. They don’t vote. They don’t have children. They don’t die in Iraq.
The people who work for the corporations are of course real people, but the corporate “entity” should never be given equal constitutional rights to real human beings.
Even Business Week magazine, in a 2000 editorial, declared that “corporations should get out of politics.”
Noam Chomsky stated, “Corporations were given the rights of immortal persons, but special kinds of persons--- persons who had no moral conscience. You expect a human being to care about others but corporations are designed by law to be concerned only with financial interests of its stockholders."
We cannot have equal justice under law between real people and corporations like Exxon Mobil.
Multinational corporations can be in 1000 places around the world at the same time obstructing governments, states,buying and renting politicians, and going to Washington to get bailed out by taxpayers.
Congress did not legislate corporate personhood. The courts performed this jolting display of runaway activism all by themselves.
The courts destroyed the semblance of equal protection under law because there is no way even an individual billionaire can approximate the raw power of these large corporations with their privileged immunities, and their control over technology, capital and labor.
Together we can work to end corporate personhood.
Together we can work to subordinate the artificial corporate entity to the constitutional sovereignty of the people.
Right now it is the reverse. The sovereignty of the people is subordinated to the sovereignty of the giant multinational corporations.
But the constitution still reads, “we the people”, not we the corporations.
Corporations were chartered in the early nineteenth century by state governments to be our servants, not our masters.
They are now our masters.
What is needed is a foundational change in the defintion of the relationship between living human beings and the nonliving legal fictions we call corporations. Only when corporations are again legally subordinate to those who authorized them-humans, an the governments representing them-will true change be possible.
To bring this about will require a grassroots movement in communities all across the nation and the world to undo corporate personhood, leading to changes in the definintions of the word "person".
Resolution on Corporate Personhood in the City of Phoenix, Arizona
Community Members of the City of Phoenix hope to nurture and expand democracy in our community and 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix shall encourage public discussion on the role of corporations in public life and urge other cities to foster similar public discussion.