Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
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NEW EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATED
Unequal taxes, unequal accountability for crime, unequal influence, unequal control of the media, unequal access to natural resources—corporations have gained these privileges and more by exploiting their legal status as persons. How did something so illogical and unjust become the law of the land?
Americans have been struggling with the role of corporations since before the birth of the republic. As Thom Hartmann shows, the Boston Tea Party was actually a protest against the British East India Company—the first modern corporation. Unequal Protection tells the astonishing story of how, after decades of sensible limits on corporate power, an offhand, off-the-record comment by a Supreme Court justice led to the Fourteenth Amendment—originally passed to grant basic rights to freed slaves—becoming the justification for granting corporations the same rights as human beings. And Hartmann proposes specific legal remedies that will finally put an end to the bizarre farce of corporate personhood.
This new edition has been thoroughly updated and features Hartmann’s analysis of two recent Supreme Court cases, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which tossed out corporate campaign finance limits.
the European royal families are interrelated, so too are the boards of directors of most of the world’s largest corporations. Corporate observer Robert A. G. Monks reports that today 86 percent of billion-dollar company boards contain at least one CEO of another company, while 65 percent of outside directors serve on two or more boards. He documents how 89 percent of inside directors are outside directors on other companies’ boards, and 20 percent of all directors serve on four or more company
erent and more relaxed than those for humans. In the United States and most other developed nations, most of the distinctions between politicians are becoming increasingly blurred, and in many nations all the local politicians have joined the parties of the corporations. Those parties and politicians that exist to represent the interests of human beings have been marginalized or overwhelmed by the parties and politicians that exist to represent the interests of the corporations. The reason for
of the Boston Tea-Party with a Memoir of George R. T. Hewes, a Survivor of the Little Band of Patriots Who Drowned the Tea in Boston Harbour in 1773, published in New York by S. S. Bliss in 1834. Because the identities of the Boston Tea Party participants were hidden (other than Samuel Adams) and all were sworn to secrecy for the next fifty years, this account (published sixty-one years later) is singularly rare and important, as it’s the only actual first-person account of the event by a
outgrowth of overweening cupidity and selfishness, which insidiously undermines the justice and integrity of free institutions, is not less dangerous than the communism of oppressed poverty and toil, which, exasperated by injustice and discontent, attacks with wild disorder the citadel of rule.” One of the arguments put forward by the Robber Barons for their continued riches was that if the wealthy weren’t protected in their wealth, they wouldn’t create jobs for laborers, and that with their
do. But consider how this fundamental freedom has been bent by corporations since Santa Clara. By claiming the same right as humans to express themselves, companies won approval to spend whatever they want on lobbyists in Washington. At one point there was a full-time tobacco lobbyist for every two legislators on Capitol Hill. As of 2005 there were roughly 64 registered lobbyists for every member of Congress, and 138 of them are former members of Congress. Include state lobbyists, and there are