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IV. C. Citizen Control over Corporations

Corporations have accrued legal and political privileges that have no basis in the Constitution of the United States. Under cover of these extra-constitutional privileges, corporations accumulate vast financial resources, which they use to control our political, economic, and cultural life. They achieve this control by influencing and dominating the electoral, legislative, and regulatory processes of government, using their wealth to lobby elected and appointed officials and to manage the information media, thus subverting the democratic rights of the people.

A corporation exists only when a state government grants it a charter. Originally in the 19th century charters were granted for the promotion of the common good, not for the exclusive good of the corporation's owners or executives. Many corporations today have abdicated their responsibility to the common good and have become severe threats to the environment, to sustainable economies, and to democracy itself. Corporations must be brought under local democratic control and be made responsive to the needs of the communities where they make, manage, and sell their products and services.

Smaller is generally better. Smaller corporations are easier to oversee and hold accountable. A corporation should be no larger than is minimally needed to fulfill its mission. Corporations seek economies of scale that work to the people's detriment when applied to labor. Subdividing job responsibilities to the lowest common denominator creates more low-skill, low-responsibility, repetitive work which may help a company's bottom line and improve service standardization; but it also reduces workers to replaceable commodities and strips them of their creativity and, thus, humanity. Such jobs do not serve communities. Smaller corporations tend to require a larger proportion of higher-skilled employees, which is a community benefit.

The Green Party intends to end corporate rule and create real democracy. Current law and judicial decisions have clothed corporations with more rights and freedoms than those of natural human persons, allowing corporations to illegally and immorally usurp political power. We must reclaim our sovereign right to define corporations, not just regulate them.

We propose the following:

  • Eliminate the fiction of corporate personhood, through judicial review, legislative action, or constitutional amendment.

  • Modify or eliminate other corporate claims to constitutional protection, in clauses such as the Interstate Commerce clause, the Contracts clause, and the Takings clause.

  • Prohibit any corporation from paying or contributing, or offering to pay or contribute, directly or indirectly, any money, property, or anything of value to any political party, committee, organization, or individual, for any political purpose whatsoever, or for the purpose of influencing legislation of any kind, or to promote or defeat the candidacy of any person for nomination, appointment, or election to any political office.

  • Rewrite state corporate codes to confirm that a corporationís responsibility is primarily to its workers and to the community where it operates, and that it is a public entity and must act in the public interest or have its charter revoked.

  • Strengthen corporate law to allow for the charter revocation or banishment from states of corporations which are deemed contrary to the public good, or which are convicted of repeated violations of law, including activities that would normally be considered criminal for any individual to conduct.

  • Encourage the partitioning of all corporations through legislated incentives to a size that supports the highest standards of living among the local populace where the corporations operate, and encourage higher proportions of stakeholders to become shareholders by promoting worker buyouts of corporations. Provide agency powers to force such changes on any corporation that is found to be in willful or negligent violation of any public statute, policy, or law by any level of government.

  • End corporate welfare such as tax havens, subsidies, and unmonitored government contracts for corporations run for profit.

  • Protect and strengthen the people's rights and control over their Commons, such as forests, water, air, radio frequencies, data formats, internet protocol, and electronic distribution, and to defend these public resources from corporate commodification.