IV. C. Citizen Control over Corporations
|Green Party Committees:
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
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
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
- 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