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Nike, Inc. vs. Kasky: The Future of Corporate Accountability

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posted on Mar, 12 2009 @ 01:47 AM
On a site like ATS, I was quite surprised to find this court case had not already come up before. Forgive me if this sub-topic is not in the correct place; this seemed the most appropriate topic among those available.

A friend referred me to an article not too long ago. For those who don't want to read, I'll summarize the main points below.

Link to original article.

There’s a historic date that our country ought to mark every year, which has had as great an impact on the world as the July 4th birth of American democracy itself. The date is May 10, 1886—the day corporate supremacy was born. It came about through a court case that breathed life into these artificial, anti-democratic entities—a move that effectively gave corporations greater power than We the People.

In an 1864 letter to his friend Col. William Elkins, President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety than ever before, even in the midst of war.”

Not only are corporations far bigger, richer, and more powerful than individuals, but they also can live forever, don’t need clean air and water to live, can’t be put in jail, have no moral restraints of their own, and have no other goal but to keep profits flowing to their controlling shareholders. The one thing—the only thing—that holds them in check is that the corporation itself is nothing but a thing created by We the People. It has no more rights than a cement block—it only exists by the will of the public, which grants it a charter and whatever privileges we chose to bestow (or deny). WE ARE THE SOVEREIGN.

The article goes to great lengths to describe, in detail, the process by which today's corporations' claim they have specific rights under the United States Constitution. A court case during which the personhood of corporations came into question but was left unaddressed by the judge was spun to read differently in a clerk's summary of the case.

That’s it. A clerk’s personal opinion, carrying no weight of law and misinterpreting what the court said—this is the pillar on which rests today’s practically limitless assertions of corporate “rights.”

Definitely worth the read, particularly the follow-up which I found under Nike's entry on Wikipedia. A precedent has been set in California that, if followed by the other states, would mean a far more transparent, and less corrupt (less so than today, at any rate) corporate paradigm for the future.

(Edited to add forgotten Wikipedia link.)

[edit on 12-3-2009 by RadicalIgnoramus]


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