It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Why Corporations Have More Rights Than You Do

page: 1

log in


posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 06:47 PM
Just stumbled on this article - didn't know about Powell, who he is or why he pushed corporate rights. Great little history.

In 1971, Lewis Powell, a mild-mannered, courtly, and shrewd corporate lawyer in Richmond, Virginia, soon to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court, wrote a memorandum to his client, the United States Chamber of Commerce. ….

….(titled)…. “Attack on American Free Enterprise System.” He explained, “No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack.” In response, corporations must organize and fund a drive to achieve political power through “united action.” Powell emphasized the need for a sustained, multiyear corporate campaign to use an “activist-minded Supreme Court” to shape “social, economic and political change” to the advantage of corporations.

Powell continued:

But independent and uncoordinated activity by individual corporations, as important as this is, will not be sufficient. Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.

…..“Under our constitutional system,” Powell told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.”

Powell’s call for a corporate rights campaign should not be misunderstood as a “conservative” or “moderate” reaction to the excesses of “liberals” or “big government.” Rather, to understand the perspective of Powell and his allies is to understand the difference between a conservative and a corporatist.

Powell and the Tobacco Corporations Show the Way
By the time of his 1971 memorandum, Lewis Powell was a director of more than a dozen international corporations, including Philip Morris Inc., a global manufacturer and seller of cigarettes. ……..

posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 06:54 PM
Cause they have more money than we do.
Plain and simple.

posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 06:56 PM
Thanks for that. Some people understand the "How's" of this screwed up world without ever wondering the "Why's" of how it came to be. Things have been going downhill for a very long time. I really don't know how some of these larger figures in the worlds demise can live with themselves. I guess millions of dollars and being treated like royalty for their crimes can clear ones conscience easily enough.

Corporations can live forever. People die. Corporations are not people and any such structure should have to show how it is in the public's good. The only real purpose for such structures should be to build roads or bridges and such. If corporations want the same rights as people, they should be forced to expire after a certain amount of random years, just like real people.

edit on 8-12-2011 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 07:06 PM
Corporations hold a bigger influence on production and capital so thus are seen as more important by bourgeois governments. Simple as really, the more influence you have on the economic power of the state, the more power granted to you by the state as it relies on your power much more. This isn't including the corruption and such that goes with it.

posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 07:13 PM
Me thinks of the corporate golden rule, "those who have all the gold make the rules."
Then there is Frank Lutz, the linguistic witch craft master too!

Strength lies in organization

This too, much money and cronyism always helps with better organization and marketing.


ETA: Saw this and thought it relevant:

edit on 8-12-2011 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 07:24 PM
reply to post by soficrow

Thats right Soficrow, The Corpse own/influence a Lionshare of The United States Congress.
As much as I support American Business interests, I believe that the future of the Country
and ALL of its citizens should be taken into consideration first. Period.

The pressure should be applied to Global Trade imbalances and Tax/economic injustices
rather than the populus of American Citizens and their rightfully earned benefits.

I can honestly say that I know individuals and companies who's profits were exemplary during
the "Clinton Era" tax codes. It was acceptable and righteous for The American People at large.

It appears that the "Zero Sum Game" folks no longer even feel any duty or loyalty
to their Fellow Countrymen and CountryWomen and Country Children.

Firstline misspelling intended.

posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 07:40 PM
reply to post by sageofmonticello

Your objectiveness is interesting. "Corporations Live Forever." Or at least indefinately.
Quite a rebuttal. In fact, we had a foreign tenant (one of many) who worked for IBM.
At one point there were some fixes/improvements that needed to be done on the premises.
I had to do some research on purchases and possible solutions. This created a short but acceptable
delay towards a rapid resolve. At least in my mind. At any rate, this resulted in an arguementive
confrontation. No violence or anything. Personally I was astounded at this persons lack of patience and
understanding. The last words I remembering him utter were, "You may own this property for now,
but IBM lives forever. So there you have it, some people are more beholden to their companies of employ
than they are to their Nation. It is a Cult within a Culture. Particularly if that is the side of the bread that
their butter is on. Me, well I have no bread. I only have my country, and friends around the Earth.
Best to you and yours this Holiday Season!

posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 07:43 PM
Great find - hadn't heard of this guy either. Very interesting read and look at some of the maneuvering that has brought us to this point.

Apparently he was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He has since passed away.

For those who would like more background, here is his wiki bio.

posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 07:52 PM
reply to post by sageofmonticello

A corporation can die, simply cut off the demand for their products. It's easier said than done, but not impossible. I mean at least there are ways of getting some of equal or maybe better products from smaller businesses, just do your research.

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 08:46 AM
reply to post by ldyserenity


I said corporations can live forever, not corporations don't ever die. What would you have me do research on? I fully support small business and support anyone who wants to challenge some evil multi-national inc. Maybe you should take another look at my post, I think you missed my message.
edit on 9-12-2011 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 08:59 AM
Two hundred years of judicial precedent has solidified the claim that a corporation is a person. So strongly is this assertion protected that in the very first sentence of Title 1, Chapter 1, Section 1 of the United States Code, it is stated, “…the words "person" and "whoever" include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals…”. This false analogy is dangerous and must be curtailed. A corporation is not a person because unlike people they possess only a singular motivation, they cannot be held accountable for their actions to the measure a person may and the concept is antithetical to the idea of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The conceit that a corporation exists for the singular purpose of maximizing profit has been codified in 1919 by the majority opinion of the Michigan Supreme Court case in Dodge v Ford Motor Company, in which the opinion states;

A business corporation is organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders. The powers of the directors are to be employed for that end. The discretion of directors is to be exercised in the choice of means to attain that end, and does not extend to a change in the end itself, to the reduction of profits, or to the nondistribution of profits among shareholders in order to devote them to other purposes.

Humans in contrast are motivated not by a singular end but rather by a host of conflicting desires. The philosopher David Hume eloquently encapsulated the human condition when he wrote, “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them”. Corporations are not slaves to passions. Quite the opposite is true because they possess a Terminator-esque focus on the almighty profit.

When we are children an important developmental milestone is when we become aware that our actions have consequences. If I hit my little sister, I will be punished. This is an important lesson as it teaches us that rules for behavior exist within the universe and that we must conform to said rules or suffer the consequences. Individuals that lack the ability to learn this truth are considered deficient, either as a sociopath or simply mad. Those consequences in the form of punishment can be varied and tailored to the act of disobedience. One might be sent to their room without supper, or excommunicated from a community, or forced to endure heavy labor, or sentenced to life in prison, or executed. The multitude of various punishments is only limited to the collective imagination of the entire human race. But how exactly does one punish a person when that a person doesn’t exist except as a legal construct? Fines might be levied or the corporation might be dissolved, but it is without question that a corporation cannot be held to account for its actions to the degree that a human being can.

Ignoring the fact that a corporation cannot “learn” anything, the absence of wide ranging consequences to actions that are deemed socially wrong prevents a corporation from learning one of the most central concepts that make a person a person. Even if a corporation was magically given an avatar of flesh and bone, but still possessed the societal traits of the corporation, it would be classified not as a person but rather as some freakish automaton.

Regardless of the wisdom of considering a corporation as a person, the fact remains that currently a corporation is legally considered a person and granted all of the rights and privileges that entails. This is not a trivial matter, as the very foundation of our republic is based upon the concept that the government is an instrument, “of the people, by the people and for the people,” to protect the rights of individuals to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These qualities are alien to a legal construct and it is antithetical to the very idea espoused in the Declaration of Independence by placing it under the same legal protection as human beings. Thomas Jefferson was so concerned about the rise of an aristocracy of corporations that he wrote in a letter dated 1816, “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country”.

A corporation is not a person and it is important that we recognize this fact. The longer we participate in this charade the greater damage we inflict upon the classically liberal beliefs such a freedom, democracy and the rights of the individual over the tyranny of the majority. The corporatocracies imagined by William Gibson have the potential to leap from the pages of fiction into reality.

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:08 AM
reply to post by sageofmonticello

If they can live forever that implies they can't die.
I was just saying they can die, and charters were supposed to ensure that they didn't live forever. They just don't really enforce charter limits anymore.
I wasn't attacking you, I was just saying that you seemed to imply that they couldn't die. In fact, in the beginning it was insured that they didn't last forever. As far as I know they don't follow charter rules anymore, though there is no specific reasoning or precedent to nullify the charter restrictions, they are just simply ignored now.

ETA: I see where it became corporate personhood...ohhhh ouch...
Corporate Charter
edit on 9-12-2011 by ldyserenity because: add

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:17 AM
reply to post by ldyserenity

Not quite true. In the past, one of my many hats was creating the legal frameworks for corporations (and their various other forms, LLC, LP, Co, PLLC, etc) and while all 50 states have requirements that the entity must remain "in good standing" there are loopholes to preserve the "existence" of a corporation even if the Board fails to meet the requirements of the statutes.

The concept of chartered corporations having a finite period of time for their existence has been completely wiped from the books, not simply unenforced. If memory serves me correctly, the last state to have a time limit on the lifespan of a corporation was New Hampshire and I believe it was abolished pre-Civil War.

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:20 AM
reply to post by LordOfArcadia

Yeah reading the wiki article I saw that. It stopped with corporate personhood basically.
Duly noted about the abolishment too. I think it should be reinstated, the charter regulations, IMO.

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:23 AM
reply to post by ldyserenity

You can read my comment above on why I think the entire idea of corporate personhood should be abolished. It is dangerous and my personal opinion is that it is one of, if not the, gravest threat to individual liberty.

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:27 AM
F After reading up on this guy they should have added charges to Nixon impeachment as well for appointing him the the Supreme Court.

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:32 AM
Corporations have more rights, as long as we the people allowed to happen, our government was bought out by corporate America a long time ago, they have the power because their whores in congress give them that power along with the bought president, remember they get to make laws, that we the citizens has to abide by but the elites in charge do not.

Again all this is happening because we the people allow it to happen.

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:52 AM
reply to post by LordOfArcadia
That might be true to a point ......

However, the founding fathers limited corporations in their scope; how long they ca exist and the most important of all


this is where the crap hits the rotatary ossicilator when it come to speaking about corporations and the what the founders of our country intended for corporations ......

I believe the founding fathers had to deal with corporations and companies that were "scantioned" by the British government and because of the powerful relationship between for example, "the East India Trading company and the royal crown" which acted as an arm of the government ....

just like the banksters and other corporations which have been intertwined with the US government today....

yes, those with the money to buy governments and people need to limited in scope and age.......

posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 12:40 PM
reply to post by speculativeoptimist

Bernie Sanders is awesome! He was very much against TARP and stands for the average American. He and Ron Paul are the only two in Congress who are worth a damn!

posted on Dec, 14 2011 @ 02:45 PM
reply to post by ldyserenity

I wasn't implying any other meaning with my choice of words. Nor did I feel for even a second attacked by you. I simply asked you to re-read my post and understand that which I wrote. This is simply a comprehension problem on your end as it seems clear to me from your responses that you have not comprehended the meaning of my original post as I have intended it to be read.

When I said corporations can live forever I was simply stating the fact that corporations have no predetermined life span, they can exist for days or hundreds of years. The key word in that sentence being "can" can only implies a possibility not a certainty. If I wished to imply that corporations "can't die" as you have taken it for some reason, i would of used the words "can't die" not "can live" do you understand the difference?

Perhaps instead of looking for implied meanings you should focus on intended meanings. Anyhow this is about double the amount of time I can allow myself to explain a self-evident statement so hopefully my meaning has now been grasped though I admit I will not be holding my breath.

Sorry if I seem a little harsh it is just very hard for me to believe that someone would read the words "can live forever" and think that means "can't ever die". so much to discuss and this is what I get.... an argument about if certain words imply certain other meaning than the obvious meaning of a word. c'mon... My statement was obvious.

edit on 14-12-2011 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)

new topics

top topics


log in