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Unequal Protection The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights

Posted November 10, 2002,


New research uncovers evidence that "corporate personhood" doctrine is a mistake Democracy is rule of government “by the consent of the governed” – those human persons who are citizens and voters.  As corporations take over functions of government and seize control of politicians, democracy is eroded.  Because of a mistaken interpretation of a Supreme Court reporter's notes in an 1886 railroad tax case, corporations are now legally considered "persons," equal to humans and entitled to many of the same protections once guaranteed only to humans by the Bill of Rights - a clear contradiction of the intent of the Founders of the United States. The result of this corporate personhood has been:


Before 1886: Before the Corporate Theft of Human Rights

After 1886: After the Corporate Theft of Human Rights   

Rights and Privileges Only humans were “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” and those human rights included the right to free speech, the right to privacy, the right to silence in the face of accusation, and the right to live free of discrimination or slavery.  While to this day unions, churches, governments, and small unincorporated businesses do not have “human rights” (but only privileges humans give them), corporations alone have moved into the category with humans as claiming rights instead of just privileges.
Politics It was a felony for corporations to give money to politicians, political parties, or try to influence elections: “They can’t vote, so what are they doing involved in politics?!” Corporations claimed the human right of free speech, expanded that to mean the unlimited right to put corporate money into politics, and have thus taken control of our major political parties and politicians 
Business States and local communities had laws to protect and nurture entrepreneurs and local businesses, and to keep out companies that had been convicted of crimes.   Multi-state corporations claimed such laws were “discrimination” under the 14th Amendment (passed to free the slaves) and got such laws struck down; local communities can no longer stop a Wal-Mart. 


Government, elected by and for “We, The People,” made decisions about how armies would be equipped and, based on the will of the general populace, if and when we would go to war.  Prior to WWII there were no permanent military manufacturing companies of significant size. Corporations grew to enormous size as a result of WWII and a permanent arms industry came into being, what Dwight Eisenhower called “the military/industrial complex.”  It now lobbies government to buy its products and use them in wars around the world.


Corporations had to submit to the scrutiny of the representatives of “We, The People,” our elected government. Corporations have claimed 4th Amendment human right to privacy and used it to keep out OSHA, EPA, and to hide crimes.


Corporations were chartered for a single purpose, had to also serve the public good, and had fixed/limited life spans. Corporations lobbied states to change corporate charter laws to eliminate “public good” provisions from charters, to allow multiple purposes, 


Just as human persons couldn’t own other persons, corporations couldn’t own the stock of other corporations (mergers and acquisitions were banned). Corporations claim the human right to economic activity free of regulatory restraint, and the now-banned-for-humans right to own others of their own kind.

“If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here's the story. Plus, Hartmann tell us what we need to do to regain our people's sovereignty.”
      -- Jim Hightower, America's #1 Populist


Thom Hartmann is the author of "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," and "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight  This chart is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but permission is granted for reprint in print or web media so long as this credit is attached.

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