Vermont Proposes Resolution To Ban ‘Corporate Personhood’

0Talk about a victory for common sense, in the face of one of the most harmful and breathtakingly idiotic judicial precedents in U.S. history. AlterNet reports:

A year ago today, the Supreme Court issued its bizarre Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections as a form of “free speech” for the corporate “person.” Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the dissent, had the task of recalling the majority to planet earth and basic common sense.

“Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires,” wrote Stevens. “Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

Fortunately, movements are afoot to reverse a century of accumulated powers and protections granted to corporations by wacky judicial decisions.

In Vermont, state senator Virginia Lyons on Friday presented an anti-corporate personhood resolution for passage in the Vermont legislature. The resolution, the first of its kind, proposes “an amendment to the United States Constitution … which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States.” Sources in the state house say it has a good chance of passing.

The language in the Lyons resolution is unabashed. “The profits and institutional survival of large corporations are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings,” it states, noting that corporations “have used their so-called rights to successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws.”

Thus the unfolding of the obvious: “democratically elected governments” are rendered “ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate harm to the environment, health, workers, independent business, and local and regional economies.”

60 Comments on "Vermont Proposes Resolution To Ban ‘Corporate Personhood’"

  1. F&CK YEAH! I may have to move there just on principle!

  2. F&CK YEAH! I may have to move there just on principle!

  3. Bless you, Vermont.

  4. Bless you, Vermont.

  5. Anonymous | Jan 25, 2011 at 11:06 am |

    Awesome! Glad to see that SOMEONES Doing something!

  6. Robobagons | Jan 25, 2011 at 7:06 am |

    Awesome! Glad to see that SOMEONES Doing something!

  7. Marklar_Prime | Jan 25, 2011 at 8:32 am |

    About time.

  8. This is the most important piece of legislation currently under consideration in the United States. The very survival of our election process hangs in the balance.

  9. This is the most important piece of legislation currently under consideration in the United States. The very survival of our election process hangs in the balance.

    • robertpinkerton | Jan 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm |

      One can hope this will start a trend. If this trend gains first traction then victory, it will reverse one of this country’s most serious wrong turnings in life.

  10. Corporations are collectives, not individuals.

  11. Corporations are collectives, not individuals.

    • Heathen Ledger | Jan 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

      A corporation being a collective implies participation in decisions by more than a fixed board of a who’s who of trustees and donors, or those with ample funds to buy their way onto the board through stock holdings. Now a cooperative is a collective, but a corporation? Please…

      • Heathen Ledger | Jan 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

        To continue this trend, a corporation is neither a collective or an individual. That’s a false dichotomy and has no bearing. A corporation is an institution whose very structure is devoid of any human voice or aspect. It is the very abstract will of a dehumanizing project whose sole value is market value.

        • To continue my intrusion respectfully, if corporations were run by cyborgs, I would agree with you. However, there is a difference between a machine with parts and a corporation with people. It’s certain that a person, not excluding a board member, is meant to serve a purpose. Contrary to your dehumanizing project analysis, a human can make a variety of decisions without being programmed. These decisions can be galvanized by emotion, religion, art, and a variety of other unintended inception points.

          For example, a wheel on a machine will never get competitive with a belt. It will never try to be more productive than intended. It’s also unlikely for it to fall in love with the microprocessor. I think you see my point. 🙂

          • Heathen Ledger | Jan 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm |

            My point is that the effects of corporations are not necessary directed by the cumulative effect of the constituent workers or shareholders. Some nefarious CEO isn’t behind the malevolent intent of each and every corporation. I don’t deny the autonomy of the individual, my point is that the corporation itself is a project of dehumanization. This is not to say its totalizing its abasement of the self, but that as long as it exists, there can be no true unfettered autonomy. Essentially what I’m say is that a corporation is not some neutral entity at the behest of those in ‘power.’ It’s sole intent is production and ethics is incompatible here.

          • I see what you mean. Do you find autonomy, whatever the scale, to be an inefficient byproduct of the corporate model? Or a strength?

      • I disagree. My use of the word is one of the correct dictionary definitions.

      • Heathen,

        You’re sticking to a very “buy the book” version of a corporation. Have you considered nepotism, frat boy relationships, and various subjective aims, the nature of which are not always to increase market share?

        I once worked for a company that hired previous friends exclusively (almost), regardless of credentials. Additionally, the company was family run and nepotism was rampant. It may be in the board members best financial interest to keep the highest qualified workers around, but their are other incentives at work.

        Variations of corporations abound, and a “collective” hybrid definitely exists in many. I will concede that the untainted idea of a corporation, in its strictest sense, does not require collectivism.

  12. Anonymous | Jan 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    Very good

  13. Anonymous | Jan 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    Very good

  14. Anonymous | Jan 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    Very good

  15. gondolfin | Jan 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    Very good

  16. Way to go, Ginny.

  17. Way to go, Ginny.

  18. and the skiing is nice too!

  19. Heathen Ledger | Jan 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    A corporation being a collective implies participation in decisions by more than a fixed board of a who’s who of trustees and donors, or those with ample funds to buy their way onto the board through stock holdings. Now a cooperative is a collective, but a corporation? Please…

  20. Heathen Ledger | Jan 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    To continue this trend, a corporation is neither a collective or an individual. That’s a false dichotomy and has no bearing. A corporation is an institution whose very structure is devoid of any human voice or aspect. It is the very abstract will of a dehumanizing project whose sole value is market value.

  21. Tuna Ghost | Jan 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm |

    Well, I guess now I have to stop saying everyone in congress is a soulless abomination. Nice work, Stevens and Lyons.

  22. Tuna Ghost | Jan 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    Well, I guess now I have to stop saying everyone in congress is a soulless abomination. Nice work, Stevens and Lyons.

  23. grooveboss | Jan 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm |

    vermont rules . I am in mass and ill move if it passes. corporations are pyramids schemes that some how got control of a commodity. not a single one is critical to human survival. just teams in a league

  24. grooveboss | Jan 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

    vermont rules . I am in mass and ill move if it passes. corporations are pyramids schemes that some how got control of a commodity. not a single one is critical to human survival. just teams in a league

  25. I disagree. My use of the word is one of the correct dictionary definitions.

  26. Not all corporations are pyramid schemes. Many are, unfortunately.

  27. Notice the infamous decesion of chief justice Taney in 1857 on Dred Scott. Considered the worst judical decesion in history. It propose that the soveringty of the state was dominate to the union. That the state was to have power over the people.Which was and is contrary to the constitution of we the pepole. Soveringty is mandated to the people through their union.Majority to rule as a union. Should a minority secede from majority rule it would place them in default to their democracy and constitution. They will need to be held accountable or the nation,democracy and its constitution will cease to exist.Thus Civil War..
    Now with Right Wing Roberts and Scilia of promoting of corporations to contribute unlimted funds to our politics is nothing less than Fascism. Corporations from any sector of the world can now purchase our politics without the soveringty of the peoples rights, as ordained through the constitution, to vote on such measures as exchanging of our constitutional democracy for fascism. Now it is the soveringty of our judical system above the union of our democracy? I find that Roberts and Scalia have oversteped their authority and should be held responsible. Investigation into any possible corruptions from corporations as well as Koch and associates. Investigation to search all histories as well as to any future benefical measures to their families and associates. Hold accountable any and all that may have contributed to or influnce such an illegal decesion. Right wing more intrested in depriving us of our SS. and Medicare to the benefit of corporates.

  28. Notice the infamous decesion of chief justice Taney in 1857 on Dred Scott. Considered the worst judical decesion in history. It propose that the soveringty of the state was dominate to the union. That the state was to have power over the people.Which was and is contrary to the constitution of we the pepole. Soveringty is mandated to the people through their union.Majority to rule as a union. Should a minority secede from majority rule it would place them in default to their democracy and constitution. They will need to be held accountable or the nation,democracy and its constitution will cease to exist.Thus Civil War..
    Now with Right Wing Roberts and Scilia of promoting of corporations to contribute unlimted funds to our politics is nothing less than Fascism. Corporations from any sector of the world can now purchase our politics without the soveringty of the peoples rights, as ordained through the constitution, to vote on such measures as exchanging of our constitutional democracy for fascism. Now it is the soveringty of our judical system above the union of our democracy? I find that Roberts and Scalia have oversteped their authority and should be held responsible. Investigation into any possible corruptions from corporations as well as Koch and associates. Investigation to search all histories as well as to any future benefical measures to their families and associates. Hold accountable any and all that may have contributed to or influnce such an illegal decesion. Right wing more intrested in depriving us of our SS. and Medicare to the benefit of corporates.

  29. Heathen,

    You’re sticking to a very “buy the book” version of a corporation. Have you considered nepotism, frat boy relationships, and various subjective aims, the nature of which are not always to increase market share?

    I once worked for a company that hired previous friends exclusively (almost), regardless of credentials. Additionally, the company was family run and nepotism was rampant. It may be in the board members best financial interest to keep the highest qualified workers around, but their are other incentives at work.

    Variations of corporations abound, and a “collective” hybrid definitely exists in many. I will concede that the untainted idea of a corporation, in its strictest sense, does not require collectivism.

  30. To continue my intrusion respectfully, if corporations were run by cyborgs, I would agree with you. However, there is a difference between a machine with parts and a corporation with people. It’s certain that a person, not excluding a board member, is meant to serve a purpose. Contrary to your dehumanizing project analysis, a human can make a variety of decisions without being programmed. These decisions can be galvanized by emotion, religion, art, and a variety of other unintended inception points.

    For example, a wheel on a machine will never get competitive with a belt. It will never try to be more productive than intended. It’s also unlikely for it to fall in love with the microprocessor. I think you see my point. 🙂

  31. Heathen Ledger | Jan 26, 2011 at 1:16 am |

    My point is that the effects of corporations are not necessary directed by the cumulative effect of the constituent workers or shareholders. Some nefarious CEO isn’t behind the malevolent intent of each and every corporation. I don’t deny the autonomy of the individual, my point is that the corporation itself is a project of dehumanization. This is not to say its totalizing its abasement of the self, but that as long as it exists, there can be no true unfettered autonomy. Essentially what I’m say is that a corporation is not some neutral entity at the behest of those in ‘power.’ It’s sole intent is production and ethics is incompatible here.

  32. Since corporations are not people, then there shouldn’t be a corporate tax. You can’t have it both ways.

  33. Since corporations are not people, then there shouldn’t be a corporate tax. You can’t have it both ways.

    • You got that backwards. Individual wages and salaries shouldn’t be taxed.

      • Of course they should be. You first attempt raise revenue with tarrifs and excise taxes. Next with fees. Next with tax on large concerns. However, if you can’t balance the budget, or a war needs to be paid for, then all citizens must contribute. Of course it need to be fair and equitable, but you cannot have a society without contributions. We have had taxes on individuals since the Revolutionary days. The Founders were never against taxes, there were against taxes without the people having a say in how they are collected and used.

    • E.B. Wolf | Jan 26, 2011 at 12:34 am |

      It seems corporations can, and do.

    • Yes you can, and you should. Corporations use the common infrastructure (highways, airports, etc.) and have access to the legal system and other government services (funded by the taxpayer) far more than you and me do. Why exactly should they be exempt from paying their fair share? I’m sorry but your statement doesn’t make any logical sense.

      • Reverend Draco | Mar 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |

        Not only that, but our Entire LEGAL “Income Tax” tax system is predicated precisely on Corporate Taxes. . . Income being defined as Profit, only Corporations are required by law to pay income tax, based on their “Capital Gains,” or “Profit,” also known as “Income.” When your paycheck is dinged for “Income Taxes,” what is really happening is the Felony Crime of Grand Theft, bundled with an accepted false labeling of the money you make in direct trade for your time and expertise as Profit – when it is nothing of the sort.

    • You have to be kidding right? Taxes are not defined as levies against people, they are defined as levies against property, commerce and wealth. You are a somewhat confused individual

  34. You got that backwards. Individual wages and salaries shouldn’t be taxed.

  35. E.B. Wolf | Jan 26, 2011 at 4:34 am |

    It seems corporations can, and do.

  36. I see what you mean. Do you find autonomy, whatever the scale, to be an inefficient byproduct of the corporate model? Or a strength?

  37. Anonymous | Jan 26, 2011 at 9:48 pm |

    One can hope this will start a trend. If this trend gains first traction then victory, it will reverse one of this country’s most serious wrong turnings in life.

  38. The importance of dismantling the absurdity that is corporate personhood cannot be underestimated. This is a critical issue. Without reversing the immense power corporations have acquired at the expense of the people, we have no hope of surviving as free individuals.

  39. The importance of dismantling the absurdity that is corporate personhood cannot be underestimated. This is a critical issue. Without reversing the immense power corporations have acquired at the expense of the people, we have no hope of surviving as free individuals.

  40. Yes you can, and you should. Corporations use the common infrastructure (highways, airports, etc.) and have access to the legal system and other government services (funded by the taxpayer) far more than you and me do. Why exactly should they be exempt from paying their fair share? I’m sorry but your statement doesn’t make any logical sense.

  41. Anonymous | Mar 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm |

    Not only that, but our Entire LEGAL “Income Tax” tax system is predicated precisely on Corporate Taxes. . . Income being defined as Profit, only Corporations are required by law to pay income tax, based on their “Capital Gains,” or “Profit,” also known as “Income.” When your paycheck is dinged for “Income Taxes,” what is really happening is the Felony Crime of Grand Theft, bundled with an accepted false labeling of the money you make in direct trade for your time and expertise as Profit – when it is nothing of the sort.

  42. You have to be kidding right? Taxes are not defined as levies against people, they are defined as levies against property, commerce and wealth. You are a somewhat confused individual

  43. Of course they should be. You first attempt raise revenue with tarrifs and excise taxes. Next with fees. Next with tax on large concerns. However, if you can’t balance the budget, or a war needs to be paid for, then all citizens must contribute. Of course it need to be fair and equitable, but you cannot have a society without contributions. We have had taxes on individuals since the Revolutionary days. The Founders were never against taxes, there were against taxes without the people having a say in how they are collected and used.

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