I still don’t know what this is.
Were you asking about corporatism generally? This is an obviously leftist news source, so take this article on the topic as you will.
In my opinion, what people mean when they speak of corporatism today is probably a bit different than the corporatism envisioned by the Catholic intelligentsia in Europe in the late 1800’s. That resembles, in my basic estimation, unionism, collective bargaining, basically organizations collectively formed around industry. However, today, when people refer to corporatism, my impression is that they are referring to the development of global corporate powers that have no allegiance, morality, public mission, and have monopolized power over certain industries to an extent that it is able to influence and control the market AND the social/political spheres. These corporate monopolies were not formed through collective bargaining, but through adhesion, concentrations of wealth, ownership of data, intelligence, intellectual property, real property, etc. Thus, today we exist under what might be more appropriately deemed corporate-facism than say a collectively agreed upon social-corporatism.
The reason people are growing increasingly alarmed by this is the obvious imbalance of power, that the profit-drive of corporations often does not mesh well with a sustainable society, and the actions of corporations are often forced upon people as contracts of adhesion. Under this sort of corporate-fascism, humans are not viewed as citizens to which corporations owe any loyalty (unless they are shareholders). Instead, you have an incredibly powerful entity whose sole purpose is to make more money for a select few and People are viewed as labor or consumer commodity. That means that HUMANS, like iron or oil, or animals, or forests, are labeled by arbitrary worth (wages), bought, sold, exploited and capitalized upon…and no one is there to regulate these massive corporations.
These corporate monopolies don’t just influence the market, but also influence government, courts and police to make their actions legal, their inaction ignored, their crimes unaccounted for, their mistakes bailed out (i.e. money was taken from the proletariat to give to banks, thus the commentary many have about reverse Robin Hood socialism for the rich).
I don’t know if that answered your question, let me know if not.
I had considered this but everything stacks against it. Disclaimer: I am not a class action, corporate law expert, but the following is my informed (for what it is worth, I have a J.D.) opinion:
Most corporations will use any means available to limit liability (they can afford an entire floor dedicated to in-house legal). Furthermore, the laws where incorporated are usually what apply in state suits (with various exceptions). Most corporations incorporate in Delaware, where they have carved out for themselves a pro-business shelter. More than half a million business entities have their legal home in Delaware including more than 50% of all U.S. publicly-traded companies and 60% of the Fortune 500. It is a small state, with a small populace and much of its money comes from those very corporations, so it maintains very business-friendly legislation.
Of course, state class action cases are few and far between because the Class Action Fairness Act prevents certification of many classes and makes it easy for corporations to bring the suit to Federal Court, where corporations are heavily favored. In the 1990s, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a number of decisions which strengthened the “federal policy favoring arbitration”. In response, lawyers have added provisions to consumer contracts of adhesion called “collective action waivers”. In 1999 the National Arbitration Forum began advocating that such contracts should be drafted so as to force consumers to waive the right to a class action completely, and such provisions have become very popular among businesses. In the 2011 court case AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 preempts state laws that prohibit contracts from disallowing class action lawsuits, which will make it more difficult for consumers to file class action lawsuits.
First and foremost, in order to bring any legal claim, you have to have standing. So for securities claims, you have to be part of the class of shareholders. As a consumer, you have to prove causal injury. To have standing as a class, you have to have commonality of issue (similar injury, similar redress sought). It is hard to find an attorney willing to take on the risk and time associated with bringing a class action suit of this caliber.
If you can prove standing, you next have to link a corporation’s involvement/actions to an actionable offense under the law. Good luck. The most affective strike would be against the head/heart, i.e. the holding companies. However, it is rarely the holding company with dirty hands. Corporate limited liability allows stockholders to create a protective veil, limiting personal liability. Furthermore, many corporations create subsidiaries that are legally separate, though controlled by, the holding company. That means that a corporation can, in practice, create “shell” subsidiaries to do their dirty work and then limit liability to those subsidiaries. Technically, activities like this should pierce the corporate veil, but corporations get away with this all the time. Stockholders are insolated from claims, subsidiaries are often created and sacrificed, and then on with business as usual. Unless we can prove a direct link to insidious actions from on high (i.e. a memo from the CEO or CFO or some other evidence linking the parent to some actionable offense or exposing the subsidiary as a shell (undercapitalized)) this is a difficult task to accomplish, especially when you are up against a powerful entity with money, lawyers and politicians lining their pockets.
Congress and conservative judges have made it really hard for consumers to bring class action suits against corporations. Even if, as an individual, you have standing to sue, getting a class certification is tough.
There are citizen suits permitted under many environmental laws. However, even then, we have to prove we have suffered an “injury in fact” - a violation of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) “actual or imminent, not ‘conjectural’ or ‘hypothetical.’” We also have the burden to prove there is a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of - the injury has to be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party. Lastly, we must show that it’s likely, as opposed to merely “speculative,” that the injury will be “redressed by a favorable decision.” This isn’t money into the hands of people, but usually the discontinuance of some harmful activity (i.e. an injunction rather than an award of damages). Furthermore, their lobbying efforts have chipped away at the laws that protect us from many of these egregious actions. Regulations have been lifted or now contain loopholes.
This is why people want Citizens United overturned. We need new legislation that will limit monopoly power, increase corporate liability/responsibility to allow people to continue to sue corporations for murder, human rights violations, fraud, etc., but to remove personhood status in terms of campaign donations, etc. Because corporations enjoy this status, they can buy politicians, thus enabling them to further influence beneficial legislation and appointments.
The system allows for this corruption. THAT is the problem. Until we make that illegal, corporations can continue to buy out our government. How do we make that illegal? Petition our government. Yes, that’s right, the same government that has been bought by corporations. The same government that ignores petitions, letters, and voter promises. So we petition in public spaces using our voices and our bodies. As we have already witnessed, we are silenced, beaten, and arrested.
So then…what next?
1. We must amend the Constitution - get Citizens United overturned. End corporate lobbying power. Get money out of congress. This is no small task. (http://www.usconstitution.net/constam.html#process) This has ALWAYS been done through Congress (the very group we are trying to limit money flow to…do you think they will be eager to promote this move)? Thus, we must either support Bernie Sanders’s amendment or the never before used option of convention of states.
2. Petition so long and so visibly on congress’ front lawn that the People’s will cannot continue to be ignored without also dropping the facade of serving the People. Congress will either bow to the People’s will, or they will cause a revolution.
3. Short of a revolution, on a long term basis, we must get incumbents out of house and senate. We must clean house. All House Reps are up for re-election every two years and 1/3 of senate every two years. If we cannot impeach, we must vote out. We need to pick outside candidates who do not have a history of getting into bed with moneybags.
4. Make it possible to have a legit multi-party race. Given the developing format of information dissemination, runners should not need to spend millions on campaigns. We should plan for televised debates, where the money goes equally to all nominees and each have the same amount of time to win us over. . We already do this with presidents. Now we just need more direct control over who gets nominated. It shouldn’t be whoever can afford the most ads.
New York City Council Passes Resolution Opposing Corporate Personhood
The New York City Council symbolically passed a resolution Wednesday opposing “corporate personhood.” Resolution 1172 formally expressed disapproval of the landmark US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which declared that corporations have the same first amendment rights as people.
The bill, which urges Congress to take action against corporate personhood, was sponsored by councilmembers Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Steve Levin, all members of the Progressive Caucus. After the vote, the Caucus released a statement, which read in part:
“As our support of this resolution demonstrates, restoring confidence in government and strengthening democratic participation is a core principle of the Progressive Caucus. We believe that corporations should not share the same rights as people, that unlimited and unreported corporate donations meant to sway the electoral process should not be considered freedom of speech, and that the government should regulate the raising and spending of money by corporations intended to influence elections. We cannot allow corporate money to manipulate our democracy.”
Occupy Wall Street’s New York General Assembly voted to support the resolution. Corporate personhood has been a target of Occupy since the movement began in September.
The non-binding resolution passed along party lines with 41 yes-votes from Democrats, five no-votes from all five Council Republicans and one abstention from Democrat Peter Vallone.
Speaking at the hearing, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) spoke against the resolution, but was nearly drowned out by the boos and hisses of Occupy Wall Street protesters in attendance, The Gotham Gazette reports. “Corporations are people,” he said. “All their money goes back to the people.”
The New York City Council joins a growing list of local governments across the US who have passed similar resolutions, including Los Angeles, Albany, Boulder and Oakland.
Source: The Huffington Post