Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Race, Personhood and Corporate Power University of Akron Rethinking Race Series February 6, 2014 Greg Coleridge NE Ohio American Friends Service Committee.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Race, Personhood and Corporate Power University of Akron Rethinking Race Series February 6, 2014 Greg Coleridge NE Ohio American Friends Service Committee."— Presentation transcript:

1 Race, Personhood and Corporate Power University of Akron Rethinking Race Series February 6, 2014 Greg Coleridge NE Ohio American Friends Service Committee

2

3 Premises  We don’t have a real democracy/republic  We’ve never had a real democracy/republic  People of color, women and others have been oppressed in part to serve the interests of corporations and the elite. The gun has not only been the only tool to control the oppressed – the constitution, courts and laws have also been weapons  Corporations have exploited people of color and have used the constitution, courts and laws to acquire never-intended power and rights  Mass democratic social movements are the only vehicle for real change  Effective mass social movements must be genuinely diverse (including racial, gender and income)

4 Person What/who is a person?

5 Person  A human being regarded as an individual.  Every person possesses inalienable rights -- not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government.

6 Corporation What is it?

7 Corporation  From Latin: corpus = body, shun = create/build  Group of people who come together to petition government to become a separate legal entity apart from individuals  Take private voluntary money and direct to public use  Legal shield / limited personal liability / unitary actor

8 Democracy What is a democracy?

9 Democracy  Greek demos = people kratia = power or rule people power or people rule People are “Sovereign”  Republic: A form of government in which power is held by the people and representatives they elect, and affairs of state are a "public matter" (from Latin: res publica), rather than privately accommodated (such as through inheritance or divine mandate). In modern times the definition of a republic is also commonly limited to a government which excludes a monarch.

10 Constitution What is it?

11 What is a constitution?  The supreme law of a land.  The charter that creates the laws of a nation.  A set of bylaws.  Legal codification of a social contract.  Binding document reflecting best principles, values and aspirations.

12

13 Premises  We don’t have a real democracy/republic  We’ve never had a real democracy/republic  People of color, women and others have been oppressed in part to serve the interests of corporations and the elite. The gun has not only been the only tool to control the oppressed – the constitution, courts and laws have also been weapons  Corporations have exploited people of color and have used the constitution, courts and laws to acquire never-intended power and rights  Mass democratic social movements are the only vehicle for real change  Effective mass social movements must be genuinely diverse (including racial, gender and income)

14 The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetfulness. - Milan Kundera, Czech author

15  1787 – Article 1, Section 2 of US Constitution :  Full personhood limited to white, male, property-owners.  “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

16  1791 – Article 4 of the US Constitution :  Defined people as property.  “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.”

17  1830 – Indian Removal Act (legislative action)  Indigenous communities forced from their homelands. Over 10 years, 100,000 native children and adults march thousands of miles west into unknown arid territory. 15,000 do not survive the journey. However, over 25 million acres of land is made available for white settlers. Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

18  1854 – The People vs Hall (California Supreme Court)  Non-whites are barred from testifying in court. “No black, mulatto or indian shall be allowed to give evidence in favor of or against a white man.” Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

19  1857 – Dred Scott vs Sanford  Freed blacks are taxed but still have no rights of citizenship granted to whites Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

20  1862 – Emancipation Proclamation in DC (legislative action)  Slaves are freed in DC but former slave owners are reimbursed for slaves given up. White are paid over $1 million in reparations for “lost property.” Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

21  1862 – Homestead Act (legislative action)  50 million acres of formerly indigenous land in the west having been violently invaded by US soldiers in violation of treaties is distributed by the government at low cost to white settlers only and 100 million acres of indigenous land are given for free to railroad developers. Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

22  1882 – Chinese Exclusion Act (legislative action)  Bans immigration of both skilled and unskilled Chinese laborers Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

23  1924 – Johnson Reed Act (legislative action)  Creates an immigration quota system based on national origin favoring “Nordics” over the “inferior” races of Asia & Southern and Eastern Europe. Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

24  1934 – The National Housing Act (Roosevelt New Deal)  In the wake of the Great Depression the National Housing Act is implemented creating a federal housing authority to provde loans and federal subsidies for homeownership but the FHA mortgage underwriting standards discriminate against non whites and investment in non white communities through a process called red lining. Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

25  1942 – Japanese American Concentration Camps (Executive Order 9066)  Executive order forces 111,000 Japanese American into concentration camps. Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

26  1971 – Nixon’s War on Drugs (Presidential Initiative)  The War on Drugs declared by Richard Nixon violently targets and imprisons people of color disproportionally through today. Oppressive Constitution, Courts & Laws

27 Premises  We don’t have a real democracy/republic  We’ve never had a real democracy/republic  People of color, women and others have been oppressed in part to serve the interests of corporations and the elite. The gun has not only been the only tool to control the oppressed – the constitution, courts and laws have also been weapons  Corporations have exploited people of color and have used the constitution, courts and laws to acquire never-intended power and rights  Mass democratic social movements are the only vehicle for real change  Effective mass social movements must be genuinely diverse (including racial, gender and income)

28 Slave Trading Corporations  The Africa Trading Company, England (1553).  Dutch East India Company (1602)  Dutch West India Company (1621)  The Royal African Company, England (1660) All and others were chartered to “trade”/ sell human beings

29 US corporations which profited from slavery Slavery was at the foundation of American capitalism and was often synonymous with the sugar, tobacco, and/or cotton plantations that fueled the Southern economy and corporations, but Northern corporations also benefited.  Bank of America - Bank of America found that two of its predecessor banks (Boatman Savings Institution and Southern Bank of St. Louis) had ties to slavery and another predecessor (Bank of Metropolis) accepted slaves as collateral on loans.  Wachovia - Two institutions that became part of Wachovia (Georgia Railroad and Banking Company and the Bank of Charleston) owned or accepted slaves as collateral on mortgaged property or loans.

30  AIG - AIG purchased American General Financial which owns U.S. Life Insurance Company. AIG found documentation that U.S. Life insured the lives of slaves.  Tiffany and Co. - Tiffany and Co. was originally financed with profits from a Connecticut cotton mill. The mill operated from cotton picked by slaves..  Brooks Brothers - The suit retailer started their company in the 1800s by selling clothes for slaves to slave traders. US corporations which profited from slavery

31  New York Life Insurance Company is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States. They also took part in slavery by selling insurance policies on enslaved Africans.  JPMorgan Chase - JPMorgan Chase reported that between 1831 and 1865, two of its predecessor banks (Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana) accepted approximately 13,000 slaves as loan collateral and seized approximately 1,250 slaves when plantation owners defaulted on their loans.  Aetna - Aetna insured the lives of slaves during the 1850’s and reimbursed slave owners when their slaves died US corporations which profited from slavery

32  Norfolk Southern also has a history in the slave trade. The Mobile & Girard company, which is now part of Norfolk Southern, offered slaveholders $180 ($3,379 today) apiece for enslaved Africans they would rent to the railroad for one year, according to the records.  USA Today has found that their own parent company, E.W. Scripps and Gannett, has had links to the slave trade.  CSX used slave labor to construct portions of some U.S. rail lines under the political and legal system that was in place more than a century ago. US corporations which profited from slavery

33  FleetBoston evolved from an earlier financial institution, Providence Bank, founded by John Brown who was a slave trader and owned ships used to transport enslaved Africans. The bank financed Brown’s slave voyages and profited from them.  Brown Brothers Harriman is the oldest and largest private investment bank and securities firm in the United States, founded in 1818. USA Today found that the New York merchant bank of James and William Brown, currently known as Brown Bros. Harriman owned hundreds of enslaved Africans and financed the cotton economy by lending millions to southern planters, merchants and cotton brokers. US corporations which profited from slavery

34 Not just corporate power but corporate rights  Corporations not only amassed fortunes from the slave trade and from slaveholding  They translated their fortunes into power and never intended “rights” – claiming they possessed the rights of persons through the courts.

35

36 Corporations become “persons”

37 Corporate “rights”  1819 - Dartmouth College vs Woodward  Turned a corporate charter from a government granted charter to a contract. This ruling gave corporations standing within the constitution.

38  1886 – Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad  Though the court did not rule on corporate personhood, the decision was subsequently cited as precedent to hold a private corporation is entitled to the 14 th amendment rights of due process and equal protection as human beings. Corporate “rights”

39

40  If a corporation is a person, it is a person owned by other persons (the stockholders), and therefore a slave; and as slavery is forbidden by the 13th Amendment, Congress must dissolve all corporations.

41  1906 – Hale vs Henkel  The court granted corporations the fourth amendment search & seizure protection.  1919 – Dodge vs Ford Motor Company  The business corporation is organized & carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders. Stockholder primacy is established.The purpose of the corporation according to the court, is no longer to serve the public good as it had been, it is now to maximize profit for shareholders above all else. Corporate “rights”

42  1919 – Dodge vs Ford Motor Company  The business corporation is organized & carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders. Stockholder primacy is established.The purpose of the corporation according to the court, is no longer to serve the public good as it had been, it is now to maximize profit for shareholders above all else.  1922 – Pennsylvania Coal Co vs Mahon  Corporations get the fifth amendment takings clause meaning if you pass a regulation that impacts a corporation's ability to make a profit, that is deemed a taking and they can sue for the right to future profits lost. Corporate “rights”

43  1976 – Buckley vs Valeo  Spending money to influence elections is protected under the first amendment in effect saying that money is speech.  If money = speech, then those who have the most money have and most speech.  Plutocracy, not democracy. Corporate “rights”

44  2010 – Citizens United vs FEC  Expanded first amendment “free speech” rights of corporate entities and individuals to be engaged in political activities for or against candidates and elected officials.  Resulted in a flood of political money in 2010 and 2012 from corporations and super wealthy. Corporate “rights”

45 Corporate rights furthers oppression: ELECTIONS  Money from corporations and wealthy individuals means their voices are heard, not those (the 99%) without money. Their voices are not heard, needs not met and communities not helped.

46 Corporate rights furthers oppression: PRISONS  The 1.32 million of people of color locked up in prisons, many of them run for profit.  Between 1990 and 2009, the inmate population of private prisons grew by 1,664% (130,000)  2010 annual revenues for two largest companies — Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group — were nearly $3 billion.  Companies that house prisoners for profit have a perverse incentive to increase the prison population by passing more laws, policing more heavily, sentencing more harshly, denying parole and avoiding rehabilitation.

47

48  Predatory lending aimed at racially segregated minority neighborhoods led to mass foreclosures that fueled the U.S. housing crisis, Banking corporations targeted neigborhoods of color with risky “subprime” loans.  In some ways, subprime lending changed the traditional lending paradigm for neighborhoods of color from one of redlining (where lenders avoided entire neighborhoods) to reverse redlining (where lenders targeted these neighborhoods for more costly and risky home loans).  Study after study has shown that people of color are far more likely to get stuck with higher priced subprime home loans than whites.  Banks responsible for 2008 financial collapse were bailed out in 2008 but not neighborhoods of color. Corporate rights furthers oppression: HOUSING

49 Premises  We don’t have a real democracy/republic  We’ve never had a real democracy/republic  People of color, women and others have been oppressed in part to serve the interests of corporations and the elite. The gun has not only been the only tool to control the oppressed – the constitution, courts and laws have also been weapons  Corporations have exploited people of color and have used the constitution, courts and laws to acquire never-intended power and rights  Mass democratic social movements are the only vehicle for real change  Effective mass social movements must be genuinely diverse (including racial, gender and income)

50  US Revolution  Ended British Rule (military, economic and corporate)  Power to define corporations were with people who “Constitutionalized” crown corporations  Massachusetts Bay Company  Carolina Company  Virginia Company  Maryland Company Past social movements

51  Early legislative acts created corporations one at a time through petitioning the state legislature, or General Assembly, stipulating rigid conditions.  Corporate charters granted privileges, not rights.  A charter was a democratic tool.

52 Control by We the People over Corporations – Charters In Ohio, these often included:  Limited duration of charter or certificate of incorporation,  Limitation on amount of land ownership,  Limitation of amount of capitalization, or total investment of owners,  Limitations of charter for a specific purpose (to amend its charter, a new corporation had to be formed),  The state reserved the right to amend the charters or to revoke them,  Corporations could not engage in political activities.

53 Control by We the People over Corporations – Charter revocations  State legislatures and courts repealed entire corporate charters or portions of charters that violated terms of their incorporation.  In a 1900 ruling to dissolve a dairy company, the Ohio Supreme Court said,  The time has not yet arrived when the created is greater than the creator, and it still remains the duty of the courts to perform their office in the enforcement of the laws, no matter how ingenious the pretexts for their violation may be, nor the power of the violators in the commercial world.

54 Past social movements  1791 – Bill of Rights (US Constitution) Provides basic political and religious rights  1865 – 13 th Amendment Slavery abolished  1866 – Civil Rights Act (legislative action) Extended the rights of emancipated African Americans

55 Past social movements  1868 – 14 th Amendment Black males get equal protection under the law  1870 – 15 th Amendment Black males ge the right to vote  1886 – National Social Change Labor movement for 8 hour workday / Populists

56  1913 – 17 th Amendment Direct election of US Senators  1920 – 19 th Amendment Women achieve right to vote – after 75 years of struggle  1954 – Brown vs Board of Education (US Supreme Court) Schools could no longer be segregated based on race. Separate is not equal Past social movements

57  1960s – Civil Rights Acts Protected voting rights, prohibited discrimination by federal and state governments, and prohibited discrimination in housing sales and rentals.  1971 – 26 th Amendment Voting age changed from 21 to 18. Past social movements

58

59  National multi-racial coalition seeking to amend the US Constitution to end twin legal doctrines that corporations are not persons and money is not speech.  More than 328,000 have signed the petition calling for this and to commit to be involved.

60 MTA Campaign  Resolutions/initiatives calling for ending corporate constitutional rights and money as speech -- more than 500 to date.  In Ohio: Resolutions in Athens, Oberlin, Barberton, Fremont and ballot initiatives Brecksville, Newburgh Hts, Cleveland Hts. and Defiance).Mentor, Lakewood, Newark and Toledo working on their own initiatives in 2014 and others on council resolutions, including Summit County.  Pledge to Amend  Mass education – including Legalize Democracy film

61 There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. - Henry David Thoreau

62 Greg Coleridge Director Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee [a Quaker social action organization] 2101 Front St., #111, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221 Phone: 330-928-2301 Fax: 330-928-2628 Email: gcoleridge@afsc.org Web: http://www.afsc.net Blog: http://www.createrealdemocracy.blogspot.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/greg.coleridge


Download ppt "Race, Personhood and Corporate Power University of Akron Rethinking Race Series February 6, 2014 Greg Coleridge NE Ohio American Friends Service Committee."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google