In a post on corporate personhood published on PoliticusUSA, author Sarah Jones delivers an initially, exquisite polemic entitled “If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths.” Unfortunately, the credentialed White House correspondent and member of the Society of Professional Journalists missed the bipartisan embrace of corporate constitutional rights and increasing fascism.
Jones’ exposition of corporate personhood references the movie, The Corporation (must see video, even it it takes more than one sitting). She uses its “personality diagnostic checklist” to diagnose modern corporations:
Callous disregard for the feelings of others. Check.
Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships. Check.political_duopoly
Reckless disregard for the safety of others. Check.
Deceitfulness: repeated lying and conniving others for profit. Check.
Incapacity to experience guilt. Check.
Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors. Check.
Her conclusion shared by TAG: “Corporations are Psychopaths.” So far, so good.
After defining fascism, she makes it clear that she is while “no means suggest[ing] that [she is] calling Republicans Nazis,” she goes on to claim “economics of Fascism reveal how closely Republicans defending corporatist plutocracy as ‘free market capitalism’ are simulating Fascism in this respect.” And, she asserts “[f]ascism is highly militaristic and we see that Republicans are…unwilling to cut military funding….”
Ms. Jones is blinded by partisan attachments. Christopher Ferguson is the director of Inside Job about Wall Street’s role in the Great Recession and author of Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Corporate Corruption and the Hijacking of America. He has coined a phrase that should alienate most Americans from the one party system of corporate power, the Republican/Democratic duopoly. Ferguson’s phrase is “political duopoly,” and in a post on HuffPo, he summarizes it:
[F]ar from being in an era of brutal partisan warfare, as conventional wisdom holds and as watching the nightly television news might suggest, the United States is now in the grip of a political duopoly in which both parties are thoroughly complicit. They play a game: they agree to fight viciously over certain things to retain the allegiance of their respective bases, while agreeing not to fight about anything that seriously endangers the privileges of America’s new financial elites. Whether this duopoly will endure, and what to do about it, are perhaps the most important questions facing Americans. The current arrangement all but guarantees the continuing decline of the United States as a nation, and of the welfare of the bottom 90% of its citizens.
First, consider Obama Administration policy. The Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates down, which greatly enriches the financial services industry. And while, to its rare credit, the Obama Administration has sought to repeal some of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, it has avoided any serious attempt to tax or control financial sector compensation, to recover any of the massive amounts taken by bankers during the bubble, to penalize or prosecute those who caused it, or to reverse the extraordinary rise in inequality that has transformed America over the last generation. The Republicans go even further in catering to the wealthy and the financial sector, but the differences are relatively minor. [Emphasis added]
From a reliable source inside Move to Amend, we also know that the Democratic leadership, “including the White House,” is opposed to an amendment to the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood. Fact is, while one party is more blatant in its ties to corporate governance, both parties, with exceptions in each, are up to their elbows in corporate PAC money during campaigns for office. Worse, the President is now working to get “corporate insurance plans against democracy” called the TransPacific Pact and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership passed through Corporate Congress, and he wants the Pentagon budget increased! If there is a creeping fascism building in America, and we believe there is, both parties are part of the process. We call for a democratic revolution to overthrow the political duopoly to avert fascism in the U.S. and restore the republic.
Ms. Jones concludes “This pathological pursuit of political power at the expense of the people must stop,” but she’s fooling herself if she believes that means electing just another Democrat to Congress and/or the White House. We need candidates who run on a campaign of putting people, not corporate interests, first. More importantly, they then need to govern that way. For congressional candidates and people running for state legislatures, that means, first and foremost, abolishing the illegitimate rights of all associations by passing and ratifying an amendment to the Constitution. If the Framers had intended associations to have rights, they would have said so. At least one principled conservative, in Congress, coincidentally named Mr. Jones, understands this; you’d think bloggers like Ms. Jones would as well.
Update: this post has been corrected to indicate that Ms. Jones is a credentialed White House journalist and not a “liberal blogger” as originally indicated.