Recent posts by Vector56, Margaret and others debating the merits and demerits of Ron Paul’s candidacy and philosophy got me to thinking. This is a dangerous thing, for my wife thinks she smells something burning and goes around looking for an electrical fire, but I digress.
These are dark times in America, and they are getting darker. Large corporations and wealth control all three branches of our national government and those of most of the states. The ideology of corporatism reigns supreme and the power of its adherents grows. The freedoms for which our ancestors fought Empires and dictatorships are curtailed in the name of security, and the standard of living for most Americans is in perceptible decline, both of which are directly caused by corporatism and the power of the corporations, which act as if they are above the law.
They act that way because, for all intents and purposes, they are above the law. They and their political minions, our so-called representatives, write the law, and their political minions who occupy the White House appoint the judges who interpret the law.
Thus it is no surprise that when corporations engage in flagrant criminal actions, such as those that caused the collapse of the economy in 2008, few if any individuals go to prison and the corporate criminals themselves are bailed out at the expense of We The People by decree of the government those same criminals control.
They deserve strong opposition. I submit that that opposition should include all Americans who agree on a few critical points:
1. Corporations are out of control and must be reined in.
2. Corporations are not natural persons and should have none of the protections of the same.
3. The corporate veil, which allows those who make the decisions of corporations to avoid individual responsibility for the negative consequences of those decisions, should be abolished.
4. Corporate entities should have very limited, if any, influence on political decisions and elections.
5. All corporate assets should be subject to confiscation in order to pay for any damages to the public good that a corporation causes, and that includes the personal assets of the corporate decisionmakers and the value of shares owned by shareholders who chose to purchase stock in the corporation.
6. Corporations should rarely, if ever, be the recipients of government subsidies.
Sound radical? I think it’s quite modest, hence the title. I’ve discussed these things with true, blue Libertarians and none of them have objected to any of those six proposals, except that some wanted an exemption for shareholders who did not participate in corporate decisionmaking, and most want no government subsidies ever.
I don’t know any Greens or Socialists who have any problems with my modest proposals. Most truly progressive Democrats, such as Dennis Kucinich, don’t either.
In fact, most working class people don’t have a problem with any of those things either. That’s most of the population, folks.
It would take at LEAST a constitutional amendment or two to accomplish those goals, if not a constitutional convention. Given the current domination of our government by corporations, it would take true revolutionary action, even if that action has at least some chance of being accomplished peacefully.
It would take organization, and a big-tent popular movement that would welcome all Americans who support the goal of destroying corporate power. Hell, it could even be an international populist movement.
The Anti-Corporate Alliance would have to be single-issue until its objectives are accomplished, and then its component allies could fight their differences out in elections, preferably elections that result in true proportional representation. That leads to other goals: the abolition of the electoral college and maybe the Senate, but it’s not necessary to do those things, at least not at first.
This means no social wedge issues allowed. No abortion, no gun control or lack thereof, no white power/black power/immigration/LBGT stuff. No progressive vs regressive tax issues, either. Just break the power of the corporations and return said power to We The People.
We can argue over the other things later. First things first. In my view, we have two options: curtail corporate power relatively peacefully, or face revolutionary and maybe civil war a few years or a decade from now, at most.
This means working with other people with whom we vehemently disagree on other issues that are important both to us and to them. It means joining together against a common and deadly foe.
It can be done. It must be done. And it’s been done before. If Churchill and Stalin, of all people, could be allies for a time, surely progressives of all stripes and libertarians could be allies. Surely people who disagree over abortion or guns or gays or religion could be allies of necessity. For a time.
“If we don’t all hang together, we most assuredly will hang separately.”