By Anonymous on April 02, 2010

As you’ve probably heard, corporations are now “people”—humanoids that are equivalent to you and me. This miraculous metamorphosis happened on January 21. Accompanied by a blinding bolt of lightning, and a terrifying jolt of thunder, five Dr. Frankensteins on the Supreme Court threw a judicial switch that endowed these pulseless paper entities with the human right to speak politically.

Never mind that inanimate corporate constructs have no tongue, brain, heart, or soul—the five judicial fabricators breathed unprecedented legal life into corporations, decreeing that the vast wealth held in their corporate treasuries is their voice. With a cry of “Shazam!” the Court ruled that, henceforth, every corporation—from Wal-Mart to Wall Street—is entitled to “speak” by spending unlimited sums from their treasuries to elect or defeat candidates for any and all public offices in our land, from city council to the Presidency.

By a bare 5-4 majority, the justices created an artificial, über-wealthy, political monster that will overpower everyone else’s voices. For example, just the 100 largest corporations have assets totaling more than $13 trillion. No combination of human people’s political organizations can amass even a tiny fraction of that spending power.

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With their ruling, five unelected guys in black robes have subverted our sovereignty with a semantic perversion that twists special-interest things into “people” and money into “speech.” In so doing, the Supreme Five have substituted their personal political views for the clearly expressed wisdom of America’s founders, every Congress since Teddy Roosevelt’s time, twenty-two states, dozens of cities, the court’s own precedents, and the people themselves.

Bizarrely, the five Court corporatists on the Court seemed to think that their sneak attack on America’s democratic ideals was so cleverly done that it would be meekly accepted by the public and even widely applauded. Hardly. The ink of their signatures on this absurd opinion wasn’t dry before the justices were pelted with ridicule.

Others raised an intriguing constitutional conundrum that the Court obviously failed to contemplate. Since the Thirteenth Amendment bans slavery, which is the ownership of a person, the newly born corporate “persons” cannot legally be bought and sold. Thus Wall Street—now a slave market—must be shut down! Let us all join hands and march for this new civil rights cause, chanting: “Free the Corporate Slaves!”

Meanwhile, Americans of all political stripes have risen in overwhelming opposition to the Court’s contortion of both the Constitution and common sense. With eight of ten Americans decrying the decree and nearly as many demanding that it be reversed, we can expect swift and decisive action from Congress. Right?

Uh . . . no. First, Republican leaders (who’ve consistently proven to be tail-wagging kowtowers to corporate power) flatly say they will oppose any legislation to restrict the ruling. Second, Democrats have designated Senator Chuck Schumer of New York to lead their effort to undo the decision. Schumer is a notorious CEO-hugging Democrat who serves as the party’s chief shaker of the corporate money tree, so sending him into this battle is like going lion hunting with a fly swatter.

Sure enough, Schumer has started by declaring that he wants a reform that can get “bipartisan support” in the Senate, and he is not even considering anything as bold or effective as a constitutional amendment to force these corporate behemoths out of our elections. Instead, he’s lamely offering a patchwork of regulatory fixes designed to cover up this theft of political power from actual people—fixes that corporate lawyers and lobbyists will riddle with loopholes.

To get remedies that work, We the People will have to take direct grassroots action. Already, three major national coalitions have formed to retrieve our democratic authority from the Court and its corporate clients: www.movetoamend.org, www.freespeechforpeople.org, and www.fixcongressfirst.org. Let’s get connected, and get moving.

Jim Hightower is a regular contributor to The Progressive. He currently writes a nationally-syndicated column carried by 75 independent weekly newspapers and other publications.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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