Corporations are property; they are things that can be bought and sold. Yet in the U.S. political system and in our courts the owners of corporations have gained great advantage over ordinary (not-wealthy) people by having the courts act as if corporations have rights under the U.S. Constitution. This was originally asserted as part of a doctrine known as corporate personhood.
The California Center for Community Democracy is working to put corporations back in the box where such things belong: just plain property, with no human rights. On this page you can find a variety of resources to educate yourself about corporate constitutional rights and how they relate to issues like trade, the environment, campaign finance reform, and the rights of real people.
The following speakers can make presentations on this subject (contact CCCD for more information): Jan Edwards, Bill Meyers, Kirsten Lambertsen.
- Abolish Corporate Personhood by Molly Morgan and Jan Edwards. This is a great brief introduction.
- Santa Clara Blues (Corporate Personhood v. Democracy) by William P. Meyers. This is a pamphlet-sized introduction that covers the basics of history, law, and impact on on our lives.
- Gangs of America by Ted Nace. This book covers the history of corporate rule in the United States including issues of corporate constitutional rights.
- Roll the Bones by David G. Schwartz. The first narrative history of gambling, spanning the Stone Age to the Internet mrgreen casino era, examining how it evolved with—and influenced—human civilization.
- Corporate Personhood Timeline by Jan Edwards. This timeline shows both when corporations and when real people were given constitutional rights. Corporations were recognized as people before women were, for example!
- Corporate Personhood and the “Right” to Harm the Environment by Jan Edwards and Alis Valencia. How corporations use personhood rights to legally justify their destruction of the environment.
- Point Arena Resolution on Corporate Personhood by the people of Point Arena, CA.
- Berkeley, CA, Resolution on Corporate Constitutional Rights.
- Resolution of the City Council of Arcata (CA) Regarding Corporate Personhood