Wednesday, October 5, 2011

United States: Democracy or Corpocracy?

Most people are familiar with a simple definition of a democracy. Such as: Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives. I had never heard of a corpocracy. I thought I might have coined a new word. But I hadn't. In fact the American Heritage Dictionary has defined corpocracy as: A society dominated politically and economically by large corporations.

I firmly believe that what we live in today in the United States is definitely a corpocracy. People, defined as “human beings,” have lost control of our government. This is hardly a new thought or observation. Citizens have been warning about the political and economic influence of corporations since the birth of our nation.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to George Logan in 1806 said: “I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country”.

Teddy Roosevelt in the early years of the 20th century,when he was also proposing public financing of federal election, said: “All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law.”

Dwight Eisenhower, after commanding Allied forces in World War II and serving eight years as U.S. President, was well aware of the political and economic power of corporations, leading to his famous warning about the threat to the American Republic from a “military-industrial complex.”

Yet in spite of these warnings, and warnings from many other citizens, on January 21, 2010, a bitterly divided Supreme Court, ruled, 5-4, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in elections. The result was immediate. Outside groups spent almost $300 Million dollars in the 2010 mid term elections, almost four times as much as was spent in the 2008 mid term elections.

President Obama called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

Many people vehemently disagree with the Supreme Court's decisions on corporate “personhood” and their right to influence politics in this country. However, the Court may be interrupting the Constitution correctly. If so, then it appears that the United States Constitution will need to be amended in order to restore it to the Teddy Roosevelt principle: “All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law”.

The politicians don't seem to be in any hurry to change the Constitution and curtail corpo
rate influence on politics. It's been said that all the Republicans in congress are under the influence of the corporations. I think this is true. However, I also believe that almost all members of Congress are under the influence of the Corporations, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike. Remember, corporations don't just include Halliburton, Blackwater and Goldman Sachs. They also include labor unions, political PAC's, political parties and organizations such as the NRA. None of which want to give up any political power.

So the solution to curbing corporate influence is obvious. An amendment to the Constitution is needed. It could be something as simple as:

Amendment XXV111

1:Only human beings are “people” under this Constitution.
2:Only human beings may make contribution to any political candidate or for any political purpose.

I'm sure the legal experts would have to rework the wording, maybe adding that money is not “free speech”, but the important thing is that the influence of corporations on politicians in this country must be stopped. They are ruining the economy and the political system. The only group to gain economically in the past twelve years are the top 1-2% of the population, many of whom are the ones running the corporations and, it appears, this country.

It will not be easy passing such a constitutional amendment. As I mentioned earlier, most of us belong to some groups that try to influence politics. It may be a labor union, a work related PAC, a religious group, a political organization or any number of other “immortal legal entities”. However, by curtailing the influence of these institutions we increase the power of each individual, each human being. If the members of these organizations truly support the positions of these organizations they can individually contact their congressional representatives. Thousands of contacts from voters will probably carry more weight than corporation lobbyists.

Of course the rich will be able to make larger money contributions but who do you think will have the most influence on politicians, ten millionaires contributing $10,000 each to a political candidate, or one thousand average citizens contributing $100 each to that candidate? Each group will contribute $100,000. However, the millionaires will have a total of only ten votes, the average citizens will have a total of ONE THOUSAND votes. I believe the politicians will start to listen to the average citizens.

The people of Egypt recently, peaceably, removed a dictator from office. A big factor in this overthrow was the use of email and the new social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like. Using cell phones they communicated with friends, sent emails, tweets and all other forms of electronic communications to politicians and anyone else they thought could help their cause.

We now have people protesting on Wall Street against Corporation abuse. It appears to me that these people and anyone who cares about getting political power back to human beings and away from corporations should support a constitutional amendment limiting the power of corporations to influence our government. This power should belong to human beings alone!

American citizens with their vast cell phone and social networking capabilities should flood the Senators and Representatives with calls, tweets, emails and every other form of electronic messaging available demanding a Constitutional amendment preventing Corporations from influencing politics in this country. As noted before this amendment could be as simple as:

Amendment XXV111

1:Only human beings are “people” under this Constitution.
2:Only human beings may make contribution to any political candidate or for any political purpose.

So make your opinion heard. Act now! Contact all members of Congress, not just the members in your State or District. It might take millions of emails, calls, tweets, etc. to get any results but if we continue to let corporations run our government we will see more and more of our rights destroyed. It doesn't make any difference if you're a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, etc., we will all benefit from “human beings” having more influence in government. Below is a link that will enable you to find contacts for member of Congress. Contact them and encourage them to support a constitutional amendment similar to the one above. Let them know if they don't introduce, or at least support such an amendment, that they will not get your vote! Encourage all of your acquaintances to only vote for candidates who will support such an amendment.