My beloved neighborhood blog, Bernalwood, recently published a post about a group of political activists who call themselves Wild Old Women protesting at a local Bank of America branch. I love that they're spreading the anti-corporate-personhood gospel.
The tagline of this blog, "Your wallet is a mouth," is aimed at individuals. You know, actual people made of flesh and blood. The idea being that we can use the power of our purses to encourage corporations to behave well and discourage them from behaving badly.
Unfortunately, for the past two years, that slogan has applied to corporations too. Thanks to the wrongheaded Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC, companies now have the right to spend as much money as they want in order to influence political discourse around elections. Think of it as a tug-of-war game on a very steep hill, with people at the top and corporations at the bottom. Hmm, who's going to win that, I wonder?
To mark this infamous second birthday, today is a nationwide day of action in which protesters will remind the world that in actuality, corporations are not people—and money is not speech.
It's an issue that's dear to my heart, so I'm taking Micro Mouth with me to help to occupy the San Francisco federal courthouse. Wish us luck!
In the meantime, I present you with some of my favorite talking points on corporate personhood from Move to Amend, one of a gazillion organizations that's mobilizing flesh-and-blood people to fight back.
The Supreme Court has ruled that money equals speech. The corollary is this: people who have money can speak, and people who don't, can't. This is a plutocracy, not a democracy.
A corporation has millions of dollars, exists in many places at once; can live forever; and employs thousands to do its work around the clock.... A human being has little expendable income, lives in one place, dies, and must use her small amount of free time to work for causes she believes in.
A human being needs clean air, clean water, food, and love to survive. A corporation does not.
A corporation has no mind, no conscience, and no motive but to amass money. A human being thinks, tries to make ethical decisions, and is motivated by obligations to family and community. How could we say that these two dramatically different kinds of “persons” have an equal voice in a democracy?
A person is a private entity with rights and sovereignty. A corporation is a public entity with obligations and responsibilities.
Human rights are for humans. A corporation is not a human being.
December 2010 I haven't actually bought anything from Po-Zu yet, but I appreciate their awareness of the fact that many vegan shoes are made of petroleum products and aren't necessarily better for the environment than leather footwear. Po-Zu seems to set a high bar for itself when it comes to ingredients and supply chains.
March 2010 After running out of dish soap, I started using our good old bars of Sappo Hill out of necessity. But you know what? Our dishes are just as clean, and when I pick up the soap at our grocery store, the only packaging on the bars is the price tag. And did I mention the soap is awesome? We love the oatmeal bar.
February 2010 TMI alert: If you're a squeamish guy, read no further. I'm done with tampons! Instead, I'm using the DivaCup.
January 2010 Mr. Wallet Mouth and I both love Pact. Its underwear is made of organic cotton, and the company donates 10% of its sales to worthy environmental causes. Not only that, but the company is serious about eco-friendly packaging. Each pair of undies comes not in a plastic bag but in a little cloth pouch made from fabric remnants. I'm also impressed with how responsive Pact is over email; when I asked a packaging question, I got a nice reply from the CEO.
December 2009 After reading about Skoy Cloths, the biodegradable paper-towel alternative, on Fake Plastic Fish, I bought a bunch for stocking stuffers and my own kitchen, and I'm now a fan. They're lasting a long time, despite repeated washings in the laundry, and they arrive with minimal packaging.
October 2009 I was already of fan of Straus yogurt (see June 2007), but now I love it even more. According to Michael Straus, a son of the company's founder, Straus yogurt "is made, cooled, and set in stainless-steel vats, unlike most yogurts, which are poured while still hot into plastic cups to cool and set." As someone who's concerned about plastics and chemical safety, I'm happy to hear that!
July 2009 I'm using a lot more baking soda now that I'm making more of an effort to clean the house in a nontoxic way. But from now on I'll be buying Bob's Red Mill, since Arm & Hammer engages in animal testing.
July 2008 Started feeling extra-good about buying one of my fave meat substitutes, Tofurky, after learning that its maker, Turtle Island Foods, is an independent, family-owned company (Unlike Boca Foods, which is a subsidiary of Kraft, and Morningstar, which is owned by Kellogg).
April 2008 I'm going to start buying my canned beans from Eden Foods, for two reasons: it uses custom-made cans that don't contain bisphenol A, and it's an independent, family-operated company.
February 2008 From now on, whenever I order takeout or ask for a doggy bag, I’ll make sure to avoid #6 polystyrene containers (and, of course, Styrofoam).