Agenda: Complete the historic transition to popular democratic self-rule by limiting the political influence of money and securing the right of all living people, irrespective of financial means, to a meaningful voice in the decisions that shape their lives.
This requires vigorous policy action to break up concentrations of unaccountable corporate power, democratize ownership participation, issue corporate charters only to serve a defined public purpose, reserve the rights of political participation to real people, get big money out of politics, create space for third parties, and bring majority rule to the Senate.
Democracy for the Few
The United States has been ruled by its richest citizens since its founding. Big money calls the shots in elections and Supreme Court rulings consistently equate money with speech and the rights of corporations with the rights of persons.
So long as big money controls the political process, our economic rules and priorities will continue to favor the interests of big money and we will continue to bear the consequences of stagnant wages, wasteful consumption, unaffordable health care, climate chaos, and all the other phantom wealth casino economy ills. To change the rules to favor real wealth living economies, we must replace the plutocracy (one-dollar one-vote rule by big money and big business) we have, with the democracy (one-person one-vote rule by local people and communities) we have long claimed as our defining national ideal. [See: A Real Democracy Policy Agenda]
Democracy vs. the Private-Benefit Corporation
The for-profit, private-benefit, limited-liability corporation is big money’s favored institution for aggregating financial power to control the economy and the political system. A corporation is an artificial legal entity created by a government through the act of issuing a charter. In the case of publicly traded or privately held for-profit corporations, under current law, the charter generally grants the holder the privilege of aggregating unlimited financial resources under unified direction to maximize financial return for the pure private-benefit of its owners. This is the pure private-benefit corporation. [click here to read more]
Instruments of Imperial Rule
The legal form of the contemporary for-profit, limited-liability corporation of global reach is an invention of imperial kings who contracted out to private entities the work of colonizing and exploiting the resources, labor, and markets of distant peoples beyond the reach and oversight of parliaments. The design, by intent, allowed the virtually unlimited concentration of financial power accountable solely to the monarch and a group of favored private investors. Generations of corporate lawyers have worked diligently since to preserve and expand the legal privileges of private-benefit corporations, narrow their purpose to the single goal of profit making, and shield them from liability for the harms they cause. [click here to read more]
Privilege and Responsibility
There is no place in a living Earth economy for purely private-purpose corporations devoted solely to the interests of their managers and shareholders to the exclusion of the interests of other stakeholders, including their employees, customers, and the communities in which they do business. Citizens have every right to hold all corporate bodies accountable to larger public interests.
Every business enterprise, irrespective of legal form, should be expected at a minimum to honor the same standards of responsibility and morality as any private individual. Businesses that enjoy the special privileges conveyed by a public charter are properly held to a higher, not a lower, standard. Because a corporate charter is a grant of privilege, not a personal entitlement, there is no legitimate reason for a government to issue such a grant except to serve a public purpose. Every corporate charter should clearly state its defining public purpose and fulfillment of that purpose should be subject to periodic review on threat of dissolution. [click here to read more]