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Why are banks no longer lending to each other? Are they afraid that collapse is imminent somewhere in the system, as with the Lehman collapse in 2008? (Photo: Phillipp/cc/flickr)

The equivalent of securing Capital entrances and clearing out those individuals who stormed inside to end corporate insurrection is much more difficult than simply physically removing people from a building. (Photo: Phillipp/cc/flickr)

Time to Investigate Corporate Insurrection

"The corporate insurrection of democracy is not limited to one day, but is year round and more than a century long."

Greg Coleridge

It’s hard not to be angry as the January 6 Congressional hearings on the Capital insurrection come to an end, at least for the moment. The anger I speak of is in addition to one's feelings about the actions of Donald Trump and his loyalists.

Every person in this country, regardless of political ideology, should be livid that no comparable human and financial resources or media coverage has ever been invested in exposing and demanding accountability resulting from a different insurrection – an insurgency that, in different ways, is just as dangerous as the effort to overturn the November 2020 elections.

It's not just the Capital or Congress that corporate agents have successfully used their new constitutional rights weapons to influence. It’s also the White House, state houses, city halls and village councils.

That insurrection is the perpetual quest to capture and misuse governing power by business corporations, which has fundamentally repressed our ability as human beings to make basic decisions impacting our lives, communities and beyond either directly or through elected representatives.

The stun guns, bear spray, baseball bats, spear-tipped club-wielded flagpoles and other weapons used by the violent insurrectionists contributed to the injuries of 140 officers, some very serious. It’s a human tragedy not to be minimized. 

Yet, it collectively pales in comparison to the human, community and planetary assaults by business corporations armed with legal clubs and shields thanks to Supreme Court Justices who agreed with corporate attorneys that various Constitutional Amendments, intended exclusively to apply for human persons, should also apply to corporate entities. Corporate constitutional rights, a result of the corporate hijacking of the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, are now persistent, anti-democratic, corporate battering rams to breach popular will for Medicare for all, a livable wage, affordable housing, mass transit, gun control, child nutrition, clean energy, privacy rights, basic regulations of business activities and scores of other public demands.

It's not just the Capital or Congress that corporate agents have successfully used their new constitutional rights weapons to influence. It’s also the White House, state houses, city halls and village councils. The corporate insurrection of democracy is not limited to one day, but is year round and more than a century long. Corporate entities not only influence public policy through lobbying and investing in lawmakers directly through campaign contributions and indirectly through dark money groups that unleash attack ads. They write their own regulations. They win court cases trumping democratically passed state and local laws protecting workers, the environment and democracy itself, claiming their constitutional rights have been violated. Similar laws to protect people and communities aren’t even considered knowing that they’ll be preempted in court.

So where’s the Congressional investigation of corporate insurrection? Why aren't there hearings? How come no wall-to-wall media coverage? Where's the army of Department of Justice lawyers investigating, charging, and prosecuting corporate insurrectionists as they have the guy wearing the horn hat and members of the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters? 

Part of the answer is that the richest 1 percenters, many corporate CEOs, have flooded political elections with cash. They’ve taken full advantage of "political money spent in elections equals free speech" defined and expanded in the Buckley v. Valeo and Citizen United Supreme Court decisions.

Another part is corporate entities with their constitutional rights have successfully pressured the DOJ to focus on street crime, hate crime and political extremist crimes rather than corporate crimes. The worst penalties corporate criminals face are fines, temporary suspension of contracts, and/or having to fire a few employees or board members. Habitual corporate criminals, like JPMorganChase, never worry about the corporate equivalent of "three strikes and your out" or a "death penalty" – i.e. the revocation of corporate charters, a frequent occurrence in several states early in our nation's history.

Corporations have also been able to lock in pro-corporate federal and state judges who consistently rule in favor of corporate interests. When was the last time there was a Supreme Court Justice with a legal background representing workers, consumers, communities or the environment?

Consider that most of the "mainstream" electronic and print media is owned by mega corporations or billionaires, including the "liberal" press. Social media is corporatized as well, increasingly being the unilateral judges and juries of First Amendment "free speech." There’s  unsurprisingly zero interest from these entities to cover corporate insurrection.

The increasing corporate capture of governing has become normalized. Just as fish discover water last, we’re oblivious to its pervasiveness – except for the occasional blatant expose of corporate interests backing the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice, an elected representative caught receiving illegal campaign contributions or a corporation only paying a fine for the deaths of scores of people.

The corporate insurrection of governance is now so insidious that "occupation" is a more accurate description. It’s corporate occupation as in nearly a complete takeover: political business as usual.

Corporate governing insurrections/occupations will continue forever until a democracy movement ends it. It’s the only way to make meaningful headway on justice in all its forms, peace and a livable world – not to mention a legitimately inclusive democracy for the very first time.

The equivalent of securing Capital entrances and clearing out those individuals who stormed inside to end corporate insurrection is much more difficult than simply physically removing people from a building. Kicking out from the halls of Congress, statehouses, and other public spaces the corporate lobbyists who write template pro-corporate legislation, bag(wo)men who offer campaign contributions to legislators for voting certain ways, or former corporate leaders who are now "regulators" of industries they used to work for only goes so far. We have to purge the legal and constitutional foundations that forever prevent future entry into public governance forums. 

For starters, it means abolishing all corporate constitutional rights and money defined as free speech as defined in the We the People Amendment (HJR48), proposed by Move to Amend

Simply reversing the Citizens United decision and ending corporate First Amendment political free speech closes only a few doorways to the corporate rule arena.

Left wide open would still be the entrances of business corporations to exert political power via corporate First Amendment not to speak and commercial speech “rights,” Fourth Amendment search and seizure “rights,” Fifth Amendment takings “rights,” and Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection “rights.” Each of these have in different ways ravaged people’s authentic right to decide.

More constitutional changes are needed, a broadened political bill of rights, that would expand the power of people and keep the corporate entity mob at bay. It must begin, however, with an urgent need to more widely expose the dangers of corporate rule and have the courage to envision ways for genuine self-rule free from corporate pillage of our public political spaces.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Greg Coleridge

Greg Coleridge

Greg Coleridge is Co-Director of Move to Amend and former Director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee.

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