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by Emma Froggirl
Friday, Aug. 25, 2000 at 3:05 AM
I wrote this in response to the people who continually keep posting here from Corporate America, and the police, or just curious observers. It describes and critiques the corporate take-over, erosion of laws and our lives, and gives a challenge to Corporate America. It's my reasons and convictions.
Perhaps we should start with the fact that the very duty of a corporation is to create a profit. A corporation's goal is to make money, nothing more, nothing less. I'm sure you would agree with that. Even our "forefathers" understood that one must put a check on corporations so that in completing this goal, they did not destroy the people and the land, or challenge the government. Many checks to corporation's power was implemented, the almost now deceased anti-trust laws were a few.
But in the last 80 years, we have seen a slow eating away at those checks by corps. most exemplified in america. In the 1980's corporations such as Exxon, and many others, lobbied and were heard in a case dubbed "Bellotti vs. the First Bank of Boston". This ruling granted corporations humanity. It declared that corporations were, for all considerations a human being. A living entity endowed with all the constitutional rights of a living, breathing, person that you and I supposedly share.
Before this, corporations were restricted to using their vast advertising power and funds to only create messages, or to lobby on subjects, that directly connected to their industry. So Exxon could only create public service announcements about oil. So too, could they only lobby for oil legislation and so on. But now that they are considered a PERSON, who has FREE SPEECH a corporation can create ads, public service announcements, and lobby for ANYTHING. Like hate-crimes legislation, abortion, or... serious fundamental issues in the governmental structure. This was argued on the basis that a corporation was HUMAN, a complete irrationality, and one of the huge erosions of the checks and balances against corporate power. As the editor of the Exxon's journal so aptly stated: "If you can inject enough facts into the minds of those who control public opinion, you can blunt criticism in advance". What in more honest days used to be called propaganda, as Chomsky states. And so a huge amount of control over this country fell into corporate hands. But that was just the begining.
Many corporations began merging, purchasing the media in huge amounts. Murdock's corp. own more media than any other, from fox five to the village voice. With the media on your pay roll and under your control, you can "blunt criticism in advance" and no doubt this has worked.
But corporations still had a problem, which was that while they still existed in a country, such as America, they had to follow its laws, even if legislation over them was fading fast, some basic laws still applied that stood in the way of the one, true goal of a corp.: Making as much money as possible. Like, for example, it's illegal to use child labor in the U.S., you must pay your workers a minimum wage (however low), and have decent working conditions. But what if.. corporations had no country. And the MULTI-NATIONAL was born. This new legislation, argued through with glowing quotes about the future of the new world, marked a new, end of the checking of corporate power, and a complete opening up of the world to the un-checked power and influence of the corps.
Now, what an evil deed was here. Because now corporations, or multi-nationals, belong to no country, and no government, and therefore are governed by NOTHING. Now it's an easy trick to work kids's childhoods away for 12 hour days, work sweatshop employee's lives away in el salvador, mexico, taiwan, and hundreds of other places without having to obey the laws of the united states, or any other country.
Of course getting other countries to give in wasn't so easy.. And that is why institutions like the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank exist. In the good ol' days of colonialization you would force a country to obey by moving in the British Navy to enforce the rule. Now colonization has gone out of style, but the kind of people who want similar market relations are still around. So that's why we need these international organizations with the power of state coersion. A coersion that would clear the way for corporations in developing countries, impoverish the people's funds to create the poverty nessesary to force people into sweat-shops out of desperation, and to sap and profit off of the environmental resources. To get them ready for the pillage, in other words.
The IMF and the WORLD BANK were actually first dubbed "The Brettonwoods Twins" because they were developed in a confence in Brettonwoods, New Hampshire. The IMF's initial role was to act as an institution that would fix international exchange rates to the U.S. dollar. The World Bank was initially constructed to help re-build Germany and Japan after World War II. With this soon completed, the Bank needed a new mission. So they turned their lending to the heads of small countries. They would lend to create large-scale infrastructure projects:-dams, roads, so forth. Well, it wasn't long before the IMF realized where this was going, and took over the reforming of certain countries, especially in Africa, whose leaders, by this point, were so deeply in debt that they were practically owned by the bank.
Of course the argument then was, "well, these countries borrowed money, now they have to pay it back". But what they don't say is that the money was never borrowed by the people, but by the heads of these countries, often corrupt. The money would never go into services that directly benefitted the people through healthcare, schools, housing, ect, but was used to create bridges and monuments. Yet now, it is the PEOPLE's duty to PAY the debt.
But of course they couldn't even begin to pay back the bank, so the IMF kind of made a deal, in the form of what they called "structural adjustments". The deal was that if the country in question did what they said, they would forget the debt for now. Of course what they wanted was what they had wanted in the U.S., but more so. No legislation blocking corps. to use whatever labor they wanted. Laws against unionizing. cutting of all healthcare and housing, and schools, and food spending from the national budget. Complete freedom of patenting offices to take natural resources used by the indiginous people, plants and resins and the like as their own, with a 100 year patent on it. And nothing standing in the way of ravaging the land and environment.
Now what's wrong with that?, you might say. Pesky developing countries had it coming. Well, nothing's wrong with it, except that it's totalitarianism. There is direct violation of all constitutional laws of these countries. The people of Mexico never voted on that. There was no decision by the government, it's just "do as we, the multi-nationals say, or we will destroy your people and your country." Not much of a choice, but hey, that's fascism for you.
But remember when I said: all corporations do is make money? Well, that's all they're doing, just trying to maximize profit. Because although our government was so quick to grant humanity to corporations, we all know they aren't human. They are entirely a-political, and have no compassion, and feel no remorse, or connection to other human beings. And that is why corporations are unreformable, because it's just not in their nature. I know the heads of Nike are scumbags who wrote to the Chinese government secretly commanding them to arrest all those members of a chinese sweatshop watch claiming that they were violent revolutionaries., threatening to cut of all trading if they didn't. I know too, that Chase Manhatten "suggested" to the Mexican government "the termination of the Zapatista People with extreme prejudice" which has been enacted through government funded Para-military groups like "Peace and Justice", slaughtering whole villages in Chiapas; all because Chase share-holders got nervous of rebellion. But the bottom line is that it doesn't matter WHO runs corporations.
They are structures of hierarchy and they exist only to make money. And if forces like that go unchecked, they will, as history has proven of late, run wild and destroy the people and the earth. Corporations, I believe, can never be reformed because of their structure and their goal. I, and many others in the movement are opposed the corporations because of what they are, and are becoming. The biggest and most frightening threat to democracy we have seen in a long time. Multi-nationals, are now like the Vatacan: countries unto themselves, run in a totalitarian way, and waging war on humanity.
I am fighting against them because I am a human being. A real human being of flesh and blood, not of legislation and paper. I know I am because I feel compassion. I feel horror, and fear and love. And I couldn't call myself a human being if I didn't care about what is being silently done to my people, to the animals, and to this earth. I wouldn't be human, if I didn't stand up and scream for the people under the wheels. Some people know what time it is, others don't. But I refuse to stand by while children in Mexico are being abused and made old before their years. If you open your eyes, you can see that poverty and famine are not just some disease spontaneously sprouting, like the World Bank claims. Poverty is caused by systems of the distribution of wealth on the earth. Poverty is CAUSED by institutions taking away everything from others for the benefit of a few. Poverty is caused by immorality, and by an inability to see others as human. And ultimately by corporations that "just want to make money".
Now mabye you can lean back in your office chair and sip your coffee and say "hey, not my problem". And maybe you can rationalize your compliance and all of our compliance with easy, simplified answers generated by the media. But I can't. And further more I won't.
You have chosen the easy way out. A life of conformity and compliance. But in the end, when you go back to you little piece of the plunder, and look at yourself reflected through the window.. do you want to do your part here on earth to held the oppressed and condemn the mighty, or are you too scared. It's easier to shake your head, put on a hollywood film, and forget. But that reflection is still drifting the mirror, like a ghostly halo, and you know it's still whispering.."Nothing..... go home... do your job... don't worry about it... that's right... go to sleep, you'll feel better in the morning..."
Books for you to read where much of these subjects are discussed and information gotten from:
CULTURE INC. The Corporate Takeover of Public Space
MANUFACTURING CONSENT Noam Chompsky
THE NEW MANDARINS
AFRICA's CHOICES: Thirty Years Of Control by the World Bank
LECTures and Litirature by Doug Henwood of the Left BUSINESS OBSERVER.
COMODIFYING DISSENT: The Business of Culture in the New Guilded Age.
edited by Anaarkey
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