The kidnapping and enslavement of African people was the life-blood of transnational corporations like the "Royal African Company." In law, these human resource corporations were called "artificial people." Their human cargo was called "cargo."
Once upon a time, British and U.S. judges pretended that corporations were artificial people without constitutional rights. And then, poof. The Supreme Court of the United States ($COTU$) started forgetting to use the word "artificial." Cha-ching! Pretending is child's play. Legal ideas "are people my friend."1,2
An corporate "person" is like a Jack-in-the-Box, minus Jack. Unlike you and me, [___]-in-the-box was a.u.t.h.o.r.e.d, not born. The invisible domestic breeds, and their well-documented legal immigrant cousins (foreign corporations), are people of no color. Yet legally speaking, they're the master race.
The men in black granted constitutional rights to legal thingies (corporations) by pretending that a slavery amendment (the 14th) was passed to emancipate their homebrewed hypothetical homies from brutal regulatory bondage.3 As it turns out, they're not much to look at.
Corporate rights were quickly deployed to torpedo a certain kind of regulation (our kind). That year alone (1886), $COTU$ shamelessly voided 230 of our state laws.4 Why? Because public safeguards threaten corporate profits. Since then, corporate personhood has evolved to become hogwash on steroids.
Meanwhile, $COTU$ whooped millions of freed slaves and their descendants for decades!5,6 In a very real sense, our crème de la crème inequality czars have made invisible people real and real people invisible (mass incarceration and impoverished communities). What's also invisible is what could have been...
A mind-boggling quote with commentary
1. "Corporations are [artificial] people my friend. [Audience: No they're not!] Of course they are. Everything that corporations earn ultimately goes to people. [Audience: Laughter] Where do you think it goes? [Audience: It goes into their pockets!] Who's pockets? Who's pockets? [Financially rotund] People's pockets [like me]."
Governor Mitt Romney address at the Iowa State Fair, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2h8ujX6T0A, Aug. 11, 2011.
Funky Monkey Business
2. See Supreme Court of the United States ($COTU$), Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886) [$anta Clausa]. This humdinger railroaded us by legalizing creatively-devised monopoly guys (a legal fiction) to grease the wheels of the robber baron gravy train (a non-fiction).
This boring-ass case is about cruel and unusual punishment, sometimes called "corporate taxes." It says nothing about corporate personhood, except for a little non-judge commentary, written by a wealthy court reporter, which can be found in the headnote at the top.
3. See Thom Hartmann, Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became 'People' - And How You Can Fight Back, (2010), pp 4-5. The 14th Amendment is an extraordinary human rights doctrine that opens a gateway to the entire U.S. Constitution. It was supposed to restrain racist judges and level the legal playing field, so that freed slaves and their descendants could more fairly pursue happiness and the American Dream.
The 14th Amendment says, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States... are citizens" and "No State shall... deny to any person... equal protection of the laws." $COTU$ conveniently ignored the "all persons" and "equal protection" parts. Nobody restrains the $upremos!
See Ibid., pgs 7, 17. Instead they decided that corporations (cash machines) have human rights. Their reasoning was simple enough. This slavery amendment, passed soon after the Civil War, doesn't explicitly say "[natural] person," so naturally it was intended to protect the non-rights of make-believe shit (artificial persons), warts and all.
To this day, the entire basis for opening our constitutional gateway to carbon-copy non-life forms (corporations) is grounded in crooked reasoning and a court case about something else ($anta Clausa).
4. Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States (New York: HarperCollins, 2010), pg 261. "State legislatures, under the pressure of aroused farmers, had passed laws to regulate the rates charged farmers by the railroads. The Supreme Court that year (1886, Wabash v. Illinois) said states could not do this, that this was an intrusion on federal power. That year alone [soon after the birth of $anta Clausa], the Court did away with 230 state laws [public safeguards] that had been passed to regulate corporations."
5. Thom Hartmann, Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became 'People' - And How You Can Fight Back, (2010), pg 24. "Ironically, of the 307 Fourteenth Amendment cases brought before the Supreme Court in the years between Waite's proclamation [reported in the $anta Clausa headnote] and 1910, only 19 dealt with African Americans: 288 were suits brought by corporations seeking the rights of natural persons."
6. See Supreme Court of the United States ($COTU$), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Our unjust justices also legalized a fictitious friend who goes by the name Jim Crow (separate but [un]equal).