Big Corporations Have More Free Speech than REAL People
Robert Reich sums up the 1%’s hypocrisy towards the First Amendment:
A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.
Of course, the Constitution is supposed to provide the right to free speech no matter what type of threat we’re supposedly under. That was the whole idea.
And the Founding Fathers hated big corporations. See this, this and this. They were as suspicious of big corporations as they were the monarchy. So they only allowed corporate charters for a very brief duration, in order to carry out a specific, time-limited project.
As James Madison noted:
There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by…corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.
Indeed, while the Boston Tea Party was a revolt against taxation without representation, it largely centered on the British government’s crony capitalism – and disproportionate tax breaks – towards the East India Company, the giant company which dominated the tea market and hurt small American business.
Protesting against the government propping up today’s giant banks – who are ruining the chance for small businesses to have a fair chance at competing – is exactly the same idea.
Later presidents had a similar view. For example, Grover Cleveland said:
As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.
And Teddy Roosevelt had to break up banking trusts which had taken over the country.
Adam Smith – the founder of free market capitalism – also railed against corporate monopolies.
And conservatives as well as liberals are war loudly warning against American corporations becoming overly powerful in relation to the people.
For example, as I noted last month:
The Oathkeepers announcement zeroes in on this issue in a way that both conservatives and liberals can agree on:
When a corporation becomes larger than is useful, and seeks to concentrate financial power into the political and governmental spheres, its likeness is no longer the King Snake, but instead is more like a Rattlesnake. At a point we call such corps “Monopoly Capitalists”. By the time a grouping of such Monopoly Capitalist corps are setting U.S. foreign policy, which the arms industry certainly does nowadays, the problem becomes unbearably apparent. Bechtel comes to mind, along with Halliburton, the Carlyle Group, Monsanto, General Electric, et al.
Monopoly Capitalism is un-Constitutional and must be opposed.