The corporate state

The Supreme Court has put what will prove to be the nearly final nail in the coffin of democracy in its 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by removing limits on corporate campaign contributions. While the latest blow came from a Roberts Court, the underpinnings of this disaster go all the way back to the Court finding that corporations are citizens for purposes of the law. Once having given birth to a new class of “citizens” in the corporate form, the ground was set for the final takeover of American politics. Today’s decision is as far reaching as the SCOTUS’ 2000 putsch installing Bush as President. Both decisions are based on the thinnest of Constitutional principles and make clear the 5 Justice majority of this right wing enemy of freedom will go to any lengths to support the “golden revolution.”

For those who may need a bit of historical reference on this issue, the most important decision leading to the Citizens United ruling was that in First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti which was the first to anoint an artificial entity (corporations) as citizens entitled to the protection under the Constitution. A corporation is not a person in reality, it is a collection of persons who have banded together for purposes of making money. Of course each of the persons who have decided they want the protections afforded this artificial entity are entitled to the same freedoms as any other person in the United States. But why the corporation itself should be afforded status as a person is a step of logic that only those who are enemies of democracy and citizen control over government would favor.

Despite this fundamentally flawed ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce that upheld the limits on corporate spending struck down in today’s ruling by recognizing a new governmental interest in preventing “the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of [corporate] wealth . . . that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas.” The new decision by the SCOTUS specifically overruled this rationale thereby declaring that the government has no such interest and even if it does, the corporate interest in buying elections supersedes it.

The corporation as citizen decision looms as one of the most devastating since the Dred Scott debacle. With the Citizens United ruling there it is unclear if any restrictions on corporations can be imposed by Congress or the states with regard to campaigns and the political process. Corporations, which now own nearly every aspect of life in America, are now free to complete their take over of the entire political process.

They already have nearly complete control over Congress through lobbying and other means of political extortion. They are already able through PAC’s to dominate elections.  Now they will not need to go through this subterfuge any more and they are free to directly fund all the elections they wish. How can citizens hope to have any impact on democratic institutions when they will be outspent by corporations.

This threat applies to both right, left and center politics. Some will say that the decision not only favors corporations but unions as well. That is an illusion.  Corporate wealth dwarfs unions abilitiy to provide political funding by many billions of dollars. The real victim in this decision is you and I, people who struggle to redirect this government, whether to the right, left or simply toward good government. It is we who have lost all hope of impacting future elections.

We have today witnessed as effective a takeover of government as if bayonet wielding troops had ransacked Washington D.C. This “golden revolution” is breathtaking if it were not so diabolical. Elections which already were tweedle dee and tweedle dum are now simply shadow matches to keep us occupied while big money interests complete their pillaging of our nation.

Election “surprises” such as the Massachusetts GOP upset are nothing compared to the impact of this decision by the SCOUTS. Democracy is over. Long live the corporation.


  1. Jeffery Haas

    “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism…”

  2. Phil Hoskins

    Nicely done Warren.

    This decision has really dispirited me — a bit of writer’s block going on

  3. Carl Nemo

    Good work Warren. It’s a “keeper”. :))

    It might not be too far from the truth. In the near future the PRC will no doubt be our national landlord.

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. griff

    Furthermore, if a corporation is considered to have the same rights as an individual, then why haven’t they lifted the contribution limits for individuals?

  5. hologram5

    I have heard the arguements on the side of the first amendment. This amendment does not apply to “things”, it only applies to “people” as people are the only things with speech. The status of “personhood” given to corporations by the very court system that gave them “free speech” was a constitutional “no-no” to begin with. How can a thing be a “person”? It cannot and therefore I charge that it is a violation of constitutional law to begin with to grant this fallacy to the corps in the first place. Any thoughts? Here is something I found:
    Personhood is the legal fiction that
    Property is a Person.

  6. almandine

    And then the mergers: Kentucky Fried Ron in the Box!

    What a vision Carl… but then seriously, this type of corporate in-you-face or tongue-in-cheek (I’m hoping) can only be good.

    Ya think?

  7. Carl Nemo

    “The strength of America,” Murray Hill Inc. said, “is in the boardrooms, country clubs and Lear jets of America’s great corporations. We’re saying to Wal-Mart, AIG and Pfizer, if not you, who? If not now, when?” Murray Hill Inc. added: “It’s our democracy. We bought it, we paid for it, and we’re going to keep it.” Murray Hill Inc., a diversifying corporation in the Washington, D.C. area, has long held an interest in politics and sees corporate candidacy as an “emerging new market.” …extract from link article

    Thanks Almandine for supplying the link. I just got around to reading the material this AM. Wow is all I can say and you said…”who woulda thunk”.

    When I read the above paragraph you would have thought this was an “Onion” spoof, but sadly it is not. I also like the flag showing the stars replaced with corporate logos. At least it’s an ‘honest flag’.

    All I can say is that talk of corporations taking over America and the world at large is no longer theoretical politics, but the real deal. This recent SCOTUS ruling will allow them to “strut their stuff”.

    The crimpols we have in Congress if they were smart would take the President’s cue and immediately pass legislation to overturn this ruling by passing law that strips corporations of all aspects of their now legally indemnified personhood. They best do so asap because it means they will be out of the loop concerning their piece of the action.

    I’m thinking if corporations are now persons will future Congressional reps show up in appropriate corporate costumes? We’d have “Ronald McDonald”, a Colonel Sanders look alike for “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, the “Jack in the Box” guy with the round head, smiley face look with carrot nose et al. Soon there will be no more human faces to identify; but simply spot our new Congressional leadership as entities in corporate costumes… : ))

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. danders3

    This isn’t the first time the court has ruled that money is speech and therefore protected by the first amendment. There really shouldn’t be that much shock as to the ruling.

    And, as long as the majority of the time the candidate who spends the most ends up being the one that gets elected, the power that such money wields will continue unabated.

    The public currently has three options:

    Vote against the big spenders.

    Band together and raise money to try to buy their
    own influence.

    Take down their pants, and slide on the ice.

  9. issodhos

    Well, that is what happens when political collectivists, both of the right and the left, seek to grow Leviathan to be used for their own purposes rather than restrict themselves to the concept of a limited government. As much as many of those who have sought to and have succeeded in obfuscating the words and meaning of the Constitution (or as Garet Garrett said in “People’s Pottage”, and I paraphrase, like hagfish gutting a carcass while leaving behind its form) it is no surprise that the damage continues to so easilly done. Why, one would even think that it was a democracy, not a Republic, that served as the foundation of our form of government.;-)

  10. almandine

    Agreed that ballot-box stuffing may turn the outcome, but corporate electioneering, per se, can have little effect in an educated, thoughtful, goal-oriented populace.

    No need to respond about the populace – I get it – but my get-to-work admonition is aimed squarely at changing that tide too.

  11. almandine

    VOTING is the one thing corporations cannot do. Thus, it takes more than money to put reps into office. Quit bitching and get to work.