Corporations Have ‘Weaponized’ the Government. Here’s How to Stop Them.


Corporations Have ‘Weaponized’ the Government. Here’s How to Stop Them.

To stop corporations from hijacking the U.S. government and make them accountable to our democratic system, we must abolish all corporate constitutional rights by enacting the We the People Amendment (HJR48), soon to be introduced again by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).


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By Greg Coleridge

A subcommittee of the full House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Feb. 9 on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government.”

Two panels discussed the “politicization of the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigations] and DOJ [U.S. Department of Justice] and attacks on American civil liberties.”

It rehashed old grievances about how Trump and others were treated by the two agencies over the last few years.

If exposing and ending “weaponization of the government” is the target, then the Judiciary Committee should take aim at the single biggest culprit: corporations.

This investigation would be enlightening since the corporate “weaponization” or hijacking of the government has been so blatant, widespread and persistent for more than a century.

Most corporations in the U.S. were originally chartered or licensed at the state level by legislatures one-at-a-time. Corporate charters stipulated specific conditions to ensure that corporations served the common good.

Charters were routinely revoked when corporations acted “ultra vires,” that is beyond their defined authority. None of those conditions included bestowing inherent rights to corporations to dominate virtually every aspect of society and government as they do today.

Corporations have amassed enormous political and economic power by escaping state legislative authority and public accountability by “weaponizing” four sectors of government.

1. Corporations “weaponize” states against one another

Corporate agents moved corporate charters from states that limited corporate independence to states with corporate-friendly laws, thanks to the corruption of state legislators. Originally that was New Jersey. Today it’s Delaware, where over 60% of Fortune 500 firms are incorporated.

2. Corporations “weaponize” legislatures

Corporate agents sought federal laws to preempt state laws and state laws to preempt local laws limiting corporate powers. The federal Sherman Antitrust Act, for example, was a tepid federal response to strong laws enacted in over 20 states to prevent corporate monopolies and, in some cases, calls for public ownership.

The pro-corporate Senator John Sherman warned that Congress “must heed [the public’s] appeal or be ready for the socialist, the communist, and the nihilist.”

Sherman is still used to preempt state laws. Meanwhile, local laws protecting residents from gunsfrackingminimum wage and many other local concerns passed by municipal councils have been preempted by state laws.

3. Corporations “weaponize” regulatory agencies

Corporations supported the creation of “regulatory agencies” as many states sought public ownership over several types of companies — including utilities and transportation. These agencies regulated vs prohibited harms and insulated companies from direct legislative oversight and public pressure and mobilization. Moreover, companies advocate for the appointment by executives (i.e. presidents and governors) of corporate-friendly regulators.

4. Corporations “weaponize” the courts

The ultimate escape of public control over corporations was granting “constitutional rights” to corporations. Though there’s no mention of corporate entities in the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Court proclaimed over the course of a century that a corporation is a person with First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment protections — rights that go well beyond corporate First Amendment free speech “rights” to contribute money in elections.

This makes public accountability impossible over corporate entities. Corporate constitutional rights are the impenetrable shield against efforts to assert human rights and the right to a livable world over never-intended “corporate rights.”

Abolishing all corporate constitutional rights by enacting the We the People Amendment (HJR48), soon to be introduced again by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, is the only strategy to make corporations authentically democratically accountable.

This requires building a people’s movement. Abolishing corporate constitutional rights shifts back from the judicial to the legislative arena the public ability to define corporate actions to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of people, communities and the natural world are prioritized.

Ending all the other ways corporations have “weaponized government” to consolidate political and economic power becomes much easier once corporations are disarmed of all constitutional rights.

If Congress isn’t going to expose the corporate “weaponization of government,” then it’s up to us to not only do so, but to end it.

Originally published by Common Dreams.

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

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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One thought on “Corporations Have ‘Weaponized’ the Government. Here’s How to Stop Them.

  1. Good post, & I couldn’t agree more. In fact, here in Australia would be a great example of Corporate take-over of the government & all society, especially over the last 25-years, & even more obvious after 9/11.

    Everything is corporate America when one walks down the street. There’s little local business activity, as everything gets out-sold & then taken over by the big Corporations, who are ultimately all one conglomerate. As an example, from E-bay, you’ll discover Coles, & via Coles the discount Postal service offerings , & then discount fuel vouchers offered, & on it goes. So we have 4 industries intertwined in that example, & Coles is a grocery store / supermarket.

    I won’t bother with other markets such as the highly successful car industry that we used to have & their off-shoot industries & jobs that have been lost.

    Throw in the fact that these huge corporations are the spy-ware on your phones / computers etc etc makes for a bleak out-look, with false-people in false jobs, forced to sell-their-souls for their income to pay back debt to the banks…All because they have a mortgage & are trying to raise a family…And the infiltration & selection of persons starts at Universities & education facilities, where people are espied & specially placed & packaged.

    Thanks Vanguard, Black Rock & State Street (& a few others).

    Luckily, this system will collapse, as it can’t sustain itself much longer. One only needs to see the distribution of wealth in the US-of-A & see how it’s struggling for survival. There’s just not enough real money in the world, so those with gold will be sitting happily in time imo.

    All of these greed issues spread world wide through the 1950-60’s, when corps such as CBS started diversifying / investing / taking over smaller businesses like Fender Musical instruments as an example. This didn’t last too long. Look at the false-wars occurring because of greed.

    People however will do nothing about it if enough of them are cashing-in on this gravy train, or are in 30+ years debt to the banks to pay for their mortgage & put their kids through school etc etc. That’s how these vampires manage to survive & reinvent themselves successfully. Spyware allows them to remain in touch with current needs & trends, & manipulate false consumer needs.

    Complex issues for sure, but the solutions have always been available, namely that being the losing of the current monetary system. And then we can lose the “1984” world that now exists. “Brave New World” indeed !

    Liked by 1 person

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