The Alliance: fighting corporate power.

Ewald (ewald@ctaz.net)
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 09:21:14 -0700


I'm sending this on behalf of my good friend John H. St. John. It's a bit
long but well worth reading. For more info, go to his website:
http://www.adnc.com/web/homer/

Shawn
___________________________________________________________________________
"The end of democracy, and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur
when government falls into the hands of the lending institutions and moneyed
incorporations."

- Thomas Jefferson

We have lived under a war economy since 1938, the only way the
economy can operate at all is with large infusions of government
"defense" orders. This is so because war production does not have to
be sold on the open market -- which would rapidly become glutted
because our productive forces have gotten so enormous as a result of
war keynesianism -- and is either blown up or becomes obsolete rapidly.

Corporations cause harm every day. Why do their harms go unchecked? How
can they dictate what we produce, how we work, what we eat, drink, and
breathe? How did a self-governing people let this come to pass?

When we look at the history of our states, we learn that citizens
intentionally defined corporations through charters -- the certificates
of incorporation. In exchange for the charter, a corporation was
obligated to obey all laws, to serve the common good, and to cause no
harm. Early state legislators wrote charter laws and actual charters to
limit corporate authority, and to ensure that when a corporation caused
harm, they could revoke its charter.

During the late 19th century, corporations subverted state governments,
taking our power to put charters of incorporation to the uses originally
intended.

Corporations may have taken our political power but they have not taken
our Constitutional soveriegn authority over government office-holders.
Every state still has legal authority to grant and revoke corporate
charters. Corporations, large or small, still must obey all laws, serve
the common good, and cause no harm.

To exercise our sovereign authority over corporations, we must take back
our political authority over state governments.

The Abolitionist recognizes the enormous power of the corporations. They
own our minds because they own our communications. They have think tanks,
powerful corporation legal firms, political PACs, and already own the two
major political parties. I have been called "crazy" for suggesting that
corporations could be eliminated. But the reality is that they are like
a snow-ball running down a steep hill. They keep getting larger and
traveling faster until they hit the barn. The barn in this case is going
to be another Wall Street crash. The Abolitionist hopes that this time
the American people will not give them a leg-up like the Roosevelt
administration did, and that they never again allow them to arrange wars
that keep them in business. When they hit the barn this time they should
be outlawed. Corporation stock should be bought at par by the government
and payed for in bonds. Their property should be taken over by the
government, and turned over to employees with one vote per employee. They
are run by employees now, and it is only fit that employees should own
them and not a bunch of investors who buy and sell ownership on a whim.
***

"Neither the claims of ownership nor those of control can stand against
the paramount interests of the community ... It remains only for the
claims of the community to be put forward with clarity and force."

- A.A.Berle & Gardner C. Means, The Modern Corporation and
Private Property, 1933

"Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not
fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat
of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children ...
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We
pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than
eight thousand people ... This is not a way of life at all, in any true
sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a
cross of iron."

-Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower

__________________________________________________________________________
What makes a corporation a corporation
by John H. St.John
http://www.adnc.com/web/homer/

There is only one thing different about a corporation. It sells
stock. There is no other organization that does this. Those close-held
corporations who do not sell their stock are not a problem until someone
dies and the inheritors go public. Selling stock is selling ownership
shares. This alienates ownership from the business itself to a group of
investors or speculators who trade it on the stock-market. Thus you have
the spectacle of a Union Pension Fund with a large holding in a corporation
pressuring the corporation to merge and downsize, give money to politicians,
ignore anti-trust laws, pollute, and poison the culture with rotten TV.
This is where a corporations liability comes from. If you catch a corporation
in a crime, and they do about as many crimes as the Mafia, you can't get at
the owners. You would have to prosecute everyone who owns a share of stock.
Corporations who committ particularly henious crimes, like Union Carbide
who killed 8000 people in Bhopal India, you call in your corporate law
firms, bribe some Indian politicians, and pay off those law-suits you can't
win. Then you throw a few corporation management employees to the wolves as
scape-goats, and the following year you post a larger profit than you did
before.

The alienation of ownership caused by selling stock effectively turns the
business into a robot. Everyone within a corporation is an employee, and
this robot is programmed for nothing but profits, or anything else that
will keep its stock from going down. Our courts and legislators have given
these robots human status in everything except the vote. They even have
perks that humans do not have such as the right of emminent domain where if
they want to run power-lines through your back yard, they can force you to
sell the homestead.
__________________________________________________________________________
The Difference Between an Investor and a Speculator

by John H. St.John
http://www.adnc.com/web/homer/

An investor's basic concern is company profits and the dividends that
they provide. A speculator is a gambler who could care less about profits
and dividends. He only holds stock temporarily in the expectation that it
will go up in value. One would think that large institutional investors
like Mutual Funds, Pension funds, and even The Orange County Educational
Fund would be primarily concerned with investment security, but this is
not the case.

The Orange County bankruptcy is testimony to the falsity of this. The big
bucks have been made in a bull-market. The speculative (gambling) strategy
is responsible for most of the evils associated with the corporations. The
short-term thinking of the gambler translates into short-term planning by
the C.E.O. The Wall Street Casino provides the "think tanks", the lobbyists,
and the carnivorous strategists that have pushed corporations over the line
that separates honest business from criminal activity.

This analysis implies that corporations are inherently evil: not because
they are companies engaged in businesses, but because their ownership is
traded back and forth like Indian ponies. Ownership should be contained
within the company itself. The owner or owners of any business should be
totally liable.

The buck has to stop somewhere. If any business commits a crime; the
person within that organization responsible, should be subject to arrest
and confinement. If it is shown that he was acting under orders from the
owner. The owner should be sent up with him. If a cooperative policy vote
by members results in a crime - That cooperative should be dissolved, and
its members lose their interest in it.

All business ventures should raise capital as local and even the Federal
government must do. They should issue bonds.
____________________________________________________________________________
ON BEING ANTIGOVERNMENT

by John H.St.John
http://www.adnc.com/web/homer/

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well as Congress, The
Presidency, and the Supreme Court of The United States are under attack
from all sides. Politicians of all stripes are vying with each other to
assault a bastion of liberty that has stood the test of time. A media
controlled by the corporations is leading the pack of pseudo-rebels that
would disestablish the government of the United States. The speaker of
The House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, is calling himself a
"revolutionary" and is calling for "shutting down" the government. As the
two major political parties have been convicted of accepting bribes and
other forms of corruption, new political entrants like the Libertarians
and the Reform Party, led by anti-government demagogues, are dredging up
The Federalist Papers and campaigning for "states-rights". They want our
public school system privatized, the welfare system privatized, and
health-care turned over to the corporations.

Traditionally and historically, rebels, populists, socialists, and all
lovers of freedom have been anti-government. Many follow revolutionary
ideologies that maintain all government is the property of "the ruling
class elite". Unfortunately, in the case of Germany before World War Two,
this honest desire to bring equity to the masses of Germans was utilized
by Hitler and the "National Socialists" to destroy the Weimar Republic, a
government that was structurally democratic. These "libertarians"
accomplished their task and immediately set in motion a tyrannical
dictatorship by a mad-man.

The government of the United States of America is under just such an
attack today. If the anti-government sentiment in the body politic is
not countered by an honest solution to the many problems that it has,
there is little doubt that we will repeat the experience of Germany in
1928. Considering what happened to Germany and the world as a result of
misguided anti-government rhetoric that facilitated the rise to power
of the nazi party, we must (as honest Americans - reformers and
revolutionaries,) engage the real culprit, the international conglomerates
and corporations.

The problem is not the government, but the corporations and their Wall
Street counterparts. They have a plethora of "think tanks" and foundations
that specialize in control over the media, the universities, and the
publishing industry. They have even co-opted government agencies into their
efforts by control over the CIA, FBI, Pentagon, and the Justice Department.
Just about every political opinion held in the United States today was
crafted by corporations with the exception of Ralph Nader and the Greens,
and the Alliance led by Ronnie Dugger.

The corporations in their drive to emasculate the United States government
even use pseudo-populist demagogues like Pat Buchanan - a Hitler-like
reactionary with a racist background. Anti-corporationism is encouraged,
so long as it is directed at Jewish corporations or Japanese corporations.
These so-called "populists" are not interested in attacking defense
contractors, the big three auto-makers, nor Wall Street. The corporations
can withstand an anti-corporate attack so long as it doesn't reach the point
of denying the legitimacy of the articles of incorporation, or develop into
a frontal attack on Wall Street. It was henry Ford and General Motors who
provided the money for Hitler's storm troopers. They joined in on an attack
on "international bankers" (code phrase for Jewish bankers) but carefully
exempted American and European bankers from their condemnation.

In the corporation drive to marginalize and ultimately destroy the
American Government, they have penetrated government agencies with their
people. They have bought congressmen and presidents, they have ignored the
anti-trust laws, and they are responsible for the subsequent ill-repute,
that government has gained. The next step is to use this popular disgust
with government to do away with it. When they accomplish this - they will
introduce an American Fascist Government. I wonder what kind of liberty
the libertarians are going to find in this?

I like liberty. I want the most freedom possible in a highly technical
and mobile society. If the Libertarian Party decides to eliminate banks
and corporations ... I will then - and only then - discuss restrictions
on liberty by my government. As an American in the traditions of Washington,
Jefferson, and Lincoln, and a true patriot, I call on all Americans to
defend their government. This can only be done by eliminating the Wall
Street fabricated Golem - the corporation. It can only be done by
recognizing that claiming our air-ways from Time Warner, General Motors,
Westinghouse, and Disney. It can only be done by outlawing corporation
ownership of newspapers, corporation domination of our publishing industry,
and corporation domination of our universities.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!
_______________________________________________________________________

A few months ago when French workers and students poured into the streets
and stopped business as usual for several days to protest government
cut-backs, their rallying cry was, "Tous ensemble." "All together."

Considering our situation here, that needs to be our rallying cry. Our
unelected, invisible government of big corporations has targetted our
jobs, our schools, health care, low-cost housing, minorities, immigrants,
poor people in general-- and the environment. Will our grandchildren have
anything left to inherit but a great big toxic waste site? Not if we don't
act. As Ronnie Dugger says, "It's as if American democracy has been bombed?"
Dugger, founding editor of The Texas Observer, said this in an August 1995
article in The Nation, titled, "Real Populists Please Stand Up." Unlike that
fake populist, Pat Buchanan, Ronnie Dugger didn't try to get people fired
up without giving them a place to go. He called on people to begin the
long-term effort of trying to organize a social movement to end corporate
rule.

A lot of us have responded to that call. We've formed a national
organization, called (for now) The Alliance, and we've got about 30
chapters scattered across the country, including several in northern
California, including one right here in the East Bay. What do we ask of
you? Well, if you're involved in the work of stopping a corporate abuse
or creating a social good, we say, "More power to you!" We want to find
out how we can support your efforts and link them up with others. Maybe
all together we can start to develop a vision of a democratic alternative
to corporate rule, something so powerful that we can begin to get the
attention of some of the millions of people who think that politics is
something that only happens in Washington and Sacramento.
_______________________________________________________________________
What you can do:

1)Vote, and vote your concience, in every local and national election
without fail. And support election reforms: http://www.vote.org/
http://www.cvd.org/ (The Center for Voting and Democracy)

2)Join a progressive populist organization whose aims are to end
corporate power: http://www.igc.apc.org/alliance/ (The Alliance)

3)Support the efforts of third parties with the same goals, and become
a member of that party: http://www.greens.org/ (The Green Party)
_______________________________________________________________________
Further Reading:

Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Government Can't Kick Militarism
(Joel Andreas, New Society Publishers, 1994)

America, What Went Wrong
(Bartlett & Steele, Andrews & McMeel, 1992)

America, Who Really Pays the Taxes
(Donald Barrett & James Steele, New Society Publishers, 1994)

The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968 by William Manchester

A Peoples History of the United States
(Howard Zinn, New York: Harper & Row, 1980).

Arrogant Capital
(Kevin Phillips, Little, Brown and Company, 1994)

Betraying the National Interest
(Lappe, Schurman & Danaher, Ballantine Books, 1985)

Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy
(James Fallows, Pantheon Books, 1996)

Corporate Crime & Violence
(Russell Mokhiber, Sierra Club Books,, 1988)

Corporate Welfare: The Megabankruptcies of the 80s and 90s
(Laurence Kallen, Carol Publishing, 1991)

The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration
(Paul Hawken, HarperCollins, 1993)

EcoPopulism: Toxic Waste and the Movement for Environmental Justice
(Andrew Szasz, University of Minnesota Press, 1994)

Ecological Democracy
(Roy Morrison, South End Press, 1996)

Fooling America: How Washington Insiders Twist the Truth
and Influence the Conventional Wisdom
(Robert Parry, William Morrow, 1992)

Fear at Work: Job Blackmail, Labor and the Environment
(Richard Kazis & Richard Grossman, New Society Publishers, 1993)

Going Negative: How Attack Ads Shrink and Polarize the Electorate
(Iyenegar & Ansolabehere, Free Press, 1995)

The Greening of America
(Charles Reich, Crown Books, 1995)

The Human Body Shop: The Engineering and Marketing of Life
(Andrew Kimbrell, HarperSan Francisco, 1993)

In the Absence of the Sacred
(Jerry Mander, Sierra Club Books, 1991)

Invested in the Common Good
(Susan Meeker-Lowry, New Society Publishers, 1994)

Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass
(Dale Maharidge, Dial Press, 1985)

Jihad vs. Mcworld
(Benjamin Barber, Times Books, 1995)

Kinds of Power: A Guide to Its Intelligent Uses
(James Hillman, Currency-Doubleday, 1995)

The Last Stand: The War Between Wall Street and Main Steet Over
California's Ancient Redwoods
(David Harris, Times Books, 1995)

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History
Textbook Got Wrong (James Loewen, New Press/Norton, 1995)

Losing Ground
(Mark Dowie, MIT Press, 1995)

Make-Believe Media - The Politics of Entertainment
(Michael Parenti, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992).

The Media Monopoly
(Ben Bagdikian, Beacon Press, 1992)

Money and Class in America
(Lewis Lapham, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988)

Opening America's Markets: US Foreign Trade Policy Since 1776
(Alfred Eckes, University of North Carolina Press, 1995)

Opposing the System
(Charles Reich, Crown Books, 1995)

Paradigms in Progress: Life Beyond Economics
(Hazel Henderson, Knowledge Systems, 1991)

Politics of the Solar Age: Alternatives to Economics
(Hazel Henderson, Knowledge Systems, 1988)

The Populist Moment
(Lawrence Goodwyn, Oxford University Press, 1978)

The Poverty of Affluence: A Psychological Portrait of the
American Way of Life (Paul Wachtel, New Society Publishers, 1993)

The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times
(Sharif Abdullah, New Society Publishers, 1995)

The Quickening of America: Rebuilding Our Nation, Remaking
Our Lives (Frances Moore Lappe, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994)

Rediscovering America's Values
(Frances Moore Lappe, Ballantine Books, 1989)

Rethinking America
(Hedrick Smith, Randon House, 1995)


State of the World (Annual)
(Lester Brown, Worldwatch Institute/W.W. Norton)

The Sword and the Dollar - Imperialism, Revolution, and the
Arms Race
(Michael Parenti, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989).

Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy
(Robert McChesney, Oxford University Press, 1993)

Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the
Public Relations Industry
(John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Common Courage Press, 1995)

The Trap
(Sir James Goldsmith, Carroll & Graf, 1993)

Tyranny of the Bottom Line: Why Corporations Make Good People
Do Bad Things (Ralph Estes, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1995)

We're All Doing Time: A Guide for Getting Free
(Bo Lozoff, Prison-Ashram Project: Durham, NC, 1987)

When Corporations Rule the World
(David Korten, Kumarian Press/Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1995)

Who will tell the People - The Betrayal of American Democracy
(William Greider, New York: Touchstone, 1993).

Who Robbed America?: A Citizen's Guide to the S&L Scandal
(Michael Waldman, Random-House, 1990)

Whole Life Economics: Revaluing Daily Life
(Barbara Brandt, New Society Publishers, 1994)