Independents and Third Parties Move Against Corporate Personhood in VT

Corporate personhood is an issue that is not much discussed at major party debates and does not present itself in the platforms of either the Republicans or Democrats. However, amongst many third party activists and candidates, corporate personhood is a headlining issue. This article highlights how the issue has become an important one in Vermont with many third party figures and independents leading the charge.

David Cobb is determined to change that, and he returned to Vermont this week to promote the next steps in a campaign to amend the U.S. Constitution. Last January, Cobb, a former Green Party candidate for president who leads the Move to Amend campaign, spoke about the issue in Burlington, Waitsfield and Montpelier. He also met with 11 state senators who agreed to support a Vermont resolution calling on Congress to initiate the process.

In a joint interview with Cobb on Vermont Public Radio, Ben Cohen explained this week that he originally felt amending the constitution “was an incredibly high bar. But when the Occupy Wall Street movement came around, I thought this makes it possible.”

In addition to David Cobb, a former Presidential candidate of the Green Party, various other third party and independent figures and organizations are mentioned: Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, the Progressive Party of Vermont, and Progressive State Rep. Chris Pearson.

11 thoughts on “Independents and Third Parties Move Against Corporate Personhood in VT

  1. history ----- on the current situation(s) .... Lake

    …………..story from the NY Times detailing the Catholic Church’s new ‘We’re the real victim here’ tactic:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/us/bishops-renew-fight-on-abortion-and-gay-marriage.html

    The reason that this is a phony victim scenario is that the views of the Catholic Church (no same sex marriage) are still reflected in the vast majority of states.

    Now, as this changes, the church feels threatened that something will become legal that they do not support.

    To that end, they raise all sorts of phony alarms about “religious liberty” and “freedom of worship” implying that jack-booted government thugs will force Catholic churches to perform same-sex marriages.

    (This is also a clever combination use of the “cause confusion and doubt” tactic often used in issue campaigns.)

    *Reality check time! Number of same sex marriages that the government has forced any church to perform: ZERO.*

    In fact, the recent same sex marriage law that passed in New York state specifically states that churches cannot be compelled to perform same sex marriage ceremony’s.

    The only “right” being “restricted” is the desire of the Catholic church to see their religious view that same-sex marriage is forbidden be reflected in the laws of the state, regardless of the view point of the general public and their elected representatives.

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  2. Gene Berkman

    So has the Vermont Progressive Party closed its bank account? Because it can only have a bank account by exercizing “corporate personhood.”

    The real message here is that David Cobb and other left-wing losers want to amend the constitution to limit freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Not sure how that comports with the “ten essential values” of the Green Party.

  3. Pingback: Independents and Third Parties Move Against Corporate Personhood in VT | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

  4. Trent Hill Post author

    Gene–I’m sure they’d make the same argument that Libertarians who use public roads use.

  5. John Blutarsky

    So has the Vermont Progressive Party closed its bank account? Because it can only have a bank account by exercizing “corporate personhood.”

    Really? I have opened party DBAs as well s business DBAs without incorporating. Not for the Progressives and not in Vermont, but yeah.

  6. Tom Blanton

    Corporate personhood is a difficult issue because of 1st Amendment considerations, but on the other hand corporations have no inherent rights just as states have no rights.

    Corporations are creatures of statue and whatever “rights” they may have are entirely statutory. While it can be argued that corporations are a group of individuals, it is obvious that to limit the so-called rights of a corporation does not limit the rights of those individuals as individuals.

    Many of those arguing that corporations have rights, as a group of individuals, will also argue that there is no such thing as group rights. They can’t have it both ways.

    It often seems that corporations dominate the politics of America, resulting in a form of fascism. Perhaps those who wish to argue for corporate political power should explain the virtues of corporatism/fascism and the efficiencies of public/private partnerships.

  7. Gene Berkman

    John @ 5 – “corporate personhood” does not just refer to corporations. Any entity other than an individual human being exercizes corporate personhood if that entity can own property or enter into contracts. So political parties, the ACLU, etc all exercize corporate personhood, whether they have “incorporated” as limited liability companies or not.

  8. Gene Berkman

    Tom @ 7 – corporations in Fascist Italy were not limited liability companies. They were state agencies created for the purpose of economic planning.

    In the Fascist regime, the economy was divided into 22 sectors. In each sector there was a workers union and an employers association. Membership in the workers union and the employers assocation were compulsory.

    Each workers union was joined with the employers association for that sector in a “Corporazione” better translated as a guild. Benito Mussolini was President of every corporation, as part of his state position as Duce (the Italian word for Fuehrer) and the Vice-President of each corporation was a government bureaucrat appointed by Mussolini.

    It is true that we have a mixed economy in which big businesses lobby for favorable regulations, protection from competition, and government contracts and subsidies, and this should be opposed. But corporations – limited liability companies – are a necessary part of economic activity in a free enterprise society.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    GB@9

    “corporations – limited liability companies – are a necessary part of economic activity in a free enterprise society.”

    That’s an oxymoronic statement. If limited liability is created by state fiat, it’s not a free enterprise society.

  10. Tom Blanton

    In effect, the government creates cartels through laws, regulations, and policies that require uniformity in the operation of corporations. Nearly every aspect of our economy is distorted by government coercion implemented by politicians, often acting on behalf of America’s largest corporations.

    The idea that limited liability companies are a necessary part of economic activity in a free enterprise society is simply not true.

    For the vast majority of small businesses, limited liability is not an issue as insurance can be acquired to protect against losses for unintentional acts. Even for large businesses, limited liability only serves as a small incentive to attract investors. There are other ways of funding business besides selling shares.

    Perhaps limited liability companies are integral to a system based on crony capitalism. But, that really isn’t free enterprise. I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last to suggest that America’s current economic system is a form of fascism, despite the fact that it is not exactly Mussolini’s model.

    Now, how does limited liability fit in with personhood? Answer: it doesn’t. If limited liability is a necessary part of economic activity in a free enterprise society, then why wouldn’t anyone that does business as an unincorporated sole proprietor be granted limited liability?

    Maybe if numerous sole proprietors bundled millions of dollars to slip to the politicians, they too could enjoy limited liability.

    It would seem that those who favor corporate personhood are actually advocating that corporations should be “more equal” than individuals, whether the issue is limited liability or free speech.

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