Berkeley City Council Calls for Revocation of Corporate Constitutional Rights

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Council votes unanimously for state and federal constitutional amendments revoking corporate constitutional protections.

On June 15 the Berkeley City Council became the latest and largest city to pass a resolution regarding corporate constitutional protections. The council unanimously supported amendments to the California state and U.S. Constitutions declaring that corporations are not granted the protections or rights of natural persons and that expenditure of corporate money is not constitutionally protected free speech. The resolution asserts that corporations dominate the political process and deny citizens their right to govern through democracy. The resolution is available by phoning 1-866-280-1409 x600 or on the web:    

Ted Nace, founder of Berkeley's Peachpit Press, a leading computer book publisher, said, "This resolution is not anti-business. In fact, placing limits on the political power of mega-corporations aids independent businesses and smaller chains." He added, "It coincides with perfectly sound business logic. Eliminating the judicial construction of corporate constitutional rights is quite vital to preserving and enhancing business conditions." Nace authored the book, "Gangs of America: the Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy."

Councilmember Betty Olds said, "I voted for it after so many people contacted me in favor of it plus just common sense that it was the right thing to do."

The Berkeley resolution is the most recent resolution in the U.S. addressing what is frequently referred to as "corporate personhood." The first was in Point Arena, CA in 2000. Arcata, CA passed a resolution this May and is currently drafting local legislation. Licking Township in Pennsylvania has so far passed two ordinances and has several more pending.

The Washington, Maine, and New Hampshire state Democratic parties have recently adopted platform planks decrying corporate personhood. The Green Party also has a similar plank in its national platform.

The Berkeley City Council vote comes while the documentary film, "The Corporation," a study of corporations, their origins and their place in the modern world, is playing at a local Berkeley cinema as well as nearly 300 theatres all over the country.


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Kirsten Lambertsen
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