The core principle of our Movement to Amend is not to end “corporate personhood” – it is to end corporate Constitutional rights!
“Corporate personhood” is legal-jargon. The phrase itself is a jarring counter-intuitive oxymoron. We all know that a corporation is not a person! For that reason alone, it’s easy for people to disdain that phrase without even thinking about it. But what does it actually mean? Or maybe the question should be, what do WE actually mean?
Corporate personhood is a broad catchall phrase, which encompasses many concepts, depending on which lawyer, politician, academic or PR agent is talking about it. These concepts include corporations being able to sue and be sued, or to be a party in a contract, or to hold title to property. Often, corporations are entirely owned by other corporations. “Corporate personhood” can also embrace the concept that a corporation is legally separate (in certain ways, such as liability and responsibility) from whoever or whatever owns the corporation. Hucksters outrageously claim that “corporate personhood” even includes the unjustifiable legal theory that a corporation is a “person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, and therefore has the inherent, unalienable rights of a person. That’s where our Movement to Amend, and we the people, have to draw the line. In fact, our Constitution has always drawn the very same line – a corporation is NOT a person, in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution completely agrees with us when we deny the fraudulent legal theory that a corporation is a Constitutional “person”. So we insist that the strange box labeled “corporate personhood” may contain a lot of things, but it certainly does not contain corporate Constitutional rights.
It is a misrepresentation of our Movement to Amend for anyone to say that it is our intention to abolish “corporate personhood”. That legal jargon phrase is not at all useful to describe our core principle. The core principle of our Movement is far more precise and focused and easily understood. It is that corporations do not legitimately have Constitutional rights, and that we the people intend to put an end to corporate Constitutional rights.
Language matters. There is, in 2015, a nationwide effort underway to discredit our Movement and to undermine our almost universal support, by misrepresenting us as wanting to “abolish corporate personhood” and therefore hold stockholders responsible for corporate actions, and prevent corporations from entering into contracts, owning property, or being held liable for misconduct.
We can try to be careful not to (unintentionally) give ammunition to those defenders of corporate rule. Let’s not let corporatists get away with misrepresenting and undermining our Movement to Amend.
See: “Let Us NOT Praise Corporate Sycophants”
See: “Do Corporations Have Constitutional Rights? Where’s the Proof?”