California Community Says Corporations Aren't People

Challenging Corporate Power:
California Community Says Companies Are Not People;
Bans Campaign Donations

Democracy Unlimited
by Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap

In 2006, Humboldt County, California, became the latest, and largest, jurisdiction to abolish the legal doctrine known as “corporate personhood.”

Measure T was successful because our all-volunteer campaign came together to pass a law that bans non-local corporations from participating in Humboldt elections. The referendum, which passed with 55 percent of the vote, also asserts that corporations cannot claim the First Amendment right to free speech.

Read more @ YES! Magazine.


Cato said...

The problem is, you sue people. Corporations are considered an artificial person so you don't sue each and every shareholder who has done no wrong, but rather the corporation as a whole. While the shareholder may take a hit, he does not lose more than he invested. Without this artificial personhood, there would be no reason to have corporations. I know some people like to say how terrible corporations are, but think of all the useful things that have come about because of corporations and their massive amount of capital (which wouldn't exist if there wasn't limited liability).

corporation, n. An entity (usu. a business) having authority under law to act as a single person distinct from the shareholders who own it and having rights to issue stock and exist indefinitely; a group or succession of persons established in accordance with legal rules into a legal or juristic person that has legal personality distinct from the natural persons who make it up, exists indefinitely apart from them, and has the legal powers that its constitution gives it.

"A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.... [I]t possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it." Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 518, 636 (1819) (Marshall, J.).

666 said...


Do think -- on average -- a corporation has more political muscle that a human being?

Cato said...

A political action committees do, mainly because it's individuals pooling wealth going after "single issues" (although the media makes it seem as if it a bad thing).

The only solution to stop corporate interest in politics is laissez faire, for then corporations would have no interest in politics. As it stands you have a government that will meddle in their affairs, of course the corporation will want to have that come out as the most favorable outcome they can manage.