Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Citizen Control Over Corporations
SECTION TITLE: CURBING CORPORATE POWER
SECTION SUBTITLE: People before profits
OUR POSITION: Greens want to reduce the economic and political power of large corporations, end corporate personhood and re-design corporations to serve our society, democracy and the environment.
Unelected and unaccountable corporate executives are not merely exercising power in our society -- they are ruling us. Greens will reduce corporate powers and privileges, including by stripping them of artificial "personhood" and constitutional protections. The Green Party supports strong and effectively enforced antitrust laws and regulation to counteract the concentration of economic and political power that imposes a severe toll on people, places and the planet.
Greens believe the legal structure of the corporation is obsolete. At present, corporations are designed solely to generate profit. This legal imperative -- profit above all else -- is damaging our country and our planet in countless ways. We must change the legal design of corporations so that they generate profits, but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public health, workers, or the communities in which the corporation operates.
One point remains unequivocal: our planet cannot afford business as usual any longer. Because corporations have become the dominant economic institution of the planet, we must compel them to serve human and environmental needs, so that our peoples, nations and environment may live long and prosper.
1. End corporate personhood.
2. Federal chartering of corporations that includes comprehensive, strict and enforceable social responsibility requirements.
3. Strengthen the civil justice system to ensure that it holds corporations strictly liable for corporate crime, fraud, violence and malfeasance. This would include revoking the charters of corporations that routinely violate safety, health, environmental protection or other laws.
4. Empower shareholders to stop abuses by the managers they hire through a structure of democratic governance and elections.
5. Enforce existing antitrust laws and support even tougher new ones to curtail the overwhelming economic and political power of large corporations.
6. Increase funding for and strengthen oversight of federal antitrust enforcement.
2004 PLATFORM SECTION ON CITIZEN CONTROL OVER CORPORATIONS
We must end corporate welfare. Currently, corporations possess more rights and freedoms than natural human persons. Through a series of judicial rulings, and by virtue of their ability to control governments and economies through concentration of wealth, corporations have rewritten our Constitution and have emerged as unaccountable, unelected governments. The Green Party supports all reforms that seek governmental regulation of corporations. In the interim, we support measures that hold executives and officers of corporations directly liable for harm that results from their decisions.
The U.S. intentionally defines corporations through charters or 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 to limit corporate authority and ensure that when a corporation caused harm, they could revoke its charter.
In the late 19th century, however, corporations claimed special protections under the Constitution. They insisted that once formed, corporations might operate forever with the privilege of limited liability and freedom from community or worker interference in business judgments.
One point remains unequivocal: Because corporations have become the dominant economic institution of the planet, they must address and squarely face the social and environmental problems that afflict humankind.
1. The federal government doles out billions in subsidies and tax breaks to corporate special interests. The current level of influence now being exerted by corporate interests over the public interest is unacceptable. We challenge the propriety and equity of corporate welfare that comes in the form of tax breaks, subsidies, payments, grants, bailouts, giveaways, unenforced laws and regulations; and in historic, continuing access to our vast public resources, including the airwaves, millions of acres of land, forests, mineral resources, intellectual property rights, and government-created research.
2. We support strong national standards for labor rights and the environment so that corporations can no longer force states and cities into a brutal competition for jobs at any cost. Legal doctrines must be continually revised in recognition of the changing needs of an active, democratic citizenry. Huge multinational corporations are artificial creations, not natural persons uniquely sheltered under constitutional protections. We support local and state government attempts to define corporations and to prevent them from exercising democratic rights that are uniquely possessed by the citizens of the United States.