Asheville activist groups roast corporate personhood

The corporate person representation doesn't want to hear from Abraham Lincoln, played by actor Bob Jackson Miner. Miner spoke of the importance of removing corporate money from politics and repealing the Citizens United decision.

“The corporate person,” dressed in a suit and tie with a Monopoly-guy visage, took several whacks with a gavel at a globe suspended on a string in Pack Square today. Eventually, the string broke, sending the “Earth” crashing to the ground, whereupon the evildoer smashed it into pieces, and collected the money inside. Little did he know, destroying the Earth would lead to his own demise.

The event, a lampoon of “the corporate person,” was put on by Move to Amend Buncombe County and REAL Cooperative. The groups say the birth of the corporation with legal rights of a person was cemented by an 1886 Supreme Court case, Santa Clara County vs. the Southern Pacific Railroad, which dealt with taxation of railroad properties.

The corporate person smashes a glob with a gavel, symbolizing corporations willingness to use the Earth's resources for maximum profit.
The corporate person smashes a globe with a gavel, symbolizing corporations’ willingness to use the Earth’s resources for maximum profit. Photos by Pat Barcas

The May 24 celebration ridiculed the 1886 court decision, arguing that corporations are not people, with musical acts, an appearance by Abraham Lincoln played by actor Bob Jackson Miner and a poetry recital by local activist Katia O’Connor.

“Even when people have the greatest ideas, corporations are keeping these ideas down. They have the louder vote. This needs to be the first issue to change, then other issues will follow,” O’Connor said.

The corporate person has smashed the earth, revealing money inside, much to the horror of people watching.
The corporate person has smashed the Earth, revealing money inside.

The event emphasized that “the corporate person” enjoys all the rights, protections and freedoms of a U.S. citizen, yet is gifted with immortality. As long as money stays in politics, organizers said, corporations will be free to buy whatever they need to impact regulations and laws in their favor.

“We wanted to have an event that eliminates the reality of the corporate person,” said Diana Kruk, co-chair of Move to Amend Buncombe County, who recited a quote she thought brought home the group’s position. “Slavery was legal fiction that a person was property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.”

Move to Amend Buncombe is part of the national Move to Amend movement.

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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at pbarcas@gmail.com. Follow me @pbarcas

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15 thoughts on “Asheville activist groups roast corporate personhood

  1. Colonialgirl

    Morons; They have NOT a single clue as to why this nation is great and waht pays all the bills for their FREEBIES.

    • Jim

      Well considering the amount of corporate welfare and corruption in concert with the US government, the modern political system does not represent us at all. IMO, the US government has become the enemy of the US citizen and the doer of big business and the US Chamber of Commerce.. Don’t think I’m alone in that view or extreme in having it whatsoever.

      Read up on the story of Blitz gas container company that was sued out of existence with the help of the government and it’s crony laws by allowing liability suits against the company because their gas cans would explode WHEN USED OVER AN OPEN FIRE. They could no longer afford the liability insurance. And if that isn’t just plain wrong, I don’t know what is.

      • Jim

        Let me add their gas cans when filled with gas would explode over an open fire.

    • We The People

      Thank you for commenting. We respect your views and we understand how confusing these issues can be, especially in relation to what actually makes our nation great and where the many benefits of citizenship come from. We appreciate the good things that the people working in corporate cultures bring into the world. We realize how important it is that corporations provide the jobs and services they do. We agree that ethical corporations should thrive. That is not the issue. The issue, rather, is that many cartels of powerful corporations are systematically causing catastrophic harm to the planet, the people and to our unalienable human rights.

      Corporate personhood is the absurd legal fiction that property is a person. Corporate personhood means that “we the people” cannot possibly be represented in government.

      Corporate personhood and democracy are mutually exclusive. Based on results, we can have one or the other, not both. We supporting move to amend choose democracy.

    • gklagan

      Insightful criticism, you’ve thoroughly refuted their point.

  2. Luis

    What freebies? The middle class is shrinking and it’s all do to corporate greed.

    • Jim

      Only half right. The other which you leave out is open and illegal immigration championed by the right for low wages and the left for votes. If the US government wants it, it’s bad for Americans. You want higher wages, better start looking as to why this US government sues states who want to close their borders. And gives illegals automatic benefits that US citizens do not qualify for.

    • bsummers

      These folks are protesting private, for-profit corporate “persons”, not public, not-for-profit corporations like a municipal government.

  3. Luis

    illegal immigration has very little to do with with the shrinking middle class.
    Try, 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%.

  4. Diana Kruk

    It has been great to see all the conversation the event and this article has sparked. Conversations (hopefully respectful) are key to fixing the imbalance that has been created by a number of factors in this country. Move to Amend has a narrow focus. Our organization believes the the root issue that plagues our country will be re-balanced if 1. Money is not free speech. 2. Corporations are not people.

    Through the courts in this nation 1. money has been upheld as speech, and 2. corporations and other artificial entities, have gained the constitutional rights of personhood under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

    It is my beliefs that those constitutional amendments were meant for people. That is often where a colorful and exhilarating debate and conversation begins. I welcome such a debate.

    For several years now corporations and other artificial entities, have used those rights to gain more and more money, property, dominion, and power through the courts. Some of the direct results of this are things like Asheville’s water system being taken over by the state. Also events like town and states being sued by large entities all over this country.

    Move to Amend is a non partisan organization with a narrow focus. Our goal is to re-balance what is out of balance in our nation. I encourage everyone to come out and learn how you can be part of the solution that will correct that imbalance that has been growing for years.

    We will be meeting at the North Asheville Library on Monday June 8th @ 7:00pm. If you have any questions please email me at mabco@movetoamend.org.

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