“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 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 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.