Corporations — legal fictions that we ourselves created centuries ago — have whittled away the legal bounds that once constrained them. Without the imperative to act responsibly, on behalf of the wider public, they have run wild and reckless, looting their spoils and spitting in the face of justice. Less than a decade after Citizens United, they have more rights and freedoms, powers, and privileges than do we, the people.
We now go to them on bended knee. Please do right by us, we plead. Please recognize the ecological crisis we all inhabit. Please don’t expose us, poison us, suffuse us with toxins and carcinogens. Please keep your tax dollars here and not with some offshore haven. Please don’t enable foreign despots and oligarchs. Please pay us a decent paycheck, enough for food and shelter. Please don’t let foreign powers elect our leaders for us. Please don’t let your algorithms think our thoughts for us.
We’ve spent so much time bowed down in deference, we’ve forgotten how to stand up straight.
We have to get back some of that boldness that we had 150 years ago, when misbehaving corporations were slapped down ferociously, corporate charters routinely revoked, and criminal enterprises put out of business for good.
We, the people, are sovereign. We are in charge, we call the shots. We run the show. We have to realize in a fresh, powerful new way that
corporations are legal entities that we ourselves created. As such they are our subordinates, and we instruct them — not the other way around.
Let’s keep that simple fact in mind as we make our way through the Year of the Rat.