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McCarriage of Justice

How many strikes should a corporation be allowed before we, the public, revoke their charter?

Fast food giant McDonald’s has just been handed a stunning defeat by a Malaysian high court in an epic trademark dispute. The ruling ended an eight-year battle in which the megacorporation attempted to prevent a small curry restaurant from using the prefix “Mc” in its name. McCurry (which stands for “Malaysian Chicken Curry”) argued that it had every right to use the two consonants and that McDonald’s claim that the two restaurants could be confused was unfounded. McCurry offers an Indian menu (including, among other things, fish head curry) while McDonald’s sticks to arguably less palatable “Western” fare. In addition to granting McCurry the rights to the disputed prefix, the court ordered McDonald’s to pay all legal costs incurred by the defendant. McDonald’s has a history of attacking anyone who dares string the two letters together: the company has previously brought legal action against a curry restaurant in Jamaica and the Oxford English Dictionary for listing the definition of “McJob.” Hopefully having its McAss handed to it by Malaysia’s highest court will end the corporation’s global monopoly on the two letters, allowing small business owners and a good part of Scotland to breathe easy.

But what can we do to prevent bullying megacorporations from treating the world like one giant school yard? For every Malaysian McCurry there are untold numbers of little guys slain by corporate Goliaths. For every staggering judgment (like Pfizer’s recent $2.3 billion settlement with the FDA) there are a slew of shady backroom deals in which corporations make a mint at the public’s expense. How many strikes should a corporation be allowed before we, the public, are allowed to revoke their charter? What are some effective ways for civil society to fight back against corporate power?

Sarah Nardi

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192 comments on the article “McCarriage of Justice”

Displaying 111 - 120 of 192

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Anonymous

Actually that is not the only example. Egypt under Sadat and Mubarak also qualify. In fact much of the middle east currently suffers from right wing dictatorships - although they have also suffered left wing dictatorships. As do other regimes in Latin America until the wave of democratization in the late seventies. However, are these regimes fascist?

It is key to remember that fascism - referring to the ideologies developed in the interwar era - was created in response to communism. The term is difficult to pin down exactly since Hitler's definition and Mussolini's, not to mention Franco's or other versions differ on many points. Therefore any use of the term to apply to movements today ends up being vague. Not every dictator is a fascist and not all fascists are dictators in today's definition. I would refer you to Umberto Eco's piece on searching for a definition for fascism. I believe that it is in his book Five Moral Pieces.

Anonymous

Actually that is not the only example. Egypt under Sadat and Mubarak also qualify. In fact much of the middle east currently suffers from right wing dictatorships - although they have also suffered left wing dictatorships. As do other regimes in Latin America until the wave of democratization in the late seventies. However, are these regimes fascist?

It is key to remember that fascism - referring to the ideologies developed in the interwar era - was created in response to communism. The term is difficult to pin down exactly since Hitler's definition and Mussolini's, not to mention Franco's or other versions differ on many points. Therefore any use of the term to apply to movements today ends up being vague. Not every dictator is a fascist and not all fascists are dictators in today's definition. I would refer you to Umberto Eco's piece on searching for a definition for fascism. I believe that it is in his book Five Moral Pieces.

McAnonymous

You bring up some good points. The definition of fascism that I find most useful is: subjugation of individual rights for the benefit of the state - essentially state worship at any cost. In any case - it's the end state (the results) that I believe defines fascism. A group of elites that have harnessed some populist social cause or unrest (this can be race-based, nationalistically based, morality based, class based, etc) to achieve power through action - the end result of this is deprivation of individual choices and rights in order to further a "common" cause. I truly believe that this very closely describes so many "liberals" today - fascism that kills you with kindness. I don't need the ever more left leaning Canadian elites (bureaucrats, legal system and institutions) to tell me I can't write something that may "offend" someone else, or that it's the state's responsibility to tell me whether I can spank my child, or that I have to pay some spurious "climate debt" to other nations to "save the world."

The reason why the use of the term seems so vague today is that the political left (from the Progressives through to the Democrats) have succeeded in redefining the political spectrum with socialist dictators on the extreme left and "fascist" dictators on the extreme right. This is entirely wrong. The spectrum should reflect statism on the left (those that think the state is the solution to everything, expansion of state purview - this can be socialism, fascism, communism etc) and individualism on the right (individual rights, property rights, freedom of choice, minimal government interference). In this way all political theories can very clearly be defined.

McAnonymous

You bring up some good points. The definition of fascism that I find most useful is: subjugation of individual rights for the benefit of the state - essentially state worship at any cost. In any case - it's the end state (the results) that I believe defines fascism. A group of elites that have harnessed some populist social cause or unrest (this can be race-based, nationalistically based, morality based, class based, etc) to achieve power through action - the end result of this is deprivation of individual choices and rights in order to further a "common" cause. I truly believe that this very closely describes so many "liberals" today - fascism that kills you with kindness. I don't need the ever more left leaning Canadian elites (bureaucrats, legal system and institutions) to tell me I can't write something that may "offend" someone else, or that it's the state's responsibility to tell me whether I can spank my child, or that I have to pay some spurious "climate debt" to other nations to "save the world."

The reason why the use of the term seems so vague today is that the political left (from the Progressives through to the Democrats) have succeeded in redefining the political spectrum with socialist dictators on the extreme left and "fascist" dictators on the extreme right. This is entirely wrong. The spectrum should reflect statism on the left (those that think the state is the solution to everything, expansion of state purview - this can be socialism, fascism, communism etc) and individualism on the right (individual rights, property rights, freedom of choice, minimal government interference). In this way all political theories can very clearly be defined.

McAnonymous

I ignored this yesterday as I was focused on other points but, how the hell can you possibly label the dictatorships in the middle east as right wing??? They are completely separate from the political spectrum - they're religious, islamic states! Believe you me, that's got about as much in common with right wing as obama has. You can't, on one side idealize and identify with the palestinians as your cause de jour and on the other side demonize the middle eastern islamic dictators because of their "right wing-ness." Doesn't fit. You can demonize them for their abuse of human rights (women, homosexuals, apostate muslims, muslim sects they disagree with, every other religious group on the planet) and their penchant for sponsoring terrorism - but not for being right wing.

McAnonymous

I ignored this yesterday as I was focused on other points but, how the hell can you possibly label the dictatorships in the middle east as right wing??? They are completely separate from the political spectrum - they're religious, islamic states! Believe you me, that's got about as much in common with right wing as obama has. You can't, on one side idealize and identify with the palestinians as your cause de jour and on the other side demonize the middle eastern islamic dictators because of their "right wing-ness." Doesn't fit. You can demonize them for their abuse of human rights (women, homosexuals, apostate muslims, muslim sects they disagree with, every other religious group on the planet) and their penchant for sponsoring terrorism - but not for being right wing.

Anonymouse

Not every regime in the middle east is, or was, islamist. Just off the top of my head, Iran under the Shah, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Neither were Islamist states. Both were right wing. Of course you would be unaware of such things since they don't fit within your view of the world. Secondly, when does being religious prevent you from being a conservative or right wing? It is certainly no impediment in the US.

Anonymouse

Not every regime in the middle east is, or was, islamist. Just off the top of my head, Iran under the Shah, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Neither were Islamist states. Both were right wing. Of course you would be unaware of such things since they don't fit within your view of the world. Secondly, when does being religious prevent you from being a conservative or right wing? It is certainly no impediment in the US.

McAnonymous

So name me one current regime in the middle east that isn't an islamic theocracy. We were talking in present tense. The Shah was admittedly modern in a lot of ways and while a lot of progress was made with women's rights and education, there were obviously a lot of problems with his policies. He did manage to expropriate large parcels of land owned by the rich and redistributed it to millions of farmers as well as enforcing share participation for labour - not exactly right wing. What was your point?
Saddam Hussein was leader of the Ba'ath party - perhaps you've heard of it (actually is original name was the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party). It's central tenets are (from the party's own information): secularism, socialism and pan-Arab unionism. How can you get so many things wrong? As soon as the Ba'ath party came to power in Iraq in 1968 the leader nationalized the oil industry - that's Chavez-style, not right wing. When the Ba'ath party came to power in Syria the first move was widespread nationalization - again, how is that right wing?
Just a quick lesson on religion. Christianity in the western world doesn't preclude you from being either left or right wing. In fact most of our government institutions and legal/human rights heritage comes from Judeo-Christian teachings. That's because Christian teachings of "love your neighbour as yourself" and servitude to others fit well with a modern society. Islam doesn't acknowledge any nations or political movements outside of Islam. For a true Muslim, there is no nation other than the Muslim nation (that's also from the Ba'ath Party website). That's how an islamic state is outside of the political spectrum.

McAnonymous

So name me one current regime in the middle east that isn't an islamic theocracy. We were talking in present tense. The Shah was admittedly modern in a lot of ways and while a lot of progress was made with women's rights and education, there were obviously a lot of problems with his policies. He did manage to expropriate large parcels of land owned by the rich and redistributed it to millions of farmers as well as enforcing share participation for labour - not exactly right wing. What was your point?
Saddam Hussein was leader of the Ba'ath party - perhaps you've heard of it (actually is original name was the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party). It's central tenets are (from the party's own information): secularism, socialism and pan-Arab unionism. How can you get so many things wrong? As soon as the Ba'ath party came to power in Iraq in 1968 the leader nationalized the oil industry - that's Chavez-style, not right wing. When the Ba'ath party came to power in Syria the first move was widespread nationalization - again, how is that right wing?
Just a quick lesson on religion. Christianity in the western world doesn't preclude you from being either left or right wing. In fact most of our government institutions and legal/human rights heritage comes from Judeo-Christian teachings. That's because Christian teachings of "love your neighbour as yourself" and servitude to others fit well with a modern society. Islam doesn't acknowledge any nations or political movements outside of Islam. For a true Muslim, there is no nation other than the Muslim nation (that's also from the Ba'ath Party website). That's how an islamic state is outside of the political spectrum.

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