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Corporations No Longer Persons: City Council

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Section: International News Geography: USA California Topics: democracy

June 25, 2004

Corporations No Longer Persons: City Council

The city council of Arcata, California voted in favour of a resolution to oppose the granting of the legal rights of individuals to people. "Only persons who are human beings should be able to participate in the democratic process," the motion read. The motion passed four votes to one.

"Corporate personhood" has been the subject of at least one other city council resolution (in Porter, Pennsylvania) and a number of high profile lawsuits dating back over 100 years. Most recently, Nike Corp. defended charges of false advertising by claiming that it had the right to freedom of speech. Today in the US, corporations have rights to free speech, privacy, the fifth amendment, and protection against discrimination.

While municipalities do not have jurisdiction over corporations, recent years have seen an increase in the engagement of City Councils in national issues in the US. Dozens of cities passed anti-war resolutions before the invasion of Iraq, and the city of San Francisco recently performed gay marriages. The Arcata council members plan to use the resolution as a basis for ordinances addressing what they call "the legal fiction of corporate personhood".

» Arcata Eye: City Council depersonalizes corporations

» Wikipedia: Corporate personhood

» Project Censored: Corporate Personhood Challenged

» Thom Hartmann: To Restore Democracy, First Abolish Corporate Personhood

» Thom Hartmann: Americans Revolt in Pennsylvania - New Battle Lines Are Drawn

» Dragonfly Review: Putting Corporations on the Couch

» Reclaim Democracy: Corporate Personhood

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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