Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wall Street Journal rails against curbs on Corporations' First Amendment rights

The Wall Street Journal sees itself as the defender of democracy, freedom and the American way; the American way being free markets, and "Full Spectrum Dominance", the right of capital to go where it wants when it wants, free from interference by governments, Unions and anything else that stands in the way of profits.  The intervention of public funds to drag the system from the edge of the abyss in 2007 was an exception of course.

The Journal, as head cheerleader for the 1%, the unelected minority that govern society, is concerned about political campaigns that aim to prevent companies from exercising their free speech rights.  These campaigns have heated up, the Journals editors say, since the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" ruling "Restored First Amendment rights to Unions and corporations". The "Citizens" in this case being the captains of industry and finance capital. WSJ editorial (3-19-12)

This ruling paved the way for Super Pacs, political action committees that allow for unlimited donations from corporations, Unions and individuals.  The monies can then be doled out independently as if the candidate or campaign  has no connections or interest in the PAC and doesn't communicate with the PAC although the PAC, can through various means, communicate with the campaign that receives its money and former campaign staffers can form a PAC or work for one. 

The ruling gives an impression of fairness as it gives the same rights to Unions as it does corporations, but workers' organizations, while the leaders waste millions of dollars supporting the corporate Democratic Party, cannot compete with capitalists when it comes to money, they have more of it, that's why they're capitalists. Union/workers'  power is in numbers and the ability of those numbers to halt economic activity. Corporations already outspend Unions in politics by 15 to 1, and that doesn't include what we can't see.

The decision is a hot topic but you have to sort of laugh at the WSJ whining about Exxon's right to free speech.  Even small shareholders are jumping on the bandwagon and want more "disclosure" taking advantage of an SEC rule that allows any shareholder with more than $2000 in shares to introduce proxy proposals.

This is a concerted campaign by "Unions, left-wing activists, and their factotums to expose and then vilify companies that disagree with them" the Journal whines.......Corporations are not democracies." Indeed they are not, and neither should they be classified as a person and given the rights of a person. "Money isn't speech and Corporations aren't people" says David Kairy's, a Temple University Law Professor.

Firstly, we have a government that is a government that represents the interests of capital and defends the rights of capital and the capitalist economic system above all else. We don't live in a feudal or slave system of economy and government.  We also have probably the most corrupt political system of the advanced capitalist economies with two big business parties having a monopoly, virtually a dictatorship over political life; and they talk about persecution. Elections in the US cost billions. The 1% has no ideological or political opponent of substance.  The issue is that big business does not appreciate the public poking its nose in to the goings on in the business world.

The WSJ as defender of "Full Spectrum Dominance."*  objects to attempts to "limit political activity by 'trade associations' which means.... the Chamber of Commerce, or the Financial Services Round Table." "If companies can't donate themselves, and can't work through associations, what free-speech rights do they have left?" These are the various gangs that are affiliated to the 1%.

Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog group (left wing the WSJ calls it) admits that its activities will over time "dissuade corporations from interfering in our democracy.".  Wishful thinking but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. At the moment, the US mortgage industry is publicly owned.  When the Saving and Loan industry collapsed, the government nationalized the debt, made us pay it.  No cries of "communism" there.  In this crisis they have handed private toxic assets over to the public.  The taxpayer backs up all sorts of private investment.  So much for the vibrant private sector. Despite their whining, the WSJ and the 1% have no problem with government interference when it comes to socializing losses and privatizing profits.

Corporations, the dominant industries in society are not people, but people own them, a class of people.  What they are is the means by which we produce the necessities of life and such should not be owned and their functioning determined by private individuals on the basis of personal gain, or profit.

* "I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as 'full spectrum dominance'. That is not my term, it is theirs. 'Full spectrum dominance' means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources."
Harold Pinter in his Nobel speech.

No comments: