If you are not familiar with Indiegogo, here’s your chance to learn about some neat *#!t. Indiegogo is one of the up and coming crowdsource funding sites. Normal (sometimes not so normal folks), can go on line and pick a cause or project to help fund. You can start a campaign as well. I look at this site about once or twice a month. Campaigns range from raising money to help families pay medical bills to launching anime or video games. My family has pitched in a few pennies. It’s not the “perks” offered that compels you to open your wallet, though some of them are pretty cool like signed art work or tee shirts. The real reason, it feels good!
This morning I stumbled across a winner, the AMEND O’ MATIC. You could call it a rolling art installation, a mobile classroom, a political statement. According to the team who put this concept together, Move to Amend and Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s it is a giant machine/vehicle that will both serve as a public art spectacle, information center and money stamping machine where people can insert their dollar bills and receive them back imprinted with messages of "Corporations Aren't People. Money Isn't Speech." and "Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians." and "The System Isn't Broken, It's Fixed." Personally, I love it! The campaign raised $20,000 in the first four days. I guess I’m not the only one who thinks this is a good idea.
These dollars will go back into circulation bearing a non-too subtle message. If you think the possibility that anyone will even see the message is remote, try a Google search, defacing money. I did and got 225,000 hits in 30 seconds; writing on money scored 362,000,000 in 36 seconds. Prison planet forum has an entire section on writing on money. I’m not too crazy about their messages, like “911 was an inside job” and the “Obama deception” but as Voltaire might have said, “I will defend to the death”…no strike that, maybe to the voting booth, I will defend your right to say it.
I wonder how the people at the Prison Planet forum feel about corporations being people. If I had to guess, I’d say they aren’t too fond of the idea. After all one of the people posted a suggestion of what to do with the marked bills; buy dried fruits, canned foods or ammo. This doesn’t sound like it came from a CEO. Hey they might even like the slogan, “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.” Or this one is cute, “I’ll believe corporations are people when we don’t have to break one up for its health.”
Whatever side of the fence we the people stand on most of us don’t believe corporations deserve person-hood, at least not in the sense that we of frail mortal being lug around. The author of the first treatise on corporate law in English, defined a corporation as, a collection of many individuals united into one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested, by policy of the law, with the capacity of acting, in several respects, as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, of contracting obligations, and of suing and being sued, of enjoying privileges and immunities in common, and of exercising a variety of political rights, more or less extensive, according to the design of its institution, or the powers conferred upon it, either at the time of its creation, or at any subsequent period of its existence. (A Treatise on the Law of Corporations, Stewart Kyd (1793-1794)) Well that clears things up, I say sarcastically.
Professor John Witt of Yale Law School talked with NPR’s Melissa Block about corporate personhood. Professor Witt explained corporations have been considered metaphysical people since chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, Morrison Waite, stood up in January of 1886 and said that corporations were persons for the purposes of the 14th Amendment, the same amendment which overruled Dred Scott vs. Sandford. The Equal Protection Clause was instituted in Brown vs. The Board of Education. Witt summed it up, “I don't think we'd want to end corporate person hood in the sense that ordinary people, including people in the Occupy Wall Street movement, may want to get together and form groups, which should have respect of the legal process. What we might want to do, and this is what the Occupy Wall Street folks have right, is recognize the different characteristic features of large groups invested with powerful amounts of capital in our political process.” I will second that.
“Hey, maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events,” a line from one of my favorite movies, Aliens and it continues, “but we just got our asses kicked, pal!” The character Hudson, played by Bill Paxton was referring to the beating the good guys were taking from the bloodthirsty aliens. In the case of our country, we the real people are getting our asses kicked by the metaphysical people. Green rules and I’m not talking environmental sustainability here!
P.S. to chip in your contribution to Stampede to Amend: http://www.indiegogo.com/stampede