A few weeks ago my inbox held a request from an activist organization addressing issues related to pesticide dangers in the agricultural sector and the corporations generating them.
In this case it was the Dow Chemical Corporation that raised the organizers’ ire, and for good reason. The letter pointed out that Dow is among the “Big 6” corporations shaping agricultural markets around the world.1 Its impacts are pervasive, “from manufacturing brain-harming and carcinogenic pesticides, to interfering with regulatory processes to keep its harmful products on the market.”
A few short paragraphs detail these assaults:
--- the cancer-causing pesticide Telone, banned in 1990, is now back on the shelves2 and widely used due to Dow’s relentless interventions with the EPA;
--- evidence shows that the neurotoxic insecticide, Chlorpyritos, is harmful to children’s developing brains3 but Dow continues to defend and promote it;
--- Dow’s Enlist Duo, an herbicide cocktail used with its genetically engineered seeds, was pulled from the market after the company was caught lying4 about its combined impacts.
The writers concluded that Dow, Inc. had a “self-serving agenda.” No surprise, right? After all, corporations rule.
The e-mail communication sought my support to put Dow Corporation in this year’s “Hall of Shame,” an annual contest sponsored by Corporate Accountability International. Apparently Dow Corporation has committed many naughty actions and should now be scolded and sent to its room as punishment!
Does this strike you as an appropriate response by sovereign citizens when one of their corporate creations harms people or land, workers or communities?
Activism in the United States has grown so accustomed to such subordinate behaviors against corporate assaults, it can scarcely imagine a different relationship. We busy ourselves trying to “slap wrists” using the corporate-serving regulatory system. Exhausted by those efforts, we thought we’d just beg corporate decision-makers to please behave better, to be socially responsible. We pleaded for corporate signatures on “Codes of Conduct” and sometimes sat around a table negotiating deals with corporate criminals. (Remember the Big Tobacco Deal of 1998
Wait a minute! Negotiating? Begging? Pleading? Wrist-slapping? And now “scolding”? These are not the take-charge actions of a self-governing citizenry. They are the behaviors of subordinate subjects, after-the-fact actors in the grip of corporate rule. This is the reality our undemocratic culture has trained us NOT to see.
Move to Amend (MTA) is helping us see that a corporation is a THING, a legal entity within which corporate executives are enabled to define every aspect of our lives from energy systems to pharmaceuticals, to the media. At the nation’s beginning, clear rules were established to put corporations subordinate and in service to the people
As the 19th and 20th Centuries rolled along men of property used the corporate form and the nation’s courts to accumulate more and more rights and powers the Constitution intended only for natural persons.
The education programs of MTA provide opportunities to learn more about this history and how the powers of the corporate form are still being amassed in the 21st Century. MTA’s work to build a real democracy movement, committed to solidarity and the abolition of corporate Constitutional rights, will enable We the People to reject subordinate behaviors and assume our rightful authority to define and instruct our corporate creations.
- Organizing for the Right Rights, Greg Coleridge, http://www.poclad.org/BWA/2013/BWA_2013_Oct.html
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Kick the Habit, Jane Anne Morris, http://www.poclad.org/BWA/2000/BWA_2000_MAR.html
- "Big 6" Pesticide and GMO Corporations - SourceWatch http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/%22Big_6%22_Pesticide_and_GMO_Corporations
- California’s strawberry industry is hooked on dangerous pesticides http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/10/-sp-california-strawberry-industry-pesticides
- EPA Takes Long-Awaited Action to Eliminate Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos in Agriculture https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/epa-takes-long-awaited-action-eliminate-neurotoxic-chlorpyrifos-agriculture
- Busted: EPA Discovers Dow Weedkiller Claim, Wants It Off The Market http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/25/457393114/busted-epa-discovers-dow-weedkiller-claim-wants-it-off-the-market