Richard Grossman – Dismantling Corporations _ on Anti-War Progressive Teach-in
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Richard Grossman – Dismantling Corporations
In the Preface to his 1993 pamphlet, Taking Care of Business, Richard Grossman wrote:
“Corporations cause harm every day. Why do their harms go unchecked? How can they dictate what we produce, how we work, what we eat, drink and breathe? How did a self-governing people let this come to pass? – Corporations were not supposed to reign in the United States.”
Ralph Nader called Richard Grossman the preeminent historian of corporations. In his writings and teaching Grossman warned us that unchecked corporate power would lead to the destruction of democracy. He said that the American revolution was fought less against the King but “against the crown corporations, the Hudsons Bay and East India Corporations.” And he believed that it is time to remember that fight and assert sovereignty of the people over corporations and the corporate state.
In this speech Grossman provocatively calls for dismantling “the thousand largest corporations off the face of the earth.”
Richard Grossman’s research showed him that in the original intent of American revolutionaries corporations did not have rights, they only had privileges, and only those that we the people bestow on them. They were to be limited by a revocable charter that specified what they were allowed to do; it’s board and officers were to be fully liable for any harms the corporation did; and they initially had none of the free speech rights that go along with person-hood.
If Richard Grossman were still alive today in 2017 he would be shocked to see that corporations and bankers from Exxon to Goldman Sachs, from General Dynamics to Lockheed Martin, from Wells Fargo to pipeline builder Energy Transfer, no longer are limited to purchasing influence by buying congress people one by one – but now own and run large parts of the government directly.
Richard Grossman died of melanoma on November 22nd, 2011. In the last 15 years of his life he had been an important member of POCLAD, the Project on Corporations, Law and Democracy and CELDF, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. His and CELDF’s lasting legacy are the Democracy Schools that continue to be taught across the country. They examine the history of the rise of corporate power and devise strategies for disrupting that power.
This rare recording comes from a retreat of the International Forum on Globalization that had formed just a year earlier. The task was to brainstorm on how best to alert the public on the consolidation of the global corporate structure enabled by the new trade agreements under the WTO.
This segment begins with an intriguing archival speech on the history of corporations that TUC Radio recorded in Washington DC. at the 1996 Teach-In organized by the International Forum on Globalization. The segment ends with two important projects Grossman worked on just before his death: A law to criminalize hydro-fracking and corporations as a class or group.
This show was broadcast on April 15, 2017.
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