Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
I know. Referring to the “Two Corporate Parties” is old hat. Nothing to see, move it along.
One problem with that attitude is that it helps keeps the Corporate / Oligarchic rule of the wealthiest of the wealthy in place.
Big Corporation owns and/or directs our political and governance system. And yes, it has something to do with marriage and math. I’ll get to that.
Bill Quigley, via Common Dreams:
‘Corporations are people, my friend.’ Mitt Romney …
Corporations are obviously not people. But Romney is accurate in the sense that corporations have hijacked most of the rights of people while evading the responsibilities.
Now, about marriage. Last week’s court decision which once again ruled Prop 8 is unconstitutional (an appeal will follow), and last week’s vote in the Washington state legislature that approved “same-sex marriage (a challenging referendum is planned), and yesterday’s signing of that legislation into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire, were followed by yesterday’s New Jersey Senate vote passing a marriage equality law. The NJ Assembly is expected to pass it later this week. Gov. Chris Christie has been clear he will veto it, and expectations are that the proponents of the new law will not be able get the votes needed to overcome that veto. Of course efforts will continue, and the fact of the passage will be a key step in those efforts. See Keen News for a good overview.
What does this have to do with corporations? Well, in Washington state, for example, several big corporations supported the marriage equality bill. As reported at AlterNet, those corporations include Starbucks, Nike, Microsoft, American Apparel, Apple, and Amazon. I’ve asked this before (here): what do you do when a corporation or organization is “good” on your issue, but not so good on others? Lauren Kelley, in that AlterNet post, writes:
6 Companies That Stand Up for Gay Rights (Now If They Only Had Good Labor Practices Too)
Beyond throwing their weight behind gay rights, these companies share something in common: each has a dubious track record with regards to workers’ rights. It’s clear that while the tide has turned for corporate support of gay rights, the same cannot yet be said for fair labor practices.
… we … saw JC Penney … stand up for its new spokesperson, Ellen Degeneres, after the anti-gay group One Million Moms launched a boycott against the chain.
These incidents illustrate an important trend in, of all places, corporate America. … In doing so, the companies showed us that the right-wing culture war against homosexuality is losing not only in the courts, but in the court of public opinion.
With Corporate Rule firmly in place, conflicts like this (obviously not limited to LGBT equality efforts) are inevitable. Money drives the process, the people at the top determine the direction and the timing. What does an activist do?
Here’s some math that addresses the overall reality of our political / governance Corporate driven system. Or rather, here’s a mathematician who does. Cathy O’Neil, at mathbabe, is writing about needed changes in academic publishing, using Occupy as an analogy.
Mathematics has an Occupy moment
The Occupy Wall Street movement means a lot of things to a lot of people, but one of the things it pretty much universally represents is the concept of agency.
Instead of sitting passively by and allowing a dysfunctional system to detract from a culture, the participants in Occupy want to object, to reform the system, and if that doesn’t work, to build a new system. And the crucial point is that they feel that they have the right (if not obligation) to do so. Moreover, they wish to construct a new paradigm built on democratic understanding of the shared goals of the system itself, rather than letting whomever is in power decide how things work and who benefits.
That’s one of the best summaries I’ve read regarding the Occupy / 99% “issue.” It’s a deliberate step outside of that Corporate System to look for and create different answers. After all, if you let someone else define the “issue” for you, most likely only their defined “answers” are going to fit. Occupy isn’t alone in these efforts, of course, though many are working more from within, also a needed tactic.
From the Quigley post:
Dozens of groups are working to reverse Citizens United and restore limits on corporate election advocacy. In January 2011, groups delivered petitions signed by over 750,000 people calling on Congress to amend the Constitution and reverse the decision. More than 350 local events were held in late January 2012 to challenge the Citizens United decision.
Other actions include one late last year in Montana, when the state Supreme Court upheld the “century-old ban on corporate campaign spending,” a decision being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And today Occupy Atlanta joined with Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Communication Workers of America, and AFSC in occupying the AT&T Headquarters in Atlanta.
Citing Jobs With Justice:
Multinational corporations like AT&T have been undermining workers standards of living for decades. If we stand up for union jobs with AT&T we can stand up for a future where there’s enough for everyone, a future that creates space for all of us to thrive. …
Let’s not get it twisted. There’s enough resources to go around. The crisis isn’t about resources. It’s about economic priorities.
Life in Corporate Nation U.S.A. is an everyday reality. I firmly believe “everyday,” grassroots people are the only ones who can change that.
(Corporations Cartoon via Occupy Posters )