Nader’s acceptance speech for `96 Green Party Presidential nomination…
Democracy brings out the best in people. An oligarchy, plutocracy, autocracy–whatever you call the concentration of wealth and power–suppresses the best in people. And brings out the worst in the power of the few over the many.
In the meantime, anything dealing with big business workplace issues or corporate crime, they don’t get on. And I’ll get to that in moment, but we’ve got to become far more demanding on how our public property is used. We’re the landlords of the public airwaves; the broadcasters are the tenants. Yet they pay us no rent, they decide who shows what twenty-four hours a day, and they laugh all the way to the bank. And, therefore, anything that really builds a solid, just society doesn’t qualify to get on our very own property.
Now any knowledge of history registers this observation: any society that allows one segment of it to have an excessive concentration of power and wealth, and that segment has a commercial, mercantile priority above every other value system in the society, is going to get into trouble. And we have, from time to time, as a society fought back against the big robber barons and the railroads and the financial and natural resource companies, etc.
Within the last twenty years we’ve had an extraordinary concentration of power and wealth in fewer and fewer global corporation hands. And you can see the consequences of that in so many ways. When you have that kind of concentration of power and wealth, you have a weakened democracy. You have a weakened public voice. You have a weakened public advocacy. And that registers. And look how it’s registered.
Look at the signs of decline in this country because our democracy has no been allowed to strengthen itself. Because we don’t spend enough time as public citizens. Because we have allowed global corporations, with no allegiance to our country, to scour for the dictatorships and the dirt cheap labor, to exploit and export the jobs there. We have allowed them to take over our government, to dominate our economy, to exploit small business, to straightjacket inventors, to shape our very culture–to replace our thought culture with commercial culture, that stresses violence and addiction–to decide what kind of research is done at our universities, to decide that the ordinary people pay the taxes (as someone once said, “Only the little people pay taxes.”), to decide that they, the corporations, weren’t going to pay any taxes.
And now look at the result. In the 1950’s corporate income tax represented between 25 and 30% of the federal outlays. Today it’s between 6 and 8%. Record corporate profits, record stock market prices, record executive compensations, and they are paying a shrinking amount. And many of these giant corporations pay 1% federal tax, 2% federal tax. How about this one? Everybody watching this assemblage, whoever paid a dollar to Uncle Sam between the years 1981 and 1983 paid more taxes than the giant General Electric Company, which produced $6.5 billion in profits, paid no taxes, because of a safe harbor loophole provision got a $150 million refund–and that was supposed to get General Electric to invest in new productive capital equipment–instead they bought RCA, NBC, and now maybe you’ll wonder why NBC isn’t covering the closedown of four nuclear plants Connecticut, three of which are closed down due to safety defects this summer. Well, General Electric is in the nuclear business. What do you expect?
Now we come to the corporation itself. It’s important to recognize that the corporation is a creature of government. Government charters the corporation. And so concerned were our forebears with this Frankenstein potential emerging–this artificial legal entity, having power against defenseless human beings–that they required in the early 19th Century legislative chartering of a corporation. Corporation wants to produce textiles, they have to go to the legislature and get chartered–all you can do is just manufacture textiles; you got to be renewed after a few years–there was great suspicion of corporations early on, and for good reason.
And then about 1886 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, without hearing any arguments, that the corporation was a person. It was a person. You know these corporations. Don’t you know they’re always persons, don’t you? I mean you know HMO’s are suffering from attention deficit disorder. Don’t you know drug companies are admitted kleptomaniacs? What this means is–for a century now–corporations have been getting all the rights that we human beings have and an avalanche of privileges and immunities that we don’t have. How can you have equal justice under the law in such circumstances?
Googling :reclaiming our public airwaves and bandwidth for the purpose of running our Democracy free of big money
gets good resource material… including:
…and content for the citizens candidacy pages:https://www.onlinecandidate.com/articles/tips-for-effective-political-ads?awt_l=GoJ3o&awt_m=Ij4qg0YmbbwFRX&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Broadcast
https://khanna.house.gov/media/editorials/heres-campaign-finance-law-would-take-democracy-back-1-percent the “Democracy Dollars Act”