Resolutions Opposing Corporate Personhood

Text of Resolutions Passed in Point Arena and Arcata, California

Posted May 20, 2004

Point Arena and Arcata are, respectively, the first and second municipalities to pass resolutions opposing granting constitutional rights to corporations. Neither resolution has binding legal effect.

Resolution on Corporate Personhood
in the City of Point Arena

Passed by a 4 to 1 vote by the Point Arena City Council on April 25th, 2000

Whereas,

· Citizens of the City of Point Arena hope to nurture and expand democracy in our community and our nation.

· Democracy means governance by the people. Only natural persons should be able to participate in the democratic process.

· Interference in the democratic process by corporations frequently usurps the rights of citizens to govern.

· Corporations are artificial entities separate and apart from natural persons.

· Corporations are not naturally endowed with consciousness or the rights of natural persons. Corporations are creations of law and are only permitted to do what is authorized under law.

· Rejecting the concept of corporate personhood will advance meaningful campaign finance reform.

Therefore be it hereby resolved that:
The City of Point Arena agrees with Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in his 1938 opinion in which he stated, “I do not believe the word ‘person’ in the 14th Amendment includes corporations.”

Be it further resolved that:
The City of Point Arena shall encourage public discussion on the role of corporations in public life and urge other cities to foster similar public discussion.

To learn more about the Point Arena Initiative, contact Jan Edwards: janed @ mcn.org

 

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ARCATA
REGARDING CORPORATE PERSONHOOD

Resolution No. 034-51 Passed May 19, 2004 by a 4-1 vote

WHEREAS, the citizens of the City of Arcata hope to nurture and expand democracy in our community and our nation. Democracy means governance by the people. Only persons who are human beings should be able to participate in the democratic process; and

WHEREAS, interference in the democratic process by corporations usurps the rights of citizens to govern; and

WHEREAS, corporations are artificial entities separate and apart from human beings. Corporations are not naturally endowed with consciousness or the rights of human beings. Corporations are creations of law and are only permitted to do what is authorized under law; and

WHEREAS, corporations claim to be persons, possessing the rights of personhood, including free speech and other constitutional freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, corporations presuming such rights of personhood have influenced and interfered with democratic processes by lobbying and pressuring our legislative bodies, making campaign contributions which dominate election campaigns, and using the media to substitute corporate values for community and family values; and

WHEREAS, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black stated in a 1938 opinion, “I do not believe the word ‘person’ in the 14th Amendment includes corporations”; and

WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution. The people have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor have we decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of the people of the United States.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Arcata believes that no corporation should be deemed a person and therefore that no corporation should be entitled to the same rights and protections as those guaranteed only to persons under the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Arcata supports education to increase public awareness of the threats to our democracy posed by corporate personhood, and the Council encourages lively discussion to build understanding and consensus on appropriate community and municipal responses to those threats.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Arcata supports the Committee on Democracy and Corporations in hosting town meetings to draft an ordinance or ordinances addressing the legal fiction of corporate personhood and other threats corporations pose to our democracy in Arcata.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Arcata authorizes sending copies of this resolution to our elected representatives.

To learn more about the Arcata effort, contact Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County