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Arcata, CA Resolution on Corporate Personhood
Status: Adopted on 5/19/04
Vote: In Favor - 4 Opposed - 1
Resolution No. 034-51 A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ARCATA REGARDING CORPORATE PERSONHOOD
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.