Corporations have the same rights as individuals

There is an interesting article published by Yes! magazine Real People v. Corporate “People”: The Fight Is On reproduced on the web site. It refers to the dispute over major corporations in the US having the same constitutional rights as individuals to freedom of speech. Under a recent Supreme Court ruling this means that they can spend unlimited money promoting an economic interest or political position. According to the Court, if human beings are allowed an unrestricted right to free speech, then corporations must have the same right. According to David Harvey in his book A brief History of Neoliberalism this obviously undemocratic principle was consolidated during the period of the consolidation of neoliberal hegemony and the triumph of the related ‘business ontology’ back in the 1970s.

A crucial set of Supreme Court decisions began in 1976 when it was first established that the right of a corporation to make unlimited money contributions to political parties and political action committees was protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing the rights of individuals (in this instance corporations) to freedom of speech. Political action committees (PACs) could thereafter ensure the financial domination of both political parties by corporate, moneyed, and professional association interests (page 49).

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