And They Call It Democracy: Iraq, Climate Change, and Corporate Personhood

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This paper addresses US hegemony in the context of corporate power, in particular corporate personhood. Corporate personhood is the legal doctrine which recognizes corporations as having the same rights as natural persons, which in turn guarantees corporate access to the democratic process, allowing them to donate to political parties and to lobby. The paper argues that Iraq and climate change are logical extensions of long standing corporate driven neo-liberal US government policy, and the corporate/ capitalist need for ever larger markets. It looks at the political and financial connections between the corporations benefiting from these policies, and the role corporations played in developing them. Having grounded these two crucial elements of US policy in the context of corporate power and neo-liberalism, the paper then examines the historic origins of this power. It provides a review of the founding of the American colonies as British corporate charters, how corporate monopolies like the British East India Company were key instigators of the American Revolution, and lists the subsequent restrictions placed on the corporate form in the new American Republic. It then addresses corporate expansion in the Civil War, and how the 1886 Supreme Court decision that corporations were protected under the Bill of Rights was crucial in the rise of the corporation as the most dominant institution in the world today. The paper concludes that only by removing corporations from the democratic (political) process can global crises like US militarism and climate change be addressed.


Keywords: Corporation, Iraq, Climate Change, Democracy, Corporate Personhood, Corporate Power
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Christopher Doran

Lecturer, Geography and Environmental Studies
University of Newcastle
Australia, Sociology Department, Macquarie University

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Lecturer, Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Newcastle, 2005-present, Newcastle NSW Australia. Ph D Student, Sociology Department, Macquarie University, Sydney, 2006-present. Ph D thesis: Democratic Uprisings Against Corporate Rule, Iraq and Climate Change as Case Studies. My research and interest areas are neoliberalism (corporate globalisation), systemic and historic roots of corporate power; democracy; radical social movements; Iraq and climate change. I spent over ten years as an environmental campaigner and social justice activist in the United States and Australia before embarking upon a full time academic career as a lecturer and researcher three years ago.

Ref: I08P0592