10 “Fun” Facts Everyone Should Know From The Corporation

Flickr / elyciefeliz
Flickr / elyciefeliz
This past weekend was the first time I watched the documentary, The Corporation, in its entirety. The following are “fun” facts I learned that had me face-palming, screaming at my computer, texting my friends in fits of rage, and eventually feeling the need to write this post because I had to do something productive with my anger.

1. The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 to give Black people equal rights in the USA. You know, the one that reads, “no State can deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” So corporate lawyers decided to convince the Supreme Court that corporations too are people. (Say it out loud a few times and feel ridiculous.) But you probably already knew that. The “fun” fact however, is that between 1890 and 1910, there were 307 cases brought before the court under the 14th Amendment – 19 were brought by newly freed slaves; 288 were brought by corporations.

2. In the Diamond v. Chakrabaty case of 1980, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, in favor of General Electric’s Chakrabarty who developed a bacterium to break down crude oil – that a live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject matter under Title 35 of the United States Code and  “manufacture” or “composition of matter” falls within that statute. This was after their initial patent application was denied. If this sounds like gibberish it’s because laws are often intentionally written and interpreted in a confusing manner so most people don’t bother with them. All you need to know is years after this case, the United States Patent Office later issued a statement saying, “You can patent anything in the world that is alive except a full-birth human being.” Basically, corporations can have legal rights to entire species. In other words, YOUR DOG CAN BE PATENTED.

3. A news anchor, Jane Akre, tried to bring a whistleblower lawsuit against Fox News because of their advertising ($$$) ties to the devil incarnate, Monsanto, for refusing to make material changes to research and reports that revealed Monsanto’s GMO-infused milk products, caused cancer. Essentially, they wanted the anchor to falsify the news. After initially finding Fox guilty, the case went to Florida’s appeals court and anchor Akre lost because, “Falsifying news isn’t actually against the law.”

4. The World Bank (a.k.a the financial puppets of Western capitalist tyrants) forced Bolivia to privatize its public water systems for it’s third largest city, Cochabamba, when it sought to refinance the system. San Francisco company, The Bechtel Corporation, took control over Cochabamba’s water, even the water that fell from the sky! What am I saying? I am saying Bechtel owned the city’s rainwater. Yes, rainwater can be privatized. And for poor people, paying for this water meant less food, less money for access to healthcare, not sending their children to school, etc. (The Bolivian people revolted which was met with brute force but at least they demanded their rights back.) Still, somewhere in the world some company owns a community’s rainwater. Doesn’t that just make you feel good about planet earth?

5. Fanta Orange was initially created for Nazi Germany during WWII so Coke could keep swimming in their profits without losing brand identity and credibility for supporting the inhuman regime that was Hitler’s Germany. And if you’ve ever had Fanta, it makes sense. That shit is way too sweet and sugary not to have freaking evil foundations.

6. In the 1930s, IBM systems, which were punch cards and machines that “read” said punch cards, were used by Hitler in his Master Plan. Numbers were placed on the cards to represent what would happen to each category of person Hitler sought to annihilate. Ex. “2” – Jehovah’s Witness – would be transferred; “6” – Jew – “special treatment” a.k.a gas chamber. Essentially, it was the system that made Hitler’s Master Plan as possible and efficient as it was. Of course IBM argues that technology is neutral, which anyone who has ever taken a damn ethics class in their entire life, knows that is an excuse that exists only in the imaginations of sociopaths. Especially when technology can have such grave effects on people – real people. Moreover, the records indicate that United States service people serviced these IBM machines regularly in Nazi Germany, and did so on-site. What does this mean? There was plenty of servicing of these machines going on in concentration camps.

7. According to a trader in the documentary, when 9/11 happened, every trader whose client was in gold, made a fortune and doubled up their money. (And this was one of the first things that came to mind for many of them.) Also according to the same trader, when the United States bombed Iraq in 1991, the price of oil went from $13 to $40 a barrel. Thus, in his own words, they “couldn’t wait for the bombs to start raining down on Saddam Hussein.” Speechless.

8. At the time of filming, the makers of the documentary found out that during one week alone, 57 corporations were fined for trading with official enemies of the United States. Companies included Wal-Mart, Well-Fargo, Amazon.com, Citibank, Exxon Mobil, etc. Unsurprisingly, Profits > everything.

9. According to his own account, Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940), the most decorated marine in history at the time of his death, admitted to helping to pacify Mexico for American oil companies, Haiti and Cuba for Citibank, Nicaragua for the Brown Brothers brokerage, the Dominican Republic for sugar interests, Honduras for US fruit companies, and China for Standard Oil. (Gee, I wonder why “lesser developed countries” throughout the world can’t just pick themselves up by their bootstraps in this “free” and “fair” global market?!)

10. In the 1930s, Butler also informed FDR’s government and the American people of a plot that was set up by major corporate elites at the time, including top representatives of JP Morgan, Goodyear Tire, and Dupont, that they wanted him to lead 500,000 men in creating a fascist regime that would have the functions of government. Alas, Butler was fed up of being “a gangster for capitalism.”

Luckily for all of us, we don’t need a coup anymore. We just need a global system that allows for corporations to be the primary institutions of the world that permeate borders to “integrate” products, ideas, cultures – but really just end up in dominant wealthy “people” in the form of corporations, imposing themselves on weak, actual people and cultures. And of course the final result being the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Oh wait, I think I just explained “globalization.” Weird, huh? TC mark

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