The rise of corporate dominance
and theft of human rights
a new book by Thom Hartmann
In Unequal Protection, author Thom Hartmann tells a compelling, can't-put-it-down story that tracks the history of the loss of democracy in America. It starts with the birth of the modern corporation with the founding of the East India Company in 1600, through the Boston Tea Party revolt against transnational corporate domination of the early American economy, the rise of corporations during the Civil War, the ultimate theft of human rights before the Supreme Court in 1886, and into the modern-day theft of human rights in the US and worldwide by corporate interests and the politicians they own.
Because of a mistaken interpretation of a Supreme Court reporter's notes in an 1886 railroad tax case, corporations are now legally considered "persons," equal to humans and entitled to many of the same protections guaranteed only to humans by the Bill of Rights - a clear contradiction of the intent of the Founders of the United States. The results of this "corporate personhood" have been:
To remedy the legal blunder of corporate personhood, Hartmann offers specific action steps that can be taken by citizens, courts, legislatures, and local communities.
---- Reviews & Commentaries ----
wonder why the corporate world constantly lurches from malaise to oppression to
governmental corruption and back, Unequal Protection reveals the untold
story. Beneath the success and rise of American enterprise is an untold
history that is antithetical to every value Americans hold dear. This is a
seminal work, a godsend really, a clear message to every citizen about the
need to reform our country, laws, and companies."
--Paul Hawken, author, Natural Capitalism
grateful for this gift. It should be in the hands of every thinking American. If
we do not awaken soon, democracy will be replaced by a new 'Third Reich' of
corporate tyranny. To be aware of the danger is the responsibility of each of
us. No one has told us the truth better than Thom Hartmann. Read it!"
-- Gerry Spence, author, Give Me Liberty!
"This extraordinary book combines meticulous historical and legal research with a clear and compelling writing style to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt the incompatibility of corporate personhood with democracy, the market economy, and the well-being of society. Complete with a practical program for essential reform to restore the rights of real persons - including model legislation - it is essential reading and an invaluable reference work for every citizen who cares about democracy, justice, and the human future."
--David C. Korten, author, When Corporations Rule The World
"Unequal Protection is a blueprint for revitalizing the spirit of American democracy. Sometimes you have to understand the bad news in order to appreciate the good news. Thom Hartmann connects the dots in a way that is a tremendous gift for our generation of Americans."
--Marianne Williamson, author, Healing the Soul of America
"Essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of democracy, both here and abroad. With devastating precision and well-reasoned passion, Thom Hartmann shows the reader precisely how the corporate entity gained such a perilously dominant role in the life of a nation whose founders meant for its politics to respond to the concerns of people and communities, not return-seeking corporations."
--Jeff Gates, president, Shared Capitalism Institute, author, Democracy At Risk
"We thought it was only in science fiction that things created by humans could actually take over what is inherently our human heritage. But Thom Hartmann shows how we've already let that happen on a frightening scale - not in Frankenstein's monsters or Kubrick's creeping computer Hal - but in the corporations that present their friendly 'faces' to us as if we have nothing to fear from this ultimate usurpation of our rights as real humans."
--Ed Ayres, Senior Editor at Worldwatch and author, God's Last Offer
"For years, Thom Hartmann has been asking the important questions and inspiring people to act on their solutions. Now he tackles one of the hardest - how democracy in America and worldwide has been eroded by unaccountable corporate power. He looks at the structures that encourage destructive behaviour and offers alternatives. Fascinating history told engagingly. We need books like this to find a way forward."
--Paul Loeb, author, Soul of a Citizen
"Hartmann goes where no person has gone before - towards uncovering the true history of how corporations and the wealthy people behind them transformed our law and culture to usurp democracy. This book is an inspiration to all groups and communitites and explains why we must rethink our engagement in single issue struggles and move towards the assertion of direct, democratic control over corporations."
--Thomas Linzey, Esq., Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
"I love this book. It's worth reading for the story of the Boston Tea Party alone, which is eye-opening and unforgettable."
--Marjorie Kelly, publisher, Business Ethics magazine, author, The Divine Right of Capital
"Splendid! A powerful and cogent case for changing the corporate rules that motivate all CEOs to misbehave."
--Ernest Callenbach, author, Ecotopia
"A masterful recounting of the most important story in the history of corporate power."
--Robert A.G. Monks, author, Corporate Governance
"Thom Hartmann, in his book, Unequal Protection, has unearthed an explosive bit of history that reveals how one little word has affected the history of the United States, indeed the whole world."
--GrannyD, one of America's foremost peace and democracy activists
"Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights by Thom Hartmann traces the social and legal history of how corporations hijack our government and control our lives. Hartmann astutely focuses on the perverse legal doctrine of "corporate personhood," which illegitimately clothes corporations with the constitutional protections which are only properly claimed by human persons--citizens like you! Even better, Hartmann offers specific suggestions and actions to remedy this usurpation of the sovereign right of "We the People" to govern ourselves and the institutions we create. This book is essential reading for every Green Party member."
--David Cobb, General Counsel, Green Party of the United States
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here's the story. Plus, Hartmann tell us what we need to do to regain our people's sovereignty."
-- Jim Hightower, America's #1 Populist
"Thom Hartmann's most recent book - UNEQUAL PROTECTION - goes beyond even brilliance and courage. It is, in fact, the perfect handbook for today's activist. We all need it in our backpack or briefcase as we set forth to rally support and engage the real enemies of democracy."
-- Robin Larsen author Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind
"Many consider Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address to be the penultimate statement of our nation's spiritual mission. It's climactic words resolve that 'government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.' But we are today allowing a rise of corporate dominance that is producing a 'government of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation.' Our government has lost track of its mandate to serve the public interest and seems increasingly to do the bidding of corporate interests. The consequences - for human rights, social justice, public health, and the environment - are catastrophic. How has this come to pass? And most critically, is there anything we can do about it? Unequal Protection is nothing less than an act of compelling and heroic sanity. It is THE book to read if you want to perceive corporate dominance clearly, become more able to stand in its way, and more able to uphold the true values of this nation."
-- John Robbins, author The Food Revolution, and Diet For A New America
"Thom Hartmann has written an informative and important book on the rise of corporations in America and their role in our lives. Thom shows us how corporations became recognized as people. The problem, however, is that they are not people. Their boards value profit primarily, without the concerns people share, leading them to make decisions individual people of conscience wouldn't make. In my field of health care, corporations have taken charge, rendering a valueless health care. Proft has become more important than wellness. Thom gives us an understanding of why this has happened and what can be done about it. I recommend this book strongly as a great read, but also containing necessary information to help us take charge of our lives in these days of multinational giants."
-- Lewis Mehl-Madrona M.D., author of Coyote Medicine