How to Overthrow Corporate Rule in 5 Not-so-easy Steps
Resources and information on fighting corporate power, democratizing our government and freeing people’s time.
Many people are spending a lot of their time volunteering to stop specific environmental threats, to address a specific labor issue, or to stop various other corporate abuses to our communities. The number of problems seems endless. Isn’t there a faster way to save the world?
This page is devoted to those who are interested in getting to the root of society’s problems. How nice would it be if our government wasn’t answering to their corporate masters, but to community concerns? How much easier would our efforts be if people weren’t so overworked and had more time to volunteer? Wouldn’t it be great to have the media reporting critically on serious community issues rather than pandering to the the interests of their wealthy owners and advertizers?
These are the reforms that make other reforms possible. If fighting for institutional change is too difficult for you, jump down to the section on personal things you can do to consume less.
- Take away their money:
- Stop privatization / Re-socialize systems
Privatized systems mean that corporations get to profit from providing important social services which could be provided by (hopefully democratically-controlled) public bodies. Get involved in efforts to stop privitization of schools, municipal water/sewer systems, trash collection or other social services. Better yet, get involved in efforts to put services like health care or electric power under public control.
White Paper on Privatization
Public Services International Research Unit
- Boycott / protest big corporations
Withdraw your support from large corporations by consuming less and supporting local, small businesses when possible.
Corporate Dirt Archives (learn what’s wrong with specific corporations)
What should I buy?? (personal things you can do to consume less)
- Fight corporate “wealthfare”
Get corporations off the public dole and work to stop subsidy abuse by opposing things like public funding for private stadiums, excessive and unneeded highway projects and other tax breaks, subsidies and bailouts which are not in the public interest. Welfare is for people, not corporations!
Corporate Welfare Information Center
- Instant Runoff Voting
Don’t let the government make you pick the “lesser of two evils” when you vote. With instant runoff voting, you can vote your conscience without fear by picking your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices (and so on). Start by putting this electoral process into practice on the local level – in your town, county or state.
Center for Voting and Democracy
Instant Run-Off.com (sign up to their national email list and locate other email lists and state campaign on their in your state page)
Try out IRV here
- Public financing of elections
Get corporate money out of our elections!
Corporate Control of Government (the basics on public campaign financing)
Public Campaign (a national group working to get private/corporate money out of our elections)
Researching Your Politicians (info on who is funding your politicians plus resources on corporate control of elections)
- Ballot access / 3rd parties
Support efforts to help 3rd parties get on the ballot and challenge the two corporate parties!
Ballot Access News
- Initiative and Referendum
Put more decisions directly in the hands of the voters. If your state doesn’t allow initiative and referendum, join others to pass a law to allow for it. If you already have it in your state, get involved with ballot initiatives and use it to press for further democracy measures.
Ballot Initiative Strategy Center
Initiative & Referendum Institute / Ballot Watch…see more election reforms here
- Democratize media
The majority of all media in the U.S. is now owned by only six mega-corporations. Join movements to democratize media. Democracy is impossible without being able to hear voices of dissent.
Media Reform Information Center
- Democratize your university
Colleges and universities are increasingly being controlled by corporate interests for their own gain. Work with others to pry education out of the corporate grip.
Democratizing Education Network
- 3 Structural attacks:
- Local ordinances which attack corporate rights
Work on the local or state level to exert the rights of people over corporations.
Challenging Corporate Authority (Part of the Alliance for Democracy‘s Campaign to Transform the Corporation)
Anti-Corporate Success Stories (ReclaimDemocracy.org)
CELDF Corporations & Democracy Program
- Getting corporations out of our grade schools
Throughout the U.S., local school boards are the easiest public office to run for and win. Take over your local school board if necessary and work to get corporate influence out of public schools.
Commercialism in Education Research Unit
- Fighting global corporatization
Think globally, act locally! Build community awareness of “free trade” agreements and hold your congressperson and senators accountable for their votes. Pass “WTO-free zone” resolutions and other local expressions of opposition to trade agreements which would trump the rights of local and state governments to protect citizens from corporate abuses. If you can, act globally as well by gathering people to go with you to rallies and protests against major global corporatization conferences.
Global Trade Watch
Mobilization for Global Justice
Independent Media Centers
- 4 Human/worker rights:
- 30 hour work week
30 hours work for 40 hours pay! Thanks to union organizing in years past, we now have the weekend, 8 hour work-days and 40 hour work weeks. In 1933, the 30 hour work week nearly became law when both the U.S. Senate and House passed it only to have it vetoed by President Roosevelt (who later regretted doing so). Sharing the work reduces unemployment and gives working people more personal time, which can free people up for move civic engagement.
Take Back Your Time
Center for a New American Dream
Downsizing vs. Timesizing
The Free Time / Free People Project
“The End of Work” book by Jeremy Rifkin (Notes from the book; Order here)
- Universal health care
Make the 30 hour work week possible by making health care a right (covering all people through one “single-payer” governmental system), not a privilege (where just certain working people are covered through multiple bureaucratic insurance corporations) and removing the incentive for corporations to avoid hiring full time workers.
Health Care NOW!
Physicians for a National Health Program
Everybody In Nobody Out
Universal Health Care Action Network
Health Care Action Group (Alliance for Democracy)
- 5 Redesign Corporations:
- Take away their personhood; Roll back their rights and definitions; Revoke corporate charters
Work towards the day when our states attorneys general revoke the charters of offending corporations and when state legislatures change their incorporation codes, rolling back the “rights” of corporations to where they used to be.
Fixing Corporations–Part 1: Legacy Of The Founding Parents
Fixing Corporations–Part 2: Corporations For The Seventh Generation
Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD)
Ending Corporate Governance
The Divine Right of Capital
The investor, who had previously expressed major reservations over Obama’s eligibility of the Presidency by questioning his 1961 birth in Hawaii, took to Twitter shortly after the main TV networks in the United States called the election in Obama’s favour.
“We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty,” Trump insisted. “Our nation is totally divided!
“Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.
This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy! Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble… like never before.
Our nation is a once great nation divided! The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
The billionaire – who had toyed with running for the Republican nomination, but ultimately ruled himself out and endorsed Mitt Romney’s candidacy before leaving the Republican party altogether- said the Republican-controlled House of Representatives “shouldn’t give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare”.
Trump’s complaints appeared to be related to the running totals in the popular vote count, which had showed Romney has holding a clear lead over Obama despite having lost the election based on the electoral college system.
The running totals carried by TV networks, however, did not include the substantial tallies of votes cast in western states such as California, which had leaned heavily towards Obama and whose 55 electoral college votes could immediately be awarded to the incumbent.
The presidential election on November 6 brings to an end the most expensive and hotly contested race of modern times.
By the end of the campaign both tickets will have spent $2 billion in total trying to win the White House.
Whatever the merits of that, it is clear it will not happen any time soon given the deep pockets of major players on both sides who are doing their best to help influence the election.
Likewise the dissatisfaction with the Electoral College, which can trump the popular vote, is something that has been evidenced since the Bush/Gore race in 2000.
Perhaps if Obama wins in similar fashion both parties will finally have reason to change a system that is not democratic in the true sense of the word.
It is ridiculous that vast areas of this country are not even considered worthy of visits from the contenders, so narrow and narrowing even further are the key states.
Then there is the length of the campaign, which seems to have gone on for two years at least since the first Republican contenders began to limber up to take on the president.
In another way, however, the sheer length is a good thing, helping to quickly unmask the pretenders and allow the most committed and hard-driving candidate to get to the top of the ticket.
Of course the ultimate aim is to get the American people to vote for their favorite contender.
Despite all the negativity, the numbers voting in recent years have been on the increase as the polarization of the electorate has led to more inflamed passion.
This year is likely to be a nail-biter again and will surely rest on a handful of votes across several different states.
It is still a remarkable moment when the greatest democracy in the world passes on power so unremarkably and so free of threats and bluster.
Whoever is elected will take over a country badly in need of strong direction and commitment, and an electorate grown weary of the finger pointing and lack of progress in sorting out the economic mess made after the Great Recession.
We wish the victor well.
Writing a column like this with more than ten days to go is inherently risky. But based on the polling data I’ve been examining, the Electoral College math I’ve been doing and the political instincts I’ve always relied upon, I have a theory of how this year’s extremely close fight for the presidency between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney might unfold when the votes are tallied into the wee hours on election night.
The truth is that I never envisaged that the election would be this close. The president’s disastrous performance in the first televised debate, and Governor’s Romney’s strong showing that night, put paid to my ideas about how things would play out. On that night, Governor Romney appeared to be presidential and a centrist. He undoubtedly appealed to those Americans who were only then tuning in to the campaign.
I had written and said in a number of different fora that I believed Florida would be pivotal to the outcome this year. Specifically, my view was that, if the president were to win Florida, he would prevail in an Electoral College landslide. On the other hand, if Governor Romney were to pull off a victory there, then I believed that President Obama’s path to the 270 Electoral College votes he would need to be re-elected would become less straightforward, yet nearly as certain.
Needless to say, the first debate and the consequential movement in the polls in key battleground states forced me to readjust my calculus. Some commentators, particularly those who favour Governor Romney’s election, have incorrectly relied on national polls in support of their view that both the first debate and the fuller attention being paid to the candidates and the issues by the electorate wholly changed the dynamics of the race.
The first debate and the broader electorate’s heightened focus unquestionably made things tighter. National polls, however, are inherently misleading in US presidential elections and the wild divergences in these polls reflect this reality. Making predictions as to a result based on national polls verges on the nonsensical.
So where does this lead me? And why do I think that Republican-leaning commentators, many of whom now believe that Mitt Romney is likely to be the next president, are wrong?
My fundamental starting point is that the following states – in roughly counter-clockwise order from the northeast and followed by their number of Electoral College votes – can still be regarded as “in play”: New Hampshire (4), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (16), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (6), Colorado (9), Nevada (6), Florida (29), North Carolina (15) and Virginia (13). The dye is fairly well cast in the other 39 states, and barring something completely unforeseen, will leave President Obama with a 10 vote lead, 201-191, over Governor Romney.
The aforementioned mix of data, math and instinct tells me the following.
Obama will win Pennsylvania and Romney will win North Carolina. I suspect somewhat less strongly that Obama will take Michigan and Wisconsin. I have a similarly formed suspicion that Romney will take Virginia and New Hampshire. That would leave things at 247 votes for the incumbent and 223 votes for the challenger.
And here is where hunches come in. My hunch is that Nevada and Iowa will break for Obama. On the other side, my hunch is that Colorado and, yes, Florida will break for Romney. My Obama hunches are shaped by my sense of Nevada’s demographics and by Iowa’s still strong populist streak. My Romney hunches are a product, especially in Florida, of polling data and numbers I find very surprising, but which are difficult to refute, notwithstanding my contrary instincts. Governor Romney and his campaign deserve a lot of credit if this is borne out on November 6th.
They recognized, from the earliest days of the campaign, that they would need to win Florida to win the presidency. To this end, and despite tacking hard-right on just about everything else in the Republican primary, Governor Romney steadfastly defended Social Security. The comments of his primary opponent, Texas Governor Rick Perry, likening the government programme on which so many Florida-based retirees depend to a “Ponzi scheme,” were a gift in this regard. Moreover, the repeated statements of fidelity to Israel and oft-touted friendship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were meant to be heard by Florida’s large Jewish community. They lean Democratic, but have never trusted the president on Israel.
If Romney does indeed win Florida – it is far from certain that he will – it will be by a very narrow margin. And it will be due in no small part to this shrewd posturing on issues that matter to Floridians whose votes were identified at an early stage as being “in play.”
A Romney victory in Florida, coupled with my other hunches being on the money, would put him in the lead by two votes, 261-259. In my analysis, Ohio would then remain to determine who will be the next president.
While polls show the two candidates in a virtual dead heat, I just can’t see Governor Romney winning Ohio for two reasons. First is the extraordinary ground game and get out the vote operation that the Obama re-election team have put together there. Some elements never really went away after 2008, and media reports are that absolutely everything possible has been done to ensure that their voters, particularly African-Americans, exercise their right to vote. Early voting, which is now in full swing, will be crucial.
Second is Governor Romney’s past as a venture capitalist with Bain Capital. Hard-hitting and evidently relentless ads in Ohio highlight his complicity in the demise of companies and the concomitant loss of livelihoods of thousands of working men and women. This makes garnering the votes of blue collar workers and ethnic Catholics, whose support Romney will need to win the state, a far more difficult task.
Accordingly, as of now, my prediction is that President Obama will win 275 Electoral College votes and secure a second term. I may well be wrong. I believe, however, that my error could just as likely lie in underestimating the scale of the president’s triumph as in picking the wrong winner. We shall soon see.
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