- The rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy.
- A government or state in which the wealthy class rules.
- A class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.
...and that the government cannot ban political spending by corporations in elections. The majority ruled that the government has no business regulating political speech (ignoring the obvious fact that corporations aren't actually individuals). The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy, which is, of course, exactly what the majority conservative old males wanted. By conflating "free speech" with campaign contributions, the Supreme Court opened up the floodgates of corporate spending on campaigns in an outrageous effort to erase any remaining line between corporate money and its influence on representative democracy.
|Protesting Plutocracy: Activists against Supreme Court|
Ruling to Treat Corporations like People
Exhibit A. The Best "Democracy" Money Can Buy: Big Political Action Committees (PACs) Contribute Tens of Thousands to Super Committee Members
|Step Right Up! Who's Got an Agenda?|
For those who remember, part of the debt deal between Obama and the extremist republicans was to "kick the can" of spending cuts and revenue increasing down the road by appointing a "Super Committee" of members of Congress--evenly split between democrats and republicans. According to the Sunlight Foundation, large Political Action Committee members contributed $83,000 to these super committee members. PACs from Lockheed Martin, the National Association of Realtors, Pfizer and Chevron all contributed to members of the super committee.
Aside from the fact that this super committee isn't really what congress is supposed to be about (hint: a body that represents all the people), these contributions are a clear, but not terribly surprising attempt to sway their ultimate decisions on how "at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to the debt" will be made.
Exhibit B. Keeping Wealthy Haitian Textile Workers in Check: US Companies and Diplomats Work to Prevent Wages from Growing 40%! (From $3 to $5 per day.)
|US Textile Industry in Haiti? Winning.|
Haitian Textile Workers making $3 a day? Not so much.
Among the many thousands of memoranda and diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, the cables surrounding the quashing of the increase in minimum wages for Haitian textile workers stands out as a particularly horrendous form of plutocrats doing what they do best: undermine the interests of the poorest and most vulnerable while aggrandize the richest and least vulnerable. In June 2011 Think Progress reported the following:
In 2009, the Haitian parliament unanimously passed a measure that would hike the Haitian minimum wage to $5 a day. Contractors for large American clothing firms like Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, and Levi’s began protesting the increase in the minimum wage, aggressively lobbying the parliament and the populist Haitian president, René Préval, to reverse course. They were soon joined by American diplomats who began to lobby the Haitian government as well, arguing that it would be too costly for textile manufacturers.
My Take: The textile industry in Haiti threatened to "make the sector economically unviable and consequently force factories to shut down" if the minimum wage was increased to about the cost of a Venti cappuccino at Starbucks. So, corporations make policy here in the United States with collusion of elected representatives. Corporations make policy abroad with the collusion of elected and unelected "international development" officials. Plutocratic? Much.
Wanna take action? Check http://democracyisforpeople.org. Here's what they have to say about the challenges we face in overturning this...
The problem we now face is that the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution to extend the First Amendment rights of real people to corporations. Congress does not have the power to overturn a court decision based on the Constitution.
But that’s not to say there aren’t things that Congress can and should do. We are pursuing several legislative reforms, including full disclosure of corporate electioneering activities, public financing of elections and a shareholder protection act. These legislative measures can mitigate the problem, but a constitutional amendment is the long-term solution to address the damaging impact of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Click the link below to urge your members of Congress to combat the influence of corporate money in our elections.