Rethinking Resistance to Corporate Rule

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Historically penalties imposed on corporations that broke the law were more severe than simple fines (that are usually taken as tax write-offs these days). Revoking a corporation’s charter was the most severe action and was common during the first hundred years of this country’s founding. Charter revocation – essentially a corporate death penalty – means that the corporation’s assets are divided amongst its chief creditors (in some cases this was the workers of the company) and stockholders, and the corporation was no longer permitted to exist. Each state has its own charter revocation process. In California the state Attorney General files the revocation on behalf of the citizens (this keeps citizens from bearing the potentially enormous costs of confronting a huge corporation). Charter revocations are still a legal mechanism that ‘We the People’ could begin to utilize again in order to protect ourselves from corporate harm.

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