FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Richard Grossman 1943-2011

Last month, Richard Grossman sent me an e-mail.

He wanted to let me know of legislation he helped draft that would criminalize the corporate form.

It was classic Richard Grossman.

“If people want to go into business, fine,” Grossman said. “But this law would strip away 500 years of constitutional protections and privileges. No more limited liability for shareholders. No more perpetual life. No more constitutional protections.”

In a footnote to the draft law, Grossman writes that “in a corporate state, law, culture, contrived celebration and tradition illegitimately clothe directors and executive officers of chartered incorporated businesses in governing authority.”

“This is usurpation,” he writes. “A corporate state nurtures, enables and expedites such illegitimate governing authority by violence enforced by courts, jails, police and military force and by historians. Less-overtly ferocious institutions – for profit and non profit – routinely reinforce that reality.”

This was typical Grossman.

When others inspired by him had launched campaigns to ban corporate personhood, he moved on.

Last month, he objected to being called the father of the movement to challenge corporate personhood – what he dismissively calls the “corporate personhood fetish.”

“ I never focused on personhood,” Grossman said last month. “I helped to explain Supreme Court cases starting with Dartmouth College in 1819 that turned business corporation directors into usurpers.”

“My focus was on the Constitution as a minority-rule plan of governance, and on usurpations galore.”

“And so this move to amend the Constitution that sprung up after the Citizens United decision – I don’t understand it as strategy, as an educational process, as an organizing process, as a goal.”

“Why validate the idea that amending the Constitution offers a remedy for two hundred years of minority rule? For today’s corporate state? Corporate ‘speech’ is such a minuscule aspect of the nation’s private governance and mass denials that have been in place since the nation was founded.”

He kept moving to root causes.

He challenged the Occupy Wall Street movement to move beyond talk of corruption and greed.

“There’s no shortage of corruption and greed going all around,” Grossman said. “But corruption and greed are not the problem. They are diversions.”

“The essence of the power arrayed against the 99 percent are structures of minority-rule governance deeply rooted, honored and celebrated, even by, I suspect, many of the people who are occupying Wall Street today.”

“I’m referring to the great myths of this nation’s founding and founders, of the U.S. Constitution and constitutional jurisprudence, the nonsense about limited governance, the sanctification of ‘the rule of law’ when lawmaking and interpreting and enforcing have been the special preserve in every generation of a small minority.”

“I’m talking about the private ordering of economic decision making, the sweeping constitutional privileges wielded by directors of the ‘creatures of law’ we call chartered, incorporated businesses camouflaged as ‘free enterprise’ and ‘the invisible hand.’”

“I hope that teach-ins about such realities in Wall Street and Washington and other places are going on. So far, I’ve not seen evidence.”

When I interviewed him last month, Grossman was in Sweden visiting his daughter. I asked him how he was doing. He said that he had been diagnosed earlier in the year with melanoma. He asked me not to mention it to anyone. He said he was being treated and he would be fine.

It was not to be.

I was saddened to hear today that the cancer caught up with him.

He passed away in New York City on Tuesday November 22, 2011.

Thank you Richard, friend.

Thank you for pushing, and challenging, and opening our eyes.

Russell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter.

 

 

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

November 20, 2018
John Davis
Geographies of Violence in Southern California
Anthony Pahnke
Abolishing ICE Means Defunding it
Maximilian Werner
Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: a Biocultural Explanation
Masturah Alatas
Undercutting Female Circumcision
Jack Rasmus
Global Oil Price Deflation 2018 and Beyond
Geoff Dutton
Why High Technology’s Double-Edged Sword is So Hard to Swallow
Binoy Kampmark
Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange
Rev. William Alberts
America Fiddles While California Burns
Forrest Hylton, Aaron Tauss and Juan Felipe Duque Agudelo
Remaking the Common Good: the Crisis of Public Higher Education in Colombia
Patrick Cockburn
What Can We Learn From a Headmaster Who Refused to Allow His Students to Celebrate Armistice Day?
Clark T. Scott
Our Most Stalwart Company
Tom H. Hastings
Look to the Right for Corruption
Edward Hunt
With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the US Finally Change Its Policy?
Thomas Knapp
Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago
November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail