FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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..

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 07, 2020
Marc Haggerty
Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t
Manuel García, Jr.
A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day”
George Wuerthner
How Fuel Breaks Fuel Fires
Marshall Sahlins
Election 2020
April 06, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism
W. T. Whitney
Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die
Cesar Chelala
Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer
David A. Schultz
Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump
Nomi Prins 
Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus
Dean Baker
Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually
Dave Lindorff
Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 7 Pro-Contagion Reversals Increase the Coronavirus Toll
David Swanson
A Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus
Ellen Brown
Was the Fed Just Nationalized?
Jeff Birkenstein
Postcards From Trump
Nick Licata
Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image
Kathy Kelly
“He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”
Graham Peebles
Change Love and the Need for Unity
Kim C. Domenico
Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Files Lawsuit to Stop Logging and Burning Project in Rocky Mountain Front Inventoried Roadless Area
Stephen Cooper
“The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail