FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What About Some Corporate Patriotism?

What would happen if we asked the executives of the giant U.S. corporations, whose products constantly surround us, to show some corporate patriotism?

After all, General Electric, DuPont, Citigroup, Pfizer and others demand that they be treated as “persons” under our Constitution and our laws. And, they expect unfiltered loyalty from American workers even to the point of blocking the organization of unions so workers can band together for collective bargaining.

Moreover, many of these corporations expect to be bailed out by American taxpayers when they are in trouble, and they regularly receive a covey of direct and indirect government subsidies, giveaways and complex handouts.

Some of them pay no federal income taxes year after year, and a few game the tax laws to receive additional money back from the U.S. Treasury. Historically, the U.S. Marines and other U.S. armed forces have risked their lives to protect or protect these corporations’ overseas interests by invading or menacing numerous countries.

So it is reasonable for the American people to expect some reciprocity from these immense corporate entities that were born in the U.S. and rose to their economic prowess on the backs of American workers. The bosses of these companies believe they can have it both ways – getting all the benefits of their native country while shipping whole industries and jobs to communist and fascist regimes abroad that keep their workers in serf-like conditions.

The first test as to whether these U.S. companies have any allegiance to the U.S. and its communities is to demand that CEOs stand up at their annual shareholders meetings and pledge allegiance in the name of their corporation, not their boards of
directors, “to the flag of the United States of America,” ending with that ringing phrase, voiced by millions of Americans daily, “with liberty and justice for all.”

More than seventy years ago, a famous Marine general, the double Congressional Medal of Honor awardee Smedley Butler, said his Marines were ordered to make sure the flag followed U.S. companies from Central America to Asia. In the past, the lack of allegiance was shockingly callous. DuPont and General Motors worked openly with fascist Germany and its companies before World War II and did not sever all dealings when hostilities started.

About fifteen years ago, I sent letters to the CEOs of the top 100 largest U.S. chartered corporations asking that they pledge allegiance to our country in the name of their company at their annual shareholders meetings. Their responses were instructive. Many said they would review the request; others turned it down, while some were ambiguous, misconstruing the request as being directed to their boards of directors instead of their U.S. chartered corporate entity.

Walmart replied that they would “give it every consideration.” Federated Department Stores expressly thought it was a good suggestion. Citicorp (now Citigroup) wrote that it is “not our practice to respond.”

Time for an update. I’ve just sent letters to twenty of the largest U.S. chartered companies renewing the request for the pledge. They include Exxon Mobil, Walmart, Chevron, General Motors, General Electric, Ford Motor, AT&T, Bank of America, Verizon Communications, J.P. Morgan Chase, Apple, CVS Caremark, IBM, Citigroup and Cardinal Health.

Imagine the CEOs of General Motors (or Exxon Mobil, Citigroup, Bank of America, etc.) pledging allegiance “to the Flag of the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

You may wish to contact these companies and urge their CEOs to take the pledge. This effort needs your participation as consumers, workers, taxpayers or shareholders. It opens up a long-overdue discussion about corporate patriotism and what it all should mean.

As conservative author Patrick Buchanan wrote some years ago: “If they [large U.S. corporations] are not loyal to us, why should we be loyal to them?”

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.


 

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail