20 January 1996
We are writing to urge you to attend the 1996 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, which will be held in Eugene, Oregon March 7-10. In order to provide key historical and analytical information and to stimulate discussion and strategizing, The Program On Corporations will be presenting nine seminars on corporations, lawyers, democracy, justice and the law. In addition, the LAW conference organizers have invited Richard to deliver one of the keynote addresses. His talk, "Revoking The Corporation: Law, Democracy and The Sovereign People," will take place on Friday, March 8.
Around the country (and around the world), people are realizing that there is not enough time or energy to resist one corporate chemical at a time, one corporate clear-cut at a time, one corporate union busting at a time, one corporate bastardization of democratic processes at a time. . . Growing numbers now believe that the way to stop individual corporate harms is to take away the rights and powers -- the privileges and immunities -- which all corporations have seized from the sovereign people during the past century. And increasingly, people are becoming clear that the only real way to bring giant anti-democratic and destructive corporations to justice is to dismantle them altogether.
Cornel West has pointed out that "[t]he sheer power of corporate capital . . . makes it difficult to imagine what a free and democratic society would look like (or how it would operate) if there were publicly accountable mechanisms that alleviated the vast disparities in resources, wealth, and income owing in part to the vast influence of big business on the US Government and its legal institutions." This Environmental Law Conference offers a golden opportunity for people from around the nation to help one another overcome the corporate colonization of our minds. Together, we can uproot what Edward Said has labeled the "ideological pacification" that our corporate culture has imposed upon our lives and imagine a world free from the rule -- and assault -- of giant global corporate fictions.
Great gaps have always existed between the ideals and the achievements of the American Revolution. Our Constitution and the law have served as tools for legalized oppression as well as for inspiration and liberation. But as Arthur Kinoy has written, "the lawyer is in reality an activist, shaping the ideas and concepts of bodies in existing law to serve the needs of the forces that the lawyer represents." Come to Eugene and join with activist lawyers and activist citizen organizers to plan the end of corporate rule.
We hope to see you in March. Attached is a description of the seminars we are organizing. Information on how to register for the gathering can be found at the bottom of page 4.
In Solidarity, [signed] [signed] Richard Grossman, Ward Morehouse
THE PROGRAM ON CORPORATIONS, LAW & DEMOCRACY
NINE SEMINARS ON
CORPORATIONS, LAWYERS, DEMOCRACY,
JUSTICE & THE LAW
1996 PUBLIC INTEREST ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
University of Oregon Law School
Eugene, Oregon, March 7-10, 1996
"The legal system of any country has a definite
history which helps us to understand its provisions and shows
how it changes according to varying social conditions, and
even according to the will of certain powerful individuals."
-- Prof. Morris Raphael Cohen, 1941Thursday, March 7I. Student Organizing Inside College and University Corporations:
"Spurred on by corporations, universities encourage professors to abandon classrooms for research centers and laboratories." -- Lawrence Soley, Leasing The Ivory Tower: The Corporate Takeover Of Academia, 1995.
"[I]nsofar as a society is dominated by the attitudes of competitive business enterprise, freedom in its proper American meaning cannot be known, and hence, cannot be taught. That is the basic reason why the schools and colleges, which are, presumably, commissioned to study and promote the ways of freedom are so weak, so confused, so ineffectual." -- Alexander Meiklejohn
The natures and roles of educational institutions (non-profit corporations) in a democracy; the role of students within colleges and universities, and in national political and social movements.
Rob Inerfeld, Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy; Mustafa Kasubhai, President, University of Oregon Law School Student Bar Association;
II. Corporate Violence And Lawlessness Against Workers, Political Activists And The Environment:
"Force could be used when crisis demanded it, and the half-decade ending in 1920 certainly proved that employers would call upon any means at their disposal when their class position was in jeopardy." -- Richard Edwards, Contested Terrain, 1979
"The laws of the land are supported by the use of violence: that is, the use of physical force to make people obey the law." -- Myles Horton, The Long Haul, 1990
Gene Lawhorn, labor historian for KBOO radio, Portland; Greg Kafourey, Esq., Portland; George Draffan, Institute on Trade Policy, Seattle;Friday, March 8III. Corporate Lawyers & Judges Transforming the Law:
The various theories of the corporations; concocted legal doctrines and corporate law -- the commerce clause, personhood, loyalty, care, business judgment rule; citizen sovereignty, federalism and states rights; the disempowerment of stockholders.
Professor David Saari, Department of Justice. Law & Society, American University; Richard Grossman. Program on Corporations;IV. Giant Corporations Acting As Political Bodies:
What large corporations are, what they do -- the extent of corporate control over governance, work, money, thought, community, production, resources, education, foreign policy . . .
Professor David Saari; Professor Keith Aoki, University of Oregon Law School; Greg Kafourey, Esq., Portland; Ward Morehouse, Program On Corporations, NY.
11:12:30 -- lunch time keynote: -- Revoking The Corporation: Law, Democracy & The Sovereign People, Richard Grossman, Program On Corporations, Massachusetts
V. Citizen Struggles Against Corporate Power In The 20th Century:
How political and social movements both struggled against, and conferred legitimacy upon, the giant corporation; successes and failures, from anti-trust to environmental legislation to worker and community uprisings; "feigned dissent" and false victories; the growth and diversion of popular movements; lessons to be learned.
Dennis Green, Visiting Professor, University of Oregon Law School; Ward Morehouse, Program on Corporations; Jane Anne Morris, Democracy Unlimited, Wisconsin; Assante Riverwind, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, Oregon;Saturday, March 9VI. Alternatives to Giant Corporations:
Forging institutional, legal and cultural transitions; redirecting money and resources.
Ward Morehouse, Program On Corporations: Professor Robin Morris Collin, University of Oregon Law School: Professor Steve Bender, University of Oregon Law SchoolVII. Rethinking Property/Regulatory and Administrative Law As Corporate Shields:
Intangible corporate "rights" as property; diverse ownership/use perspectives on real property; the reliance interest; the impact of legal doctrines on property in regulatory and administrative law; regulatory and administrative agencies as barriers between the sovereign people and corporate fictions.
Professor Keith Aoki, University of Oregon Law School; Richard Grossman; Jane Anne Morris;
VIII. People's Lawyers In Popular Offensives Against Corporate Rule/Withdrawing Constitutional Protections From Corporations:
" . . . the lawyer is in reality an activist shaping the ideas and concepts of bodies in existing law to serve the needs of the forces that the lawyer represents. . . . If skilled lawyers for the corporation and for the government understand this fact and function this way in the interest of their establishment clients, why cannot lawyers for the people also fashion legal concepts into weapons of struggle to meet the needs of their clients?"
-- Arthur Kinoy, On Trial: The Odyssey Of A People's Lawyer, 1983
Legal strategizing and political organizing as part of citizen movements for justice; crafting new constitutional theory arguments and law; revoking corporate charters; withdrawing personhood and other privileges and immunities from corporations; creative lawyering for defense and offense.
Greg Kafourey; Ward Morehouse; Bob Collin, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and civil rights attorney, University of Oregon; Jane Anne Morris;Sunday, March 10:
MORNING STRATEGY SESSION -- two hoursIX. Building A Planetary Corporate Disempowerment/Dismantling Movement:
Where do we go from here? Next steps.
Chuck Miller, Coast Range Association; Karen Coulter, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project; Jane Anne Morris; Ward Morehouse; George Draffan;
For more information about the 1996 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, or to register, contact the Land Air Water Environmental Research Group, Law Center, Eugene, Oregon 97403. (503) 346-3828; fax (503) 346-3884.
To learn more about the work of The Program On Corporations, Law & Democracy, or about these nine seminars on Corporations, Lawyers, Democracy, Justice and Law, write to Box 246, S. Yarmouth, MA 02664-0246. (508) 398-1145; Fax (508) 398-1552. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: http://www.poclad.org/.