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THE CORPORATION [22/23]

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You take this to its logical conclusion. One would have an image that we are in fact at this the end of the world this nigh. And we are all completely brainwashed and there is no space left. And I don't believe we're there yet. [Psycho Therapies] And l think it's really important that we don't overstate the case and that we admit that there are cracks and fissures in all of these corporate structures. And sometimes when a corporation is concentrating on one particular project they look the other way and all kinds of interesting things happen in the corner. It is the case in every period of history where injustice based on falsehoods, based on taking away the right and freedoms of people to live and survive with dignity that eventually when you call a bluff the tables turn. Ultimately capital puts its foot down somewhere. And anywhere it puts its foot down, it can be held accountable. Originally Wal-Mart and Kathy Lee Gifford had said, why should we believe you that children work in this factory? What we didn't tell them was that Wendy Dias in the centre of the picture was on a plane to the United States. This is Wendy Dias. She comes to the United States. She's unstoppable. Congress heard testimony today from children who testified they were exploited by sweatshops overseas. Kathy Lee Gifford apologized to Wendy Dias It was the most amazing thing I'd seen. This powerful celebrity leans over and says, Wendy, please believe me I didn't know these conditions existed. And now that I do I'm going to work with you. I'm going to work with these other people and it'll never happen again. And that night we signed an agreement with Kathy Lee Gifford. I thought it would be a relatively easy process and it isn't. As for every question I have there seem to be five questions that come back tome. As far as Wal-Mart goes and Kathy Lee pretty much everything returned to sweatshop conditions but because this was fought out on television for weeks this incident with Kathy Lee Gifford actually took the sweatshop issue took every single part of the country. And so frankly after that there's hardly a single person in this country who doesn't know about child labour or sweatshops or starvation wages. [Several years after the Walmart controversy,] [Kathy Lee handbags were still being made in China by workers paid 3 cents per hour.] [Under pressure from the National Labor Committee,] [Gap Inc. allowed independent monitoring of its El Salvador factories,] [becoming the first transnational corporation to do so anywhere.] So what wanted to do is to look at the very roots of the legal form that created this beast, and wanted to think who can hold them accountable. They're not graven in stone. They can be dismantled. And in fact most states have laws which require that they be dismantled. For too long now giant corporations have been allowed to undermine democracy here in the United States and all over the world. But today the lnternational Lawyer's Guild and 29 other groups and individuals are fighting back. We are calling upon State Attorney General Dan Lungren to comply with California law and to revoke the corporate charter of the Union Oil Company of California for its repeated and grievous offences. This is the statute that is well-known. It has been used. It can be used. What this will mean is the dissolution of the Union Oil Company of California the sale of its assets under careful court orders to others who will carry on in the public interest. This is nothing more than a smear campaign. This company has been part of California's economy for over 100 years, thousands of jobs. Doesn't mean it's never made any mistakes, paid for those mistakes, but this demonizing of a company, I think I am in a time warp or something that I fell asleep and woke up 50 years ago and we heard that kind of rhetoric. Well we have a very very broad set of people angry, very angry at this corporation. Well, people from the left of the spectrum who don't produce anything except hot air. From its complicity in unspeakable human rights violations overseas against women, gays, labourers and indigenous peoples to its efforts to subvert U. S. foreign policy and deceive the courts the public and its own stockholders Unocal is emblematic of corporate abuse and corporate power run amok. ??? a busines ??? with ??? Burma army is immoral. Unocal cannot do business in Burma without supporting that hopeless regime... [The Attorney General of California refused to revoke the corporate charter of Union,] [but it did aknowledge his office had the power to do so.] The curse for me has been the fact that in making these you know documentary films I've seen that they actually can impact change so I'm just compelled to just keep making them. Yep, that's me doing what I do. All year long I give big companies a hard time, but at Christmas time I like to set aside my differences and reach out to big business like cigarette companies. [PHILIP MORRIS HEADQUEARTERS Maker of Marbolo cigarettes] Deck the Halls with boughs of holly... fa la la la la la la la I went to Littleton Colorado where the Columbine shooting took place and I didn't know this, but when I arrived I learned what the primary job is of the parents of the kids who go to Columbine High School. The number one job in Littleton Colorado They work for Lockheed Martin building weapons of mass destruction. But they don't see the connect between what they do for a living and what their kids do at school or did at school. (2 students shot class-mates and teachers) And so I'm kind of you know up on my high horse thinking about this and, I thought you know I said to my wife we both are sons and daughters of auto workers in Flint Michigan. There isn't a single one of us back in Flint, any of us including us, who ever stopped to think, this thing we do for a living, the building of automobiles, is probably the single biggest reason why the polar ice caps are going to melt and end civilization as we know it. There's no connect between I'm just an assembler on an assembly line building a car which is good for people and society and it moves them around. But never stop to think about the larger picture and the larger responsibility of what were doing. Ultimately we have to as individuals accept responsibility for our collective action and the larger harm that it causes you know in our world. Today the first of two historic town hall meetings will get underway in Arcata California 61% of Arcatans voted in favour of publicly discussing whether democracy is even possible with large corporations with so much wealth and power under law. They also voted to form a committee to ensure democratic control over corporations in Arcata. Corporations are not accountable to the democratic process. That is what this is about. I don't want to make decisions about everything that goes on in their corporation. But I do have a strong belief that they don't need to be held accountable to us. If we don't like certain products if we don't like Pepsi-Cola, a Bank of America well if you don't like what they do, don't use them. That's the way I see the peoples power is. You have a lot more money than me You have more votes than I do. If we use the model of boycott and voting with your dollars that's an undemocratic situation. What are we afraid of? I mean are all the businesses going to leave Arcata? I don't think so. And if they did wed deal with it or wed figure it out or wed do something different. We're creative people. I just don't see why we are afraid. If you think it's tough making a decision where to buy your stuff today, how tough do you think it is when there's only one provider and it's the state. And by the way you don't get to have this little democracy forum in those communities either. People that say that they fear their govern meant I really hope that they understand that they're allowed to participate in their government they're not allowed to participate in anything the corporations do. So don't fear the government. Help it be the government that you wont fear. If this many people around the country would do this instead of watching Super bowl Sunday our nation would be controlled by the people not by the corporations. ... no more chain restaurants in Arcata after a long awaited decision... [Falling short of the hopes of Measure F organizers, a bylaw was] [ultimatley passing limiting the number of chain restaurants to 9] [-- the number already in Arcata at the time.] [Licking and Porter Townships in Pennsylvania, however, made a history] [-- by adopting ordinances that eliminate a croporation's ability to] [claim ANY constitutional rights as a "person."] Over the past decade we have been gaining ground. And when I say we, I mean, ordinary people committed to the welfare of all humanity. All people irrespective of gender and class and race and religion. All species on the planet. We managed to take the biggest government and one of the largest chemical companies to court on the case of Neemand, and win a case against them. W. R. Grace and the U. S. governments patent on Neem was revoked by a case we brought along with the greens of European parliament and the international organic agriculture movement. We won because we worked together. [Power to the Green Revolutionaries! Neem tree patent is our right!] We have overturned nearly 99% of the basmati patent of Ricetek. Again, because we worked as a world wide coalition, old women in Texas, scientists in India, activists sitting in Vancouver, a little basmati action group. We stopped the third world being viewed as the pirate and we showed the corporations were the pirate. Look how little it took for Gandhi to work against the salt laws of the British where the British decided the way they would make their armies and police forces bigger is just tax the salt. And all that Gandhi did was walk to the beach pick up the salt and say nature gives it for free. We need it. We've always made it. We will violate your laws. We will continue to make salt. We've had a similar commitment for the last decade in India. That any law that makes it illegal to save seed is a law not worth following. We will violate it because saving seed is a duty to the earth and to future generations. We thought it would really be symbolic. It is more than symbolic. It is becoming a survival option. Farmers who grow their own seeds, save their own seeds, don't buy pesticides, have threefold more incomes than farmers who are locked into the chemical treadmill depending on Monsanto and Cargill. We have managed to create alternatives that work for people. There are many tools for bringing back community. But the importance is not the tools. I mean there's litigation, there's legislation, there's direct action, there's education, boycotts, social investment... There's many many ways to address issues of corporate power. But in the final analysis, what's really important, is the vision. You have to have a better story. Do I know you well enough to call you fellow plunderers? There is not an industrial company on earth, not an institution of any kind, not mine, not yours, not anyone's, that is sustainable. I stand convicted by me myself alone, not by anyone else, as a plunderer of the earth but not by our civilizations definition. By our civilization's definition I'm a captain of industry. In the eyes of many a kind of modern-day hero. But, really, really, the first industrial revolution is flawed, it is not working. It is unsustainable. It is the mistake. And we must move on to another and better industrial revolution and get it right this time. When I think of what could be, I visualize an organization of people, committed to a purpose, and the purpose is doing no harm. I see a company that has severed the umbilical cord to earth for its raw materials taking raw materials that have already been extracted and using them over and over again driving that process with renewable energy. It is our plan, it remains our plan to climb Mount Sustainability. That mountain that is higher than Everest. Infinitely higher than Everest. Far more difficult to scale. That point at the top symbolizing zero footprint... [Since 1995, Interface has reduced its ecological footprint by one third.] [Its stated goal is to be sustainable by 2020.] So we've got to undo a lot of things in order to be smart enough to do this really dangerous and risky and difficult work, you know, the best way that we possibly can. And that means people coming together and learning a whole lot of stuff that we just don't know, that has been driven out of the culture, driven out of the society driven out of our minds. That tome is the most exciting thing. That is happening. It's happening all over the world now. At the climax of the strugle, the army stayed in their barracks; the police also remained in the stations; the members of Congress become invisible; the Governor went into hiding; and afterwards, he resigned. There wasm't any authority left. The only legitimate authority was the people gathered at the city square making decisions in large assemblies. And, at the end, they made the decisions about the water. I think people, all of us, young and old, were able to taste, to quench our thirst for democracy. ... brothers and sisters, we've done it! We've inherited a state company with technical problems and with financial and legal problems, with administrative problems. We are dealing with all of them. If we could prove that ordinary working people are able to resovle their own problems, we could be facing the possibility that all which was privatized, all that was sold, all that is in the hands of the corporations, be returned to the people's hands. So, I learned, at the time, a very important lesson, that one should never underestimate the power of the people. Seeing the slogan that I always repeated in the demonstartions: The people, united, will never be defeated! Seeing it become a reality was just incredible for me. [Cochabamba's victory cost 6 dead and 175 injuried,] [including 2 children blinded by tear gas.] [Inspired by Cochabamba's example, popular movements around the world] [continue to successfully resist water privatization schemes.]

Video Details

Duration: 17 minutes and 17 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: MARK ACHBAR and BART SIMPSON
Director: MARK ACHBAR and JENNIFER ABBOTT
Views: 160
Posted by: rafaelmatheus on May 30, 2010

The public is starting to fight back and demand accountability from its corporations and an end to abuse. The Kathy Lee Gifford and Walmart scandal brought the issue of sweatshops into the national consciousness, yet they still exist. There is a disconnect between what we do for a living and taking responsibility for the effect it has on our planet. Citizens everywhere are exploring strategies to bridge the gap and regain democratic control. "One should never underestimate the power of the people."

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