Are Corporations People? We say, “No, my friend!” Movement to Amend Constitution begins TODAY (Friday) in Santa Ana.

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Sadly, Romney is technically right.  Since the sneaky re-interpretation of the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause enshrined in the “headnotes” of Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific Railroad by devious railroad owner – slash – court clerk J.C. Bancroft Davies against the express orders of the Chief Justice, and even more since 2009’s monstrous Citizens United decision, corporations are given all the rights of “natural people,” and very few of the responsibilities.

But just think of how many of this nation’s (and this world’s) problems could be so much more easily dealt with if corporations did NOT have the rights of natural people, and the spending of money on politics was NOT considered a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.  I’m always leery of quixotic campaigns to amend the Constitution whether coming from left or right … but if anything is worth that Herculean effort it would be this.

So, my friends in Occupy and elsewhere have twisted my arm – I’m all in for the movement to amend the Constitution along those lines.  The “Move To Amend” movement gets its national kickoff today – Friday January 20, the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision.  And here in Orange County, you’re all invited to our local kickoff at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building in Santa Ana, and Sacser Park across the street.   Among many other fun and educational things, we’ll be premiering a short musical play I wrote on the topic, “Are Corporations People?”  Here, I’ll reprint the press release, and then the script to my skit…


Santa Ana to Participate in OCCUPY THE COURTS — January 20, 2012

Over 100 Protests Planned at Courthouses Nationwide Against Supreme Court Ruling that Corporations Are People

Over 100 courthouses, including Santa Ana and the Supreme Court, will become the focus of Occupy protesters against corporate rule on Friday, January 20. This is one day before the second anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run the government.

Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution mentions corporations, which were rare entities at our nation’s founding. But thanks to decades of rulings by Justices who molded the law to favor elite interests, corporations today are granted privileges that empower them to deny citizens the right to full self-governance. Armed with these rights, corporations wield ever-increasing control over jobs, natural assets, elected officials, judges and the law.

We believe corporations are not persons and possess only the privileges citizens and their elected representatives willfully grant them. Organizers of OCCUPY THE COURTS propose a Constitutional Amendment that will overturn the Court-created legal doctrines of corporate personhood and “Money Equals Speech.”

WHEN: Friday, January 20, 11am–6pm

WHERE: Federal Courthouse 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, CA

WHAT: Advocacy fair, Street theater, Speakers, Music, Games, Artists and More!


To learn more about OCCUPY THE COURTS – 1.20.2012 please visit:

Please let me know if you have any other questions.


Sera Beckham

562 235 7474


[an early version of our costumes]

Are Corporations People?

Musical Play by Vern Nelson


Four Corporations (dressed in box-like costumes) :

• Monsanto

• Goldman Sachs

• General Electric

• Exxon Mobil

Three or Four Cops


(The four corporation-people are playing tennis while chatting mostly amiably)

NARRATOR: Welcome to our little play, where we ask, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling, are corporations really people? To answer this burning question, let’s take a glimpse at what four of our biggest corporations are doing right at this moment – engaging in a little harmless recreation, just like any real person needs to do at times. I give you Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, General Electric and Exxon Mobil, playing tennis and chatting it up at the local country club.

GE: Nice serve, Goldman Sachs!

GS: That’s GOVERNMENT Sachs to you!

X: Yeah, why do they call you that again?

M: Probably because of the constant revolving door between him and the government – Just look at the Treasury Department right now

GE: That’s probably how he gets away with crashing the economy and still paying himself record bonuses.

GS: Escape the onus, don’t skimp on the bonus! We’re the Masters of the Universe!

GE: Hey, you guys get through paying your taxes this year?

GS: That’s so not fair. We’re the JOB CREATORS!

X: Yeah, Job Creators should not have to pay any taxes.

GE: Well guess how much taxes I paid this year? ZERO!


M: Didn’t you make any profits, GE?

GE: Duh. 26 BILLION these last five years! Second largest company in the world. We’re in over 100 countries.

X: And you paid NO TAXES?

GS: Damn, dude. We gotta hire your accountants. What is it you do again?

GE: Oh, a bit of everything. But the most lucrative is nuclear arms. [Sings] WE ARM THE WORLD, WE ARM THE CHILDREN…

X: Hey nice backhand, Monsanto – I see why they call you the most dangerous corporation in the world! Haha

M: You saw that poll? Cool, huh.

GS: And what did you do to deserve that?

M: You mean, besides creating Styrofoam? Saccharine? Agent Orange?

GE: Only the deadliest molecule ever created…

X: Besides genetically modified food? Bovine growth hormone?

M: Well, besides all that, let’s just say I’m well on my way to owning the entire food supply of the Earth. Hey Exxon, I’d been meaning to congratulate you on that new study that shows that global warming doesn’t exist.

GE: And if it does exist, human activity didn’t cause it!

GS: And if human activity did cause it, there’s still nothing we can do about it, without spending  too much money!

X: Yeah, well… you get the Science you pay for, eh? Cost me a cool $16 million – but that’s not much. Not much to the –

ALL: Richest corporation in the history of the world!!!

[Exxon curtsies]

(GS) [under breath] Bastard.

GE: Yeah, how much oil did you get away with spilling this year?

X: Well… more than most countries even use! (All laugh, Exxon’s laugh evolves into nasty phlegm throat clearing)

M: What really burns me up is how these so-called natural people focus on shit like that, instead of all the good we do!

GS: Yeah, don’t they realize we’re people too, just like them?

X: Okay, enough flapping your gums, people – SERVE, Monsanto!

GS: [teasing like at a baseball game] HEYYYYY Job Creator, serve!

[Monsanto serves hard, ball goes offstage, sound of window breaking and neighbor yelling “Hey who broke my window!” First reflex, they all point at each other]

M: [yelling at neighbor] Talk to our lawyers!

GE: [also yelling at neighbor] Yeah, how about we sue YOU instead for being in our way?

GS: Lawyers? I own two Senators!

OTHERS, in surprise: Only TWO?

GS: Well… at LEAST two.

X: People just don’t get it – to err is human…

M: And to get away with it, is corporate! [song begins]

SONG: “We Are People Too, My Friend”



What the public doesn’t understand –

We’re required to maximize profits.

So it’s good that we’ve got the same rights as you,

But none of your obligations!

We are people too, my friend, you know that we’re people too,

For we love and hate and we procreate, and do all the things that you – do

We are people too, my friend, corporations are people too!

And now, thanks to Citizens United, we’re much bigger people than you!

We can spend a hundred million buying Congress, and not have to tell you a thing.

And when we screw up too bad we get a bail out,

Cuz haven’t you heard – we’re too big to fail!

We are people too, my friend, you know that we’re people too,

For we piss and shit and we cough and belch till the skies are no longer blue – oo

We are people too, my friend, corporations are people too!

And now, thanks to Citizens United, we’re much bigger people,

Much better people,

Ten thousand times more people … than YOUUUUU!!!

[sirens interrupt end of song, cops burst in]

COP 1 (sergeant): Hands up, you’re all under arrest for crimes against humanity!

4 CORPS: There’s nobody here but us Corporations, SIR!

COP 1: Yeah, well you let your guards down! While you were busy playing tennis, Congress listened to Occupy Wall Street, and now you corporate people are going to be held responsible for all your crimes, just like a natural person would be.

COP 2: You guys could be looking at Capital Punishment for some of the things you’ve done. SHAMELESS…

COP 3: You’ve been HARD BLOCKED, my friends!

COP 1: MIC CHECK!! (Mic check!) WE ARE THE 99%! (We are the 99%!) Mic check off. Now. Which one of you is Goldman Sachs?

GS: (in robot voice) I am not a person, I am just a corporation…

COP 1: Tell that to Judge Garzon. You’re under arrest for crimes against humanity. Cuff him, boys. Exxon Mobil?

X: Um… all my assets are tied up overseas, officer. Can I go get them?

COP 1: Don’t worry about that, we just seized them this morning. You’re under arrest for crimes against humanity. Monsanto?

M: How about if I just break myself up into a bunch of smaller corporations? I can do that you know, it’s pretty neat. Watch this…

COP 1: Cuff him! You’re under arrest, Monsanto, for crimes against humanity.

And YOU must be General Electric!

GE: [rushes backstage, turns and faces cops, pulls out two big machine guns] Come and get me pigs! I’m General Electric, I’m armed to the teeth, and I know where you live! [Cop 3 has snuck behind GE and now tases him] AGGGHHH!!! [Cop 2 – and 4 if there’s an extra one – beat on him with batons.]

Cop 3: I can’t believe I just tased General Electric! Can I do it again, Sarge?

Cop 1: No, just drag him out of here. You’re under arrest for crimes against humanity and resisting arrest!

GE: [groaning] That taser was made in China.

[Perry Mason Theme comes up]

NARRATOR: To be continued! Join us later this year for The Trial of the Century!  Until then, make sure to sign our petition to amend the Constitution to end corporate personhood. Bug your Congresscritters about this! And visit!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.