Resolution to End Corporate Personhood

Consented to by the NYCGA on 1/3/2012
Consented to by the Politics & Electoral Reform Working Group on 12/29/2011
Proposed by: the Subgroup to End Corporate Personhood of the Politics & Electoral Reform Working Group
Type: Public Statement

A Resolution to End Corporate Personhood

The New York City General Assembly,

Convinced that one critical threat to authentic democratic self-governance comes from the fact that corporations have been defined as legal persons,

Declaring that persons are rightfully recognized as human beings whose essential needs include clean air, clean water, and safe and secure food,

Deeply disturbed that the granting of Constitutional protections to corporations has compromised, or resulted in the destruction of our communities, economy, democracy and natural world in many ways,

Recalling that corporations are human-made legal fictions, and that human citizens are the source of all legitimate power in any democracy,

Deeply concerned that corporations need only profit for survival, and that such profit and survival are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings,

Having observed that the great wealth of large corporations lets them misuse the legal system to overpower human beings and communities, thus denying The People’s rights,

Recalling that corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution, that The People never granted constitutional rights to corporations, but that individual judges and courts have misguidedly done so without Our consent,

Particularly disturbed that the rollback of the legal limits to corporate spending in elections creates an unequal playing field enabling corporations to influence elections, candidate selection, and policy decisions,

Having seen that large corporations own most of America’s mass media and use that media as a megaphone for their own agenda, drowning out other voices, With conviction that defining property as people is fundamentally immoral and a threat to real people, all other life forms, and the planet,

Be it resolved that the New York City General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street joins the millions of citizens, grassroots organizations and local governments across the country in calling for an Amendment to the Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights, and that the rights of human beings will never again be granted to fictitious entities or property.

We support a proposed New York City Council Resolution calling for such an amendment and urge the members to vote YES.

We further call on other communities, movements, and jurisdictions to join with us in this action by passing similar Resolutions.


By making this resolution one of our public statements.


Corporate personhood is incompatible with democracy and individual sovereignty. We have the opportunity to declare our will to restore constitutional protections to human beings.

Occupy Los Angeles came to consensus on a similar resolution on November 27, 2011 (2 days before they were evicted) and another on December 5, 2011 in support of a Los Angeles City Council resolution to end corporate personhood which passed unanimously on Dec 6, 2011.

On January 4, 2012, the New York City Council is set to vote on a similar resolution calling on Congress to begin the process of amending the Constitution in order to reverse the 2010 Supreme Court ruling of “Citizens United vs. Federal Electoral Commission.”

Making this public statement days before the City Council votes, and before large-scale national actions marking the 2-year anniversary of “Citizens United” on January 20 and 21, positions OWS as a key voice in the dialogue and creates a powerful and resonant context that can rally more people to the movement.

We propose this resolution as one of many strategies for self-empowerment, not as part of a political party or as an endorsement of the current political system, but as one of many parallel efforts at curbing corporate dominion.

4 Responses to “Resolution to End Corporate Personhood”

  1. William Falberg

    You’re going to need a lot more than resolutions to break the hold of a deeply entrenched corpocratic culture. It’s going to take a clearly worded Constitutional Amendment with a lot more “teeth” than the ones being proposed in Congress or some of the other Article Five movements. You can’t just say they’re not persons without describing exactly what they ARE. Leave it open like that and corporate lawyers will fill in the blanks with a legal definition granting corporations even more rights than they already have. We really need to decide what legal status corporations will hold in society AFTER personhood is revoked. I wrote this, I think it’s a start. The wording of a 28th Amendment should be the subject of a protracted national debate. Unless this is clarified to the satisfaction of a voting majority your time and effort will all be for nothing.
    Amendment#28 “Corporations are not persons in any sense of the word and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; which shall include, but are not limited to; 1 prohibitions against any corporation becoming so large its failure would pose a threat to national security or harm the general economy, 2 prohibitions against any form of interference in the affairs of government, education, and news media, and 3 provisions for civil and criminal penalties to be paid by corporate executives for violation of the terms of a corporate charter.”

  2. Mike Swayze

    some things come to mind on this. corporate america as a stereotype for one (me and you working for someone we know?). The ‘limited’ adjustments
    the government is supposed to make in economic matters are not limited as they should be-part of the corrupt nature of power. One
    would want to file a class action suit aginst BP on the part of the american people- I have lost access to
    what were once pristine beaches- whats that worth ‘monetarily’ to a multibillion dollar multinational corporation. Why do the
    multinationals get the tax breaks and incentives they get? no one else does- not even the 6 figure income bunch.
    take away the incentives-$$$…make them cleanup the mess they leave behind ahead of time, etc.
    2 billion a year forecasted for the superfund…
    there is lots more.