More on the corporate voice in politics

So I just finished watching this documentary entitled Unprecedented. The 2000 Presidential Election. It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know thanks to reporting by Greg Palast or Salon.com, but it was good to see all the information in one place and presented so coherently. It was a good overview, in other words.

One of the special features on the dvd deals with the rise of corporate political power. It's very fashionable today to dismiss people who warn against the rise of corporate power as hopeless Luddites who only want to throw wooden shoes into the workings of the global economy, but in political terms, the threat that corporations pose to democracy as we know it is very real.

Corporations, like any other entity, have a vested interest in getting and maintaining access to those in positions of power, and because they are essentially machines for making money, it's easier for them to influence those in power, far easier than it is for any individual, even if you are independently wealthy.

One of the people interviewed for the documentary pointed out this very salient point, and it's related to my last post. Corporations are viewed as legal persons, but they're not citizens at least in the sense of not being able to vote. So why do we allow them to influence our politics? Why should we allow any entity, whether a corporation, a union, an advocacy group, a PAC, or any other type of group to contribute money to political parties or politicians? And don't raise First Amendment issues to me--I'm not talking about limiting their rights of free speech or their ability to purchase advertising on the open market--I'm talking about corporate donations to parties, donations that translate into favorable legislation or access. If they're not persons able to cast votes, then why should they be allowed to influence our political system?

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