Wednesday, July 09, 2014

"WE THE ......" ?

Among the archives at Daykeeper Journal, website of the late Maya del Mar, astrologer, are two of her essays which, though written 12 years ago, in 2002, are even more pertinent today.

In the first piece: Why Corporations Rule the Nation Ms del Mar began:
Corporations provide the matrix for our lives.
 photo by by Neil Whitelaw

Our lives are shaped and governed by corporations. The consumer culture, the sea in which we live, is run by corporate image-making, advertising, and media control. Corporate values become cultural values. Corporate politics become government politics. Every area of our lives is fashioned by the dominant corporate culture.

The corporate movement grows implacably, like a giant amoeba, and threatens to take over the world, and destroy it in the process. As it grows, it shuts out democracy and effective decision-making. It is no wonder that people have quit voting and quit paying attention to civic life. We feel disempowered—and in many ways we are.

How can astrology shed light on this growth of corporate power?

Maya explained the cycles of the outer planets and the relevance of those current at the time of writing. She then went on to look at the chart for the birth of the USA using 4 July 1776 at 5:10 PM, Philadelphia. Snips:
The United States has a lucky chart.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence chart (7-4-1776, 5:10 p.m., Philadelphia) is blessed with a grand earth trine, which means material success comes easily to this nation....................... We have the resources to enable us to develop models for harmonious, bountiful living.

However, this great gift of earth energy has been co-opted by corporations, and much of it transformed into toxins and garbage. The early idealistic political vision of Americans has been gradually subverted by the corporate bottom line of making profit for the corporation. Earth, tangible goods, is also the raw material of corporations.

The U.S. chart is also fortunate in having a Sagittarius Ascendant. This makes Jupiter the chart ruler, governing all U.S. expression of energy. Jupiter is the greater benefic, and shows good fortune and expansion. It is also especially associated with corporations (and old boys’ groups).

20-year Jupiter-Saturn cycles show the social-business character of our everyday lives.............................For most of this nation’s history, we have had Jupiter and Saturn joining every 20 years in earth signs.... This earth phase really went into full gear in 1842, as the Civil War was building up...... We have just experienced our last Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in earth signs for the next 600 years, in May of 2000. This one was at 23 Taurus. Taurus is the most fixed, determined, and possessive of the earth signs. It is loathe to let go. The last conjunction in Taurus was in 1881, which began the "gilded age," the time of millionaires, consolidations, mansions, and high living. Corporations came into their own then.

Now we are closing the long earth cycle with Taurus. Will corporations extend their power, as they have in the past? Will we, the people, look at their excesses and corruption, and decide to take charge of them again? Will we reclaim democracy? Or will it be that the 200-year earth period was the time for corporations to grow into ruling the world?—regardless of who and what gets hurt and destroyed?

This last Taurus conjunction in May 2000 ties in very nicely with the U.S. chart. It helps U.S. corporations move ahead with the steamroller effect until 2020, when we begin the air cycle in Aquarius. In the meantime we can begin to rebuild a democratic movement, and be ready to emerge with some sovereign infrastructure by 2020.

In the second piece, also from 2002, Maya del Mar reviews a book of essays: Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy ed. by Dean Ritz.
She writes:
We take corporations for granted. This is it. This is how life is. We let them define our entire culture, including our political scene, without really asking, "Hey, what’s going on?"

We also take them for granted as we try to fight them—regulation by regulation, harm by harm, in thousands of little battles. And still they grow more powerful. In fact, the first regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission, was established in 1887 at the behest of the railroads to reduce competition, and staffed by railroad people.

It wasn’t this way when the nation was founded. The rebellion against England was, in fact, against corporate charters given by the King to certain companies.

Those who won independence from England hated corporations as much as they hated the King.

The men of property who wrote the Constitution did not want the King’s unfair, oppressive competition. They determined to hold corporations in check. They chartered only a handful of corporations in the decades after independence, and when they did they severely limited a corporation’s powers, purpose, capitalization, and length of existence.

Here are the kinds of limitations that were once law in nearly every state:
Corporations were required to have a clear purpose, to be fulfilled, but not exceeded.
Corporations’ licenses were revocable by state legislatures for any of a great number of reasons, including doing harm to the common good or general welfare.

The act of incorporation did not relieve management or stockholders of responsibility or liability for corporate acts.

As a matter of course, corporation officers, directors, or agents could be held criminally liable for breaking the law.

State (not federal) courts heard cases where corporations or their agents were accused of breaking the law or harming the public.

Directors of the corporation were required to come from among the stockholders.

Corporations had to have their headquarters and meetings in the state where their principal place of business was located.

Corporation charters were granted for a specific period of time, such as 20 years.

Corporations were prohibited from owning stock in other corporations.

Corporations’ real estate holdings were limited to what was necessary to carry out that specific purpose.

Corporations were prohibited from making any political contributions, direct or indirect.

Corporations were prohibited from making charitable or civic donations.

State legislatures set the rates that corporations could charge for their products or services.

All corporation records and documents were open to the legislature.

However, gradually, as people forgot the original corporate excesses, the legislatures dropped their vigilance, and corporate power grew and grew, helped in large part by judges educated in the same law schools as were the corporate attorneys. Many states still have pieces of these laws on the books. However, corporations have established a group of attorneys whose job is to infiltrate states one by one and get these remnants inconspicuously wiped off the record—in the name of "modernizing corporate law statutes."

The coup d’etat occurred when in 1886 the U.S. Supreme Court decreed that corporations are "persons" under the Fourteenth Amendment. This ruling gave corporations almost unprecedented "rights" to question almost any law applied to them and frustrated the ability of the people to direct corporate action in service of the public good. Nearly all of the cases brought under the 14th Amendment are corporate cases, not cases about the equal rights of people!

The question is, "Who’s in charge here?" Corporations are only legal fictions, created by law, controllable by law, and dissolvable by law. They have used cunning propaganda to make us forget that. And in the process we have forgotten democracy, and the sovereignty (imperfect as it is) of the people.

Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy is an extremely illuminating, provocative and helpful book, as well as being easy to read. I strongly recommend that we all read and use it, in our efforts to reclaim democracy.


mike said...

It's very difficult to isolate corporations from their employees, board members, and stock holders...a corporation functions as its individual parts function. Those individual parts are ourselves, family members, friends, neighbors, community members, etc. Upper and mid-level echelon are treated to high salaries, bonuses, and other perquisites necessary to align with the corporate value system in effect. Rewards can create willing fools. Henry Ford paid high salaries to assembly line workers to enable them to purchase the cars they made...clever entrapment.

Some very good quotes from Maya del Mar. She speaks of the late 1800s as the period when corporations shape-shifted into their strongholds. Prior to the early 1900s, most Americans were rural farmers and not dependent on manufactured goods to any great WWI saw the rapid rise of urban living and dependence on corporations for a salaried existence and the concurrent dependence on manufactured goods. The strength of corporations has been proportional to the individuals' dependence on them. It's unfortunate that more people can't become more self-sufficient, as was the mantra of the hippies in the mid-1960s communal living theme.

I've been fortunate to work in the high-tech, biopharmaceutical industry and I was a productive employee that was rewarded for my efforts with high pay, bonuses, stock options, and miscellaneous perks. We called such benefits "the golden handcuffs". I saw, and was made part of, many questionable activities and deeds.

Corporations ARE people that, for some reason, perform as one collective that substantiates and condones its activities. We are all to blame for these conglomerates of individuals (us) that become one with the great corporations that employee us, or have our retirement funds invested, or have our savings invested in their stocks...or simply love their products, though harmful to humans in some manner.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Corporations are legal entities created by humans to aid and ease the running of their businesses. to that extent they are metaphorically legal "persons". Operating a business through the intermediary of a Limited Liability Corporation has benefits, some of which they shouldn't have - there ought to be far more regulation than is already in place in respect of corporate "rights". To my mind that is where the people of the USA are to blame - they have allowed things to go beyond what is reasonable, in so many ways over the years.


Part ignorance, part brain-wash by media, part laziness, part apathy, part passivity, part wanting to be the next millionaire and believing the American Dream propaganda.

Now we're screwed.

The corporations are allowed to buy our politicians, our government, our courts. Our votes mean nothing anymore.

mike (again) said...

Corporations and government are not monsters that predated humans, that were waiting for humans to arrive to have dominion over. Corporations and government are perceived abstractly as something more than the individual constituents acting collectively. I am definitely against the corporate personhood designation given by SCOTUS and I object to the over-reach of government. It's critical to understand that humans constitute corporations and government, and it's the errant group-think that we so much dislike.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, I agree - and humans, whether facets of a corporation or acting as individuals, need fairly strict regulation, otherwise civilisation would descend into utter chaos. We are not capable of ever being "free" due to our genetic and astrological makeup. We're creatures with a quite definite dark side. We also have to rely on other human creatures to make the regulations for us - which fact puts us in a kind of "Catch 22" situation.