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Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It 1st Edition

40 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1609941055
ISBN-10: 1609941055
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeff Clements is a co-founder and General Counsel of Free Speech for People, a national, nonpartisan campaign to strengthen self-government and democracy in America by reversing Citizens United v. FEC and corporate rights doctrines that unduly leverage corporate economic power into political power. Jeff is also founder of Clements Law Office, LLC, and has represented and advocated for people, businesses and the public interest since 1988.

Bill Moyers is an American journalist and public commentator with an extensive involvement with public television, producing documentaries and news journal programs. He has been president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy since 1990.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (January 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609941055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609941055
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeff Clements is co-founder and chair of the board of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, and to strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. Jeff co-founded Free Speech For People in 2009, after representing several public interest organizations with a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Citizens United case.

Jeff has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 staff in the enforcement of environmental, healthcare, financial services, civil rights, antitrust and consumer protection laws. In private practice, Jeff has been a partner in a large Boston firm, and in his own firm.

Jeff also has served in leadership capacities on numerous boards, including that of the Portland Water District, a public agency responsible for protecting and delivering safe drinking water and ensuring proper treatment of wastewater for 160,000 people; Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental organization he co-founded with others to protect and enhance stewardship of Maine's Casco Bay; and The Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts.

In 2012, Jeff co-founded Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides cost-effective capital to farmers and businesses engaged in local, sustainable agriculture.

Jeff graduated with distinction in History and Government from Colby College, and magna cum laude from the Cornell Law School. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts.

Twitter: @ClementsJeff

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 118 people found the following review helpful By David C N Swanson on January 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book should mainstream the campaign to end corporate personhood.

Clements traces the development of the legal doctrine of corporate personhood back long before the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision two years ago this month, in particular to President Richard Nixon's appointment of Lewis Powell to the Supreme Court in 1972. Led by Powell's radical new conception of corporate rights, Clements shows, the court began striking down laws that protected living breathing persons' rights in areas including the environment, tobacco, public health, food, drugs, financial regulation, and elections.

In 1978 the Supreme Court ruled that corporations had speech rights that prevented banning their money from an election, a conclusion that might have been nearly incomprehensible a decade earlier before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and various corporate foundations began filling our public discourse with phrases like "corporate speech." In 1980 Congress forbade the Federal Trade Commission from protecting children or students from junk food advertising and sales. In 1982 corporate speech rights in the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a state law that had attempted to block energy companies from promoting greater energy consumption. In the 1990s, the Monsanto corporation, whose genetically engineered drug was banned in many countries, won the right to include it in milk in the United States and the "right not to speak," thereby overturning a law requiring that milk be labeled to indicate the drug's presence.

Decision after decision has extended corporate rights to a position of priority over actual human rights on everything from food and water and air to education and healthcare and wars. The ground has shifted.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Diogenes on January 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a social-change activist since 1969, and one who has been studying and writing about "The Pernicious Fiction of Corporate Personhood" for many years, I can heartily recommend Jeff Clement's book. It brings the work of the late Richard Grossman (Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy) and Thom Hartmann (Unequal Protection) up to the present moment, lucidly explains the effect of corporate dominance on our daily lives, and paves a path for all those who care about restoring our "improbable" experiment in republican democracy both back to its foundations and forward to its promise.

With clarity and eloquence unexpected in such a treatise, Jeff Clements articulates a positive vision and a practical guide for Tea Partiers and #Occupiers alike to join hands in the most important work that American citizens can take on at this pivotal moment in our common journey. It is an inspiration and an invitation. Read it and you will want to do your part in creating a legacy worth leaving to our progeny.

In 1776, Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense, which laid out the historical precedents and current sad state of affairs of America, and proposed that we unite in drawing a line and standing together for "the rights of mankind and of the free and independent states of America". That pamphlet inspired a revolution. Two hundred thirty-six years later, almost to the day, Jeffrey Clements published another clarion call for restoring our human rights and the independence of our nation, with a similarly common sense strategy for a second American revolution.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By mackolb on February 11, 2012
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If you care about our democracy and the value of your vote in local, state and national elections, then this is a MUST READ!
First read the Constitution of the United States of America - all ~4500 words which take about 1/2 hour to read.
Then read this book. It is an intelligent, reasoned, thorough and complete handbook every American should read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By rodrumm on April 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
And I thought I knew most of the dynamics in todays economic and political environment! Little did I realize just how deeply corporate enterprise has embedded itself in our society. This is a fair and reasonably complete description of how we have been taken over by economic interests, supported primarily through rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Though fully 40% of the book is dedicated to the "how to" become involved and push toward a Constitutional amendment, you still come away with the feeling that the corruption has gone too far to reverse. How we ever allowed multinational corporations the civil rights granted to "we the people" only is a sad story. If you come away from this book with a feeling of defeat, join me and thousands of others in the effort to reverse this anachronism. "Citizens United" must be neutralized or the American experiment in self-government will be over.

At the very least, you will be informed (and that's the first step).
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If you're like most Americans, you may think that the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is the root cause of the stranglehold on U.S. elections by major corporations and the 1%.

If you follow public affairs more closely than most, you're aware that the situation is more complicated than this -- that the misbegotten principle of "corporate personhood" that underpins Citizens United is a major element in the picture. I knew that much before I read Jeffrey Clements' eye-opening book, Corporations Are Not People - but I didn't have a clue where that concept came from, how it grew into one of the dominant judicial doctrines of the last several decades, or the truly pivotal role it has played in recent American history.

In fact, Citizens United was only one of the latest episodes in a four-decade-long history of legal, political, and social change that has moved the center of gravity in public discourse in America so far to the right that our last two Democratic Presidents can only be seen in global context as moderate conservatives, while today's Republican leaders hold such extreme views that to term them "conservative" is a gross misuse of the language.

As Jeffrey Clements tells it, the story begins in 1970 with the first Earth Day. The mobilization of more than 20 million Americans in that masterful organizing effort led to the passage of a long series of laws that established the basis for long-overdue environmental regulation: the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Health and Safety Act that created OSHA, the Clean Air Act, and a host of others.

Then the corporate world struck back.

A soft-spoken Southern attorney named Lewis F. Powell, Jr. led the charge.
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