To the Editor:
Representative Barney Frank is busy giving away the store before the new Congress is even sworn in. His "grand bargain" with "corporate America" is actually a sellout. Instead of trading a reduction in regulations and support for free-trade deals for "businesses agreeing to greater wage increases and job benefits for workers," Frank would do well to study early US history.
For the first several generations, the corporate form was subordinate to a public process through state-issued and enforced charters. Corporations were instructed in what they could and couldn’t do, and shareholders were liable for harms. No bargaining between the people’s representative and this legal fiction until the Supreme Court granted it the status of a legal person under the 14th Amendment.
How disheartening, if not surprising, that Barney Frank plans to use his newly won chairmanship for business as usual. Dare we hope for better from other newly empowered Democrats?
Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy
Mary Zepernick, a former teacher and trainer, is a fulltime social change activist on Cape Cod, working with the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom and coordinating a national group, the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy. Mary has a Masters degree in Women's Studies from George Washington University. She served on the WILPF board and staff, and as U.S. Section president.