The oil spill makes it clear: BP and its giant peers aren’t “persons”

Assuming we survive it, this vast calamity could do some good–could even help to save the planet–if it finally moves us to restrain the corporate monsters that are wreaking havoc everywhere.

This necessary fight must start by our asserting that these bloated and amoral scavengers are not persons, and so can’t enjoy the rights of persons under any civic charter–which, of course, includes our Constitution.

They are surely not what Jefferson, Adams, Madison or Franklin ever had in mind when they conceived of the United States as a republic. As they, by definition, are not persons, they cannot be citizens; nor, as purely profit-seeking, supra-national entities, are they remotely capable of civic virtue, but only of manipulating everything around them to empower and enrich themselves. Thus, if they were persons, they would be the type that stands out as too dangerous to be at large: criminal sociopaths, who have to be restrained, or we all suffer at their hands.

The horror in the Gulf, then, means that we must now take steps more radical by far than a mere moratorium on off-shore drilling. What it means is that we must now break down that inhuman network over us–not just the oil and petrochemical cartels, but also those in banking, agribusiness, telecom and media, “defense” and all the rest (including Wal-Mart).


An Unnatural Disaster

“Where I was wrong,” said President Obama at his press conference on Thursday, “was in my belief that the oil companies had their act together when it came to worst-case scenarios.”

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