The model sketched in Parts Two through Five and grounded in the concepts of Part One is rock solid, not in bricks and mortar you’ll find anywhere, but in decades of theorizing and research on corporations and government agencies.1
The model prescribes what a corporation would need to look like and do in order to meet the Gold Standard of business, consistently conducting it in a positive manner and consistently producing positive results. It is a tougher standard than it may appear and stands in stark contrast to the real nature of corporations in partnership with the other malefactor of the corpocracy, our government. The corpocracy epitomizes the worst behavior and the worst results.
But why does a model really matter as long as the corpocracy and its ominous realities are firmly entrenched?
It matters because anything conceivable is possible. Drones, for example, were once conceived somewhere in the dark recesses of the military/industrial/political triumvirate and now they exist and are killing people.
It matters precisely because there are these drones along with all of the other manifestations of the corpocracy that is gradually ruining America and victimizing other nations.
It matters because corporations can be a legitimate and appropriate form of doing some kinds of business. They are not inherently corrupt despite what critics may think. Starting out as a legal piece of paper, corporations grow corrupt in response to temptations and pressures, some self-made but most not. Almost all of the temptations, including the removal of certain external pressures are part of the government’s corporate welfare policies and oversight negligence.
It matters because capitalism isn’t inherently corrupt and socialism isn’t the solution we should be seeking. Adam Smith, the putative “father” of capitalism was a moral philosopher and would have recoiled at the very idea of the corpocracy’s form of capitalism. He thought the emerging corporations of his time posed threats emanating from their unlimited life span; unlimited size; unlimited power; and unlimited license. It is the government, prodded by the industries, their corporations and the wholly repudiated free-market theory and its ideologues, not capitalism, per se, that removed those limits.
This last article in the series starts by showing how a real corporation might reform itself even though that may never happen because of the ominous realities the model is up against. Some of those realities in four industries and the outcomes of confrontations with them will then be reviewed. Next, a few possible scenarios of what might happen if those realities are left to follow their course will be pondered. Finally, a model of confrontation proposed for keeping any of those scenarios from happening will be summarized.
Voluntary Corporate Reform in Any Industry: From unlikely to necessary?
There is absolutely no inherent reason why a corporation can’t reform itself on its own initiative. Corporations are reinventing themselves all the time, just not in the right ways. They could even follow the model in their self-reform and I have written a book detailing exactly how they could do so. 2)) I will briefly sketch here how a corporation might start what I call its turn-up (toward the Gold Standard) strategy.
Let’s suppose the corporation’s board, not as “warped” as the typical board fires the CEO and, after an exhaustive search hires a replacement that is starkly different from the arch type. The new CEO, a renaissance type of person, has integrity, is wise, is humble, deliberately shares leadership, and has a liberal arts education. Is such a person as fictitious as the model? My guess is that there’s an approximation out there and that the board would insist the new CEO measure up to the board’s expectations.
Next, the board and new CEO commit to using the rest of the model as a template for corporate turn up, and in so doing, for example, they stop their political campaign contributions; they steer stock marketing away from speculators; they stop accepting corporate welfare; they stop their exploitation of global resources and markets; they start restructuring the organization into a lowerarchy of self-managed teams; and keep making changes until the whole model is in place and functioning.
There’s absolutely no doubt about it, this model is unrealistic as long as the corpocracy exists. But take away corporate welfare, stay-out-of-jail cards and the like and corporations will either adopt the model or flounder and maybe even cease existing.
An Ominous Reality: The Retail Industry and its Biggest Box Store
Depending on the year recorded, Wal-Mart is either the largest, second or third largest corporation in total assets and the largest private sector employer in the U.S. It also has a record of skimping on pay and benefits (most of its two million employees live below the poverty line and rely on social welfare costing taxpayers one and a half billion dollars annually); being sued for sexual discrimination; hiring part-time workers to avoid giving them benefits; illegally strong arming worker efforts to unionize; and buying from criminally negligent supplier’s sweatshops and infernos abroad. Have I missed anything? The cases picked to cite below all involve Wal-Mart because it basically sets the standard with a few exceptions for large retail chains.
1. Strikes and Walkouts. Protests and walk outs have erupted periodically. AFL-CIO has spent millions of dollars and much energy trying to unionize Wal-Mart’s hourly employees.
Outcome. Not one single Wal-Mart store unionized (workers fear retaliation). Wal-Mart retaliated by running to the NLRB to intervene on its behalf and got it. 3
2. Blockades. Protesters gathered in Port Newark, N.J. tried to block the unloading of the container ship Maersk Carolina, whose cargo included goods for Wal-Mart made in Bangladesh. 4
3. Boycotts. Wal-Mart Watch prompted members of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions to stage a boycott of Wal-Mart for back-to-school supplies. 5
Outcome: Some customers bought school supplies elsewhere.
4. Lawsuits. A plaintiff class of 1.6 million current and former female employees of Wal-Mart charging gender discrimination was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Numerous state and federal class action wage and hour lawsuits have been filed against Wal-Mart.
Outcome: The high court dismissed the gender discrimination case. 6 Over a seven-year period Wal-Mart settled numerous class action wage and hour lawsuits at the state and federal level and lost one jury trial of a wage and hour case. These cases cost the company over one billion dollars, a cost the company could easily absorb. 7
5. Public Shaming. Countless activists and their actions against Wal-Mart are published.
Outcome: Wal-Mart creates a “war room” to plan and launch counter-offensives. 8
6. Not in Our Backyard. Local actions have sought to deny Wal-Mart stores new locations.
Outcome: The National Trust for Historic Preservation in Vermont prevented Wal-Mart from opening seven more stores. Scattered jurisdictions elsewhere have blocked Wal-Mart’s entry.9 But Wal-Mart still owns and operates over 4,000 big boxes in America.
7. Documentaries. A new movie features whistle-blowers who describe Wal-Mart managers cheating workers out of overtime pay and encouraging them to seek state-sponsored health care when they cannot afford the company’s insurance. And it travels across small-town America to assess the effects on independent businesses and downtowns after a Wal-Mart opens.”10
Outcome: People go see the movie.
8. Watch Dogging. There are countless incidents of activist groups keeping tabs on Wal-Mart’s affairs.
9. Open Letters. Early this year Ralph Nader wrote an open letter to Wal-Mart’s CEO asking him to raise the wages of his “laborers” to $10.50. 11
Outcome: Wal-Mart workers are still paid meager wages.
A More Ominous Reality: The Banking Industry and its Wall Street Banksters
Not since the Flapper era have the banksters been so foul and financially disastrous (but certainly not self destructive). They precipitated America’s 2nd Great Depression in 2008. They help keep Americans in “debt slavery”. They launder drug money. They facilitate transactions to terrorist groups. They rip off mortgage holders and leave them homeless. They bankrupt foreign nations. And who knows what else they have gotten away with?
Why doesn’t our government lock up these robbers and hustlers in tailored suits? You know why. When the U.S. Attorney General admits “some banks are just too big to prosecute” you know that they have handcuffed the government, not the reverse. 12 And when these filthy rich banks are fined it’s an easily affordable cost of doing business. “The U.S. government,” says law professor William Quirk has “moved heaven and earth to prop up our profligate bankers, and it continues to do so.—The Department of Justice won’t proceed against a criminal conspiracy supporting drug dealers and terrorists for fear of harming the economy.” 13 Good grief, giant banksters with morally dwarfed heads.
Targeting banks for reform while our government remains handcuffed is an uphill struggle against reality to say the least. Let’s review some of the reformers’ struggles and their outcomes.
1. Occupy Wall Street. For awhile, Occupy Wall Street’s demonstrations preoccupied the news, but to what effect other than some publicity?
Outcome: Some short lived time in the limelight. Andrew Ross Sorkin, the editor-at-large of Deal Book, wrote in September, 2012 that Occupy Wall Street “will be an asterisk in the history books, if it gets a mention at all.” 14
2. Moving Money Elsewhere. The monstrous banks hold the majority of America’s financial assets, but account holders have other options if they choose to use them. Two cases that illustrate that very choice are Occupy Buffalo and “Bank Transfer Day.”
Outcome: Was Sorkin’s harsh assessment a bit premature? Not long after he made it Occupy Buffalo, New York convinced that city’s comptroller to pull millions from the city’s account with JPMorgan Chase. It had been accused of a host of financial dirty tricks. 15 Then there’s the much ballyhooed “Bank Transfer” Day started by a single activist on Facebook who was angry over exorbitant bank fees and urged big bank customers to transfer their accounts to smaller banks and credit unions. How much impact did the event have on the financial status of the big banks? They didn’t break a sweat. The event was “largely symbolic,” said James Kahn, an economics professor at Yeshiva University in New York.16
3. Escaping Banksters’ Collection Agencies. Sorkin may not have known it at the time but Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street was being formed and soon thereafter prepared a “Debt Resistors Operations Manual”. The downloadable manual gives detailed strategies and resources for dealing with credit card, medical, student, housing and municipal debt and tactics and information for dealing with and avoiding personal bankruptcy. Strike Debt also launched a project named “Rolling Jubilee”. Its purpose is to buy personal debt on the cheap from banks that would otherwise turn its debt over to usurious collection agencies and then simply wipe out the debt.
Outcome: Since its formation the project has “raised enough money to abolish $11,236,570 of Personal Debt.” 17 Well, that’s admirable, but do you know how much personal debt there is in America? Two and one-half trillion as of 2012, that’s how much. Rolling Jubilee on its own could roll on forever and never wipe out debt slavery, let alone keep up with corporate price gouging and consumer spending that is 70 percent of all economic activity.
Establishing Public Banks. I defer to Ellen Brown’s expertise on this strategy to foil the banksters. She never ceases to amaze me with her prolific writing and actions in the public interest. A lawyer and author of 11 books and countless articles, she is President of the Public Banking Institute and outspoken champion of public banks, cooperative banks, conventional banks committed to responsible lending and service to the local community, and Community Development Financial Institutions that include community development banks, community development credit unions, community development loan funds, community development venture capital funds, and microenterprise loan funds.
Outcome: Enough of these establishments now exist to justify what she calls the “public banking movement”. 18 It is one in which both community activist groups as well as individual citizens can participate (e.g., in cancelling accounts in big banks and transferring them to democracy-friendly depositories). But can the movement ever create enough establishments to put the banksters out of business?
An Extremely Ominous Reality: Agribusiness and Chemical Industries
I put them together because chemicals saturate the food chain and agribusiness thrives on chemicals. There’s an old nostrum that “we are what we eat,” which is why these two industries are so hazardous and potentially deadly, especially with their genetically modified organisms that are an assault on, and gamble with, nature that may ultimately have dire consequences for our species.
Within this pair of industries is the Monsanto Corporation. Mike Adams, chief contributor and editor of NaturalNews.com, says that “MonSatan—is now the No. 1 most hated corporation in America—and the destructive force behind the lobbying of the USDA, FDA, scientists and politicians that have all betrayed the American people—.” 19 Not surprisingly it is a lightning rod for all sorts of counter attacks, three of which are cited next.
1. A Mock Trial. The first of several mock trials planned was held April 21, 2012 in Iowa City. There was a crowd of about 100. It was partly public theatre. One man, who was dressed as a “superweed” sat up on the witness stand swigging from a bottle of Roundup and saying, “I don’t give a f–k about Monsanto, though they do make a good drink.” 20 But it was mostly conducted formerly and seriously, although not evenhandedly the five black-robed “judges” announced since Monsanto isn’t either.
Outcome: Mock justice, an entertaining event, and some heightened public awareness.
2. A Real Trial. Monsanto sued an Indiana farmer for patent infringement in district and appellate courts, winning both cases. Undeterred, the farmer upped the ante, taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which this last February heard arguments on the case.
Outcome: A decision is expected this coming June. A professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU said “she’s not optimistic that the farmer will prevail in this case.” 21
3. A Ballot Initiative. California, a state that’s home to a lot of social activists, invariably has lots of initiatives on its election ballots. One of them in the last general election was Proposition 37 that would require mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. There was an extensive and expensive public campaign of pros and cons prior to the election, with Monsanto and other corporate interest groups outspending food safety and organic advocacy groups nearly seven to one. 22
Outcome: The initiative was defeated.
Monsanto is simply too big and has too many allies outside government (e.g., American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology) and too many friends in government, both at the federal level (e.g., former Monsanto executives appointed to positions with the USDA) and state level (e.g., Secretaries of Agriculture) to be thwarted in its continuing drive to reap profit from its toxic products that threaten the health and lives of animals and humans alike. It was the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 that opened the sluice gate for GMOs by issuing the absurd ruling that nature could be patented. And it will very likely be this same captive, infamous court that bats down all lawsuits against Monsanto and the rest of the chemical and agribusiness industries. But whatever they unlikely lose at the Federal level they can try recouping at the state level. “Don’t count Monsanto out” concludes the co-editors of Vanity Fair in a long and detailed expose. 23
Another Extremely Ominous Reality: The National Security/Defense Industry
Overall, the U.S. national security/military budget amounts to one-half of all worldwide expenditures and one-half of the federal government’s discretionary budget. The industry and its military/political partners justify this wantonness as achieving “peace through strength”. That’s a lark.
First, peace has never been the true objective of military strength. American imperialism and all its trappings and booty have always been the true objective.
Second, America has never gotten peace through her military strength. Over 300 (and counting) military interventions around the globe have been conducted by our nation since its founding. Military strength has always slammed the door shut on peace.
What military strength yields instead are corporate profit, political careers and warriors-in-chiefs. What military strength costs besides flushing trillions of taxpayer dollars down the drain are lost domestic opportunities to lift America off the floor and, over decades, millions of lives maimed and lost. What have antiwar groups been doing during the current era of squandered money and carnage?
1. Antiwar and Peace Groups. There are upwards of 100 if not more of them. They have at least five characteristics in common. They all say they are against war and violence and for peace. There is little teamwork or collaboration among them as they are mostly pursuing independently of one another their own agendas and those agendas are usually of narrow, issue-specific issues. Moreover, with a few exceptions they have limited resources.
Outcome: It’s plainly evident that even with some small tactical victories here and there, these groups are making little progress, if any, in ending war and violence. The nation’s warrior-in-chief weekly reviews drone hit lists. His live warriors are everywhere on the planet creating terror and breeding counter terrorists. His corporate suppliers are constantly selling him supplies to be used. His domestic guard is making America more and more like a police state.
2. Other Opposition Activities. Are there any worth mentioning? Without a draft we may never have another widespread uprising against militarism and war like the one against the Vietnam War. The corpocracy in many different ways has masterfully programmed our culture to accept and even expect war. Some 70% of our society approves of the administration’s drone strikes. That is a morally repulsive and ominous finding. Does it make nearly three-fourths of Americans accessories to murder? I know what Martin Luther King, Jr.’s answer would have been.
To Hell in a Handbasket?
“Going to Hell in a handbasket” is a time-worn phrase, probably dating back a millennium or more and used in reference to the fate of captured losers in wars. From childhood to adulthood I have heard the phrase in conversations, starting by listening to my economically shell shocked parents talking about the Great Depression. I recently saw the phrase in the title of an article by environmental reporter, Kacey Deamer. 24
Is America, and the world, for that matter, headed to Hell in a handbasket? What might carry us there? An economic apocalypse? An evolutionary apocalypse? A war apocalypse? How would you grade their prospects sometime this century? “Unlikely?” “Likely?”
1. An Economic Apocalypse? Whitney Eulich, the Christian Monitor’s Latin America editor, published the journal’s list of “10 of the world’s most important economic protests”, The Boston Tea Party and two others were full-scale revolutions.
My Grade: Unlikely. From cover to cover Howard Zinn’s book, A Peoples’ History of the United States, demonstrates unequivocally how the power elite defuse economic unrest and stay in power.25
2. An Evolutionary Apocalypse? As already mentioned, the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed the corporate rush to tamper with nature through genetically modified organisms, better called “genetic monsters”. “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible.” 26 Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job” That was the defiant comment of a Monsanto director of communications in 1998. And FDA’s job was giving Monsanto a pass and setting off a “ticking time bomb” says Colin Todhunter, an international journalist in one of his articles. In that article he quotes Rima E Laibow, Medical Director of the Natural Solutions Foundation, as concluding that “we are playing with genetic fire.” 27
My Grade: Unlikely. Evolutionary changes crawl, not race through history. What we are witnessing now are hints of what may lie ahead. We already have artificial animals and other genetically modified monsters. We are witnessing biodiversity shriveling from biopiracy. Will we witness the mutation and eventual disappearance of our own species from genetic bacteria in our food chain? We don’t know yet. Guess who’s in charge of getting the answer. It’s none other than the USDA.
A War Apocalypse? Violence begets violence. Because of her military presence, deadly actions, and biased policies in the Greater Middle East, America has become almost a locked-down fortress to prevent retaliation seeping through or flying over her walls. International opinion polls of who likes and hates us are immaterial. It only takes determination plus technology for one terrorist from a disaffected country to breech our fortress again (counting 9/11 as the first instance).
My Grade: Likely. Unless the U.S withdraws from the Greater Middle East and discontinues its military buildup in the Pacific region more blowbacks can be expected throughout the rest of this century. And who knows if one of them will be our total downfall as a nation. I fervently hope not.
A Better Way to Confront Ominous Realities
I strongly believe and argue constantly that the model of democracy power or some adaptation of it is the only way to end the corpocracy and all its ominous realities, not just the ones mentioned here. This section will be almost a footnote about this model since I have already written exhaustively about it. The model’s genesis was in my book, the “Devil’s Marriage,” and the model’s most recent rendition appears in my website, so only a very short synopsis is given next. 28
Democracy power is a two-track model. One track represents “democracy strategy” that entails organizing, developing, and unleashing carefully planned political, judicial, and economic reforms across the entire spectrum of American life that the corpocracy controls. The second track represents “democracy muscle,” and entails building a massive coalition of existing movements and other activist groups and citizens. The tracks are not parallel. They are interdependent.
The nucleus of the first track would be a virtual network of existing NGOs that have agreed to join the network in turn for it receiving donor funds to defray the startup and operating costs. There could be several networks, local or regional ones and national ones. Any given network would have a steering council and alliances and resources aimed at the different reform targets such as a legislative and regulatory reform alliance. The steering council would be responsible for developing the strategic plan and delegating it to the alliances for implementation.
The second track would be a fusion of consumer movements; environmental movements; labor movements; media/lnternet reform movements; Occupy movements; peace/antiwar movements; socio-economic justice movements and movements yet formed. This massive coalition would need some well-known persons as champions of it.
Neither track exists yet but slow progress is being made. I have set the end of 2013 as a likely deadline for getting both tracks either started or well on their way to being started.
I said in the preface of my book, The Devil’s Marriage that it was not a doomsday book. I wrote that over two years ago. I can’t be as certain today about the eventual fate of America. She has become a rogue state par excellence and may be veering out of self-control. The self-serving motives and hubris of the military/industrial/political triumvirate along with a warrior-in-chief authorizing drone strikes has altered my outlook.
- Part One through Five articles appear in Dissident Voice issues February 26, February 28, March 4, March 5, and March 6, 2013 [↩]
- The Corpocracy and Megaliio’s Turn Up Strategy, Gary Brumback, Palm Coast, FL: Democracy Power Press (Kindle Edition), 2012. [↩]
- “Wal-Mart Bares Its Fangs“, David Macaray, Dissident Voice, February 15th, 2013. [↩]
- “In Wake of Factory Fire, U.S. Labor Groups Attempt Blockade of Walmart Imports”, Olivia Rosane, YES! Magazine, December 20, 2012 [↩]
- “New Weapon for Wal-Mart: A War Room”, Michael Barbaro, New York Times, November 1, 2005. [↩]
- Wal-Mart v. Dukes, SCOTUSblog.com, June 20, 2011 [↩]
- Making Change at Wal-Mart [↩]
- Barbaro, op cit [↩]
- The Great American Job Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation, Greg LeRoy, San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2025, p 151-154. See also, Sprawl-Busters [↩]
- Barbaro, op cit. [↩]
- “Open Letter to Mike Duke, CEO of Walmart}, Ralph NaderJ, January 17, 2013 [↩]
- “Eric Holder Admits Some Banks Are Just Too Big To Prosecute”. By Mark Gongloff/ Huffington Post/ March 6, 2013. [↩]
- “Good Fences Make Good Bankers: Too Big to Fail Becomes too Big to Jail: An Update”, William J. Quirk. The American Scholar, Spring, 2013, 29-35; p35. [↩]
- “Occupy Wall Street: A Frenzy That Fizzled”, Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times Deal book, September 17, 2012. [↩]
- “Occupiers Convince City Of Buffalo To Ditch JPMorgan Chase”, Beth Buczynski, Alter Net, May 31, 2012 [↩]
- “Bank Transfer Day: How Much Impact Did it Have?”, Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor, November 7, 2011 [↩]
- “Occupy Wall St. Offshoot Aims to Erase People’s Debts”, Ariel Kaminer, New York Times, November 13, 2012; and “Occupy Wall Street Has Raised Enough Money To Abolish $11,236,570 Of Personal Debt March”, Diane Sweet, Crooks and Liars, March 5, 2013. [↩]
- “Cooperative Banking, the Exciting Wave of the Future”, Ellen Brown, OpEdNews.com, May 26, 2012. [↩]
- “The GMO Debate is Over; GM Crops must be Immediately Outlawed; Monsanto Halted from Threatening Humanity”, Mike Adams, OpEdNews.com, September 22, 2012. [↩]
- “Taking Monsanto to the People’s Court”, Blair Braverman, April 24, 2012 Waging Non Violence; [↩]
- “The GMO Fight Rages On: Implications of Bowman v. Monsanto“, Lonnie Shekhtman, Triple Pundit, February 22, 2013 [↩]
- “California GM Food Labeling Initiative Defeated”, Meghna Sachdev, Science Insider, November 7, 2012. [↩]
- “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear”, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, Vanity Fair, May 2008. [↩]
- “Breaking: World Going to Hell in a Handbasket”, Kacey Deamer, Mother Jones, June 8, 2012. [↩]
- A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn. NY: Harper Perennial, 2005. [↩]
- “Genetic Engineering and the GMO Industry: Corporate Hijacking of Food and Agriculture”, Colin Todhunter, Global Research, January 1, 2013. [↩]
- Todhunter, op cit. [↩]
- The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch, Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2011. [↩]