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Gibson writes: "We are no longer citizens participating in a democracy. We are shareholders attending a meeting of a large, corrupt corporation. Call it Americorp."

Occupy protesters during a demonstration at the UC Davis campus in November. (photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Occupy protesters during a demonstration at the UC Davis campus in November. (photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

We, the Shareholders (Not the People)

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

19 April 12


Reader Supported News | Perspective


e are no longer citizens participating in a democracy. We are shareholders attending a meeting of a large, corrupt corporation. Call it Americorp.

As shareholders, we sit face-forward, quietly, while the CEO, or president, makes his presentation, glossing over balance sheets and quarterly earnings, assuring us that the company is moving in the right track. The board of directors, or Congress, sometimes keeps the CEO in check and overrules him, but, for the most part, their agenda is the same as the president's agenda - preserving the status quo.

The shareholders at the meeting get ballots, although each ballot item has the opinion of the CEO and board under it. They're told by the board to vote a certain way, based on the opinion of the executives. The shareholders have a voice at the end of the meeting, but, for the most part, the CEO and board will do whatever they want. If the shareholders should speak out of turn or protest inside of the shareholder meeting, the CEO will wait politely while dissidents are swiftly escorted out by police.

The founders never intended for the people to be obedient subjects or quiet shareholders. We were meant to be citizens. And as US citizens we have rights granted to us by the US Constitution, which are irreplaceable, unbendable and unchanging. The same George Washington who was inaugurated at Federal Hall in New York would be furious at Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Commissioner Ray Kelly and the NYPD officers who arrested nonviolent protesters expressing their constitutional rights to free speech and free assembly on the steps of 26 Wall Street, the memorial of where Washington was inaugurated and where the Bill of Rights was first introduced.

Sleeping on sidewalks as a form of protest was deemed constitutionally-protected speech in a 2000 district court ruling, Metropolitan Council, Inc vs. Safir. But just this week the NYPD arrested citizens exercising that speech and beat those who resisted. Simultaneously, corporations, or "legal persons," spend unlimited amounts of undisclosed money on political campaigns, and have that deluge of cash protected as free speech under the Constitution. In Americorp, corporations are citizens with the right to constitutionally-protected speech. And citizens are shareholders, arrested and taken to jail for daring to speak against their corporate overlords.

Citizens are told every day by the media, owned by the same corporations that own our politicians, that we are divided. Their goal is to segment us into walled-off demographics and pit us against each other - liberal vs. conservative, public sector vs. private sector, Tea Party vs. Occupy. If they can isolate us even further with individual labeling they will: college-educated female, Black male under 35, union worker, single parent, etc.

We're told by the politicians we elect to represent us, whose campaigns are financed by the same corporations that own the media, that the government we pay taxes to every year is not to be trusted. That only we know what's best for us, not the government. Such tactics are meant to turn engaged citizens into isolated, apathetic subjects. Democracy becomes a spectator sport, viewed through the lens of the corporate media. Citizens are persuaded to be apathetic, focusing only on their immediate needs and maintaining their income. This allows the board and the CEO of Americorp to continue their plundering free of scrutiny.

Instead of having a wide range of choices of whom we want to represent us we're only given two. They are presented as having differing philosophies and use different language to create the illusion of diversity, but their campaigns are financed by the same corporate backers that actively use their bottomless funds to practice "free speech." The only role of Americorp shareholders is to vote on which rich guy they'd like to continue the status quo for the next few years.

In a true democracy our officials are elected by and held accountable to us, the citizen - the highest office in the land. By focusing on the issues that unite instead of divide, and organizing with other citizens who meet on common ground, we can reject the status quo and its servants. Instead of seeing ourselves as Republicans or Democrats, we will see ourselves as the 99 percent, united by the crushing inequality, poverty and debt that are by-products of the 1 percent and their policies.

Americorp's executives are dependent on the disinterest and apathy of the shareholders for their continued prosperity. So, on May 1st, stop being shareholders in Americorp and reclaim your citizenship as Americans. On May 1st, stand as one, and exercise the rights we've always had loudly and proudly. Our rulers should remember that their rule is only valid if we consent to it.


Carl Gibson, 24, of Lexington, Kentucky, is a spokesman and organizer for US Uncut, a nonviolent, creative, direct-action movement to stop budget cuts by getting corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. He graduated from Morehead State University in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism before starting the first US Uncut group in Jackson, Mississippi, in February of 2011. Since then, over 20,000 US Uncut activists have carried out more than 300 actions in over 100 cities nationwide. You may contact Carl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+7 # barkingcarpet 2012-04-19 21:56
Better living through consumerstry. The only thing that really matters at the moment, aside from total environmental collapse, and political/regul atory insanity and stupidity, is Fuckushima, 3 and 4, with teetering spent and new fuel rods 100' in the air, and ready to come down and spew with any 6+ earthquake.OOPS? We need to deal with this NOW
+13 # DPM 2012-04-19 22:36
Occupy! Occupy!! OCCUPY!!!
+21 # Andrew Hansen 2012-04-20 03:46
One of the best commentaries on the current state. It is past time to stand up. Thank you Carl. 1 May.
+12 # walt 2012-04-20 06:01
Right on!

America is now one massive marketplace with everyone dependent on banks and corporations who control the money and what remains of government. We are no longer a country with a government of, by, or for the people.

The GOP is even trying to sell off more government functions to their corporate backers at the expense of our own people. They would "privatize" everything they possibly could.

Unless the people wake up, take action, and demand change, we are condemned to remain corporately owned and operated.
+11 # szq5777 2012-04-20 07:33
The GOP is evil! They have sold the soul of America to the devil. I hate republicans and everything they stand for! I will proudly vote for Obama in November.
+9 # ABen 2012-04-20 09:14
when corporate America is trusted/empower ed to manage our economic (and social) state of being, we truly become a captive consumer audience. This is the goal of the GOP (Greed Obsessed Party) and must be relentlessly resisted. for those of you who don't like a powerful federal government, contemplate being ruled by America Inc.
+12 # ganymede 2012-04-20 10:37
Great piece. Yes, we are being totally f-ed over by the corrupt corporations in collusion with much of our government. May 1st should be interesting. However, in realty, the best we can hope for is a wipe out the most corrupt of the two parties this November. This will leave us face to face with Obama, who I still think has the making of greatness, but we're going to have to push him real hard because there are still too many Americans who are not playing with a full deck.
+4 # Feral Dogz 2012-04-20 11:31
What we, the people need to do is let our elected officials know in no uncertain terms that they are not our rulers. We, and they are ruled by law.
Elected and appointed officials are (or should be) first and foremost public servants whose jobs are to defend and protect public welfare, not the welfare of the privileged few who make little or no contribution to those goals, but rather amass great fortunes through financial engineering that loots the national treasure and impoverishes the people for generations to come.
What the USA has evolved into has nothing to do with freedom and justice for all. It is now freedom and justice for whoever can buy the biggest bullhorn to shout the biggest lies.
+3 # Adoregon 2012-04-20 14:24
Call it "MilGovCorp"

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