Resolution on a National Lawyers Guild
Long-term Strategy for
Fighting Corporate Power

Proposed and Passed
at the NLG National Convention
October 21-25, 1998
Detroit, Michigan

Proposed by the Committee on Corporations,
the Constitution and Human Rights

Nancho Advisory: Bad lawyer jokes and worse lawyers aside, there are still black legal knights abroad in the land battling for truth, justice and a populist vision of the American way. The densest concentration of these progressive paladins may be found in the National Lawyers Guild, a radically righteous fellowship challenging the leviathon power of the American Bar Association. While the goliath ABA champions Big Body interests, the NLG is conspiring with the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy to knock out their philistine predations for good. Check out this amazing agenda. Between the archaic whereas-es, you can see the future shining through.

1. Giant corporations increasingly govern our lives and communities and define our work and our culture, eroding democratic values and pillaging the environment-; and whereas

2. Even the Michigan Supreme Court has declared in Richardson v. Buhl, 77 Mich. 632, 658 (1889), that "it is doubtful if free government can long exist in a country where such enormous amounts of money are allowed to be accumulated in the vaults of corporations, to be used at discretion in controlling the property and business of the country against the interest of the public. "; and whereas

3. These corporations and their counterparts in other countries aspire to rule the world through the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, and other treaties, conventions, and agreements such as the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), which would grant corporations the juridical status of nation-states; and whereas

4. The National Lawyers Guild, from its founding in 1937 to the present, has a radical heritage of organizing and providing legal support to virtually every struggle in the United States for economic, social, and political justice; and whereas

5. It is important for the National Lawyers Guild to support the work of its members and the movements they support related to the theme of the 1998 National Convention, Fighting Corporate Power; and whereas

6. There exists a growing mass people's movement that contests the authority of corporations to govern and works toward restoring sovereignty in the hands of the people, to put human beings back in charge as they should be in a democratic polity.


1. The National Lawyers Guild believes that only natural persons are vested with constitutional rights. Thus, the Guild is opposed to recognizing the personhood of corporations under the Fourteenth Amendment, and will give priority to working toward challenging and reversing that judicial doctrine; and be it further resolved

2. The Guild develop long-term strategies to strip corporations of the constitutional rights of natural persons, including but not limited to First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and work toward the implementation of these strategies in collaboration with like-minded persons, groups, and movements; and be it resolved that

3. The National Executive Committee send information on chartering and charter revocation to each chapter and urge the chapters to work with grassroots groups in their communities to explore the history and precedents for chartering and charter revocation in their state, and undertake together the public education and political organizing essential for effective action, and be it further resolved that

4. National Lawyers Guild chapters begin to monitor, in collaboration when possible with like- minded persons and groups, proposed changes in state corporation codes, especially those being promoted by corporations and the American Bar Association, that insulate corporations even further from meaningful democratic control; and be it further resolved that

5. The Guild call on state attorneys general, legislators, and the judiciary to do their duty by upholding the rule of law and revoking corporate charters when corporations usurp the rights of sovereign people; and be it further resolved that

6. Guild lawyers are encouraged to explore with their clients ways in which, as they represent their clients' interests, the illegitimate authority of corporations can be challenged; and be it further resolved that

7. The Guild fight the denial of Bill of Rights protections to workers in the workplace; and be it further resolved that

8. The Guild invest resources and time in reconsidering the wisdom and appropriateness of granting business corporations limited liability, and be it further resolved that

9. Guild members, chapters, and committees are encouraged to undertake actions that will end corporate domination of our educational institutions. Actions include, but are not limited to, law student support of the Democracy Teach-In movement; the development of relevant course materials for law professors; law review and other scholarly articles, and educational events and dialogues among members, for example, the Rethinking the Corporation, Rethinking Democracy seminars; and be it further resolved that

10. The Guild recognizes the importance of communicating to the widest possible audience the story of the usurpation of the people's sovereignty by corporations and encourages development of written and audio-visual resources toward that end; and be it further resolved that

11. The Guild encourages its Committee on Corporations, the Constitution and Human Rights and other concerned members to provoke and sustain ferment with progressive teachers of corporate law; and be it further resolved that

12. Collaboration between, and support of, the diverse Guild efforts at fighting corporate power, such as the Sugar Law Center and HEED, is vital to an effective long-term strategy for fighting corporate power; and be it further resolved that

13. The Guild will be alert to the efforts of other individuals, groups, and peoples' movements to contest corporate power and will, whenever possible, encourage, support and defend such efforts; and be it further resolved that

14. The Guild recognizes that the ultimate enemy is the concentration of ownership and control of capital and that the predatory class will continue to be motivated by its lust for wealth and power even as democratic control of corporations becomes more effective.

For more of the revolutionary same, visit:
National Lawyers Guild Home Page
See especially their
"Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade."

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