News Release

Lessons for Occupy — Richard Grossman: “Outlaw the Corporation”


RUSSELL MOKHIBER, russellmokhiber at
Mokhiber is editor of Corporate Crime Reporter. His books include Corporate Predators: The Hunt for Mega-Profits and the Attack on Democracy. He just wrote the piece “Richard Grossman 1943-2011.”

Mokhiber said today: “When I first met him over 20 years ago, Richard Grossman was making the inside the beltway public interest groups nervous. He was calling them out for supporting ‘regulation’ of corporate wrongdoing. Instead of allowing companies to pollute a certain amount, Grossman would make it a crime to pollute even a little. Instead of regulating the nuclear power or fracking industries, he would brand them criminal enterprises and outlaw them.

“And in the last interview he gave — to Corporate Crime Reporter last month — Grossman proposed outlawing the corporate form itself. In fact, he drafted legislation that would do exactly that.

‘”If people want to go into business, fine,’ Grossman told Corporate Crime Reporter. ‘But this law would strip away 500 years of constitutional protections and privileges. No more limited liability for shareholders. No more perpetual life. No more constitutional protections.’

“In a footnote to the draft law, Grossman writes that ‘in a corporate state, law, culture, contrived celebration and tradition illegitimately clothe directors and executive officers of chartered incorporated businesses in governing authority.’

“‘This is usurpation,’ he writes. ‘A corporate state nurtures, enables and expedites such illegitimate governing authority by violence enforced by courts, jails, police and military force and by historians. Less-overtly ferocious institutions – for profit and nonprofit — routinely reinforce that reality.

“Richard Grossman was a friend to all democratic forces seeking to stand up to the corporate machine.

“We will miss you Richard.

“Thank you for pushing, and challenging, and opening our eyes.” See Mokhiber’s article, which links to Grossman’s last interview.

In the interview, Groosman says: “All existing charters for incorporated business entities would be null and void. Accumulated corporate constitutional privilege — all that illegitimate private governing authority bestowed by legislators and judges — would be purged. States and the United States would be prohibited from creating and privileging new business entities. For starters. And then people would have to get together and figure out what kinds of entities we could design that would not take over like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” A previous talk of his, “Challenging Corporate Law and Lore,” is online.

Grossman’s books included Energy, Jobs, and the Economy (1979), Fear At Work: Job Blackmail, Labor and the Environment (1982), Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation (1993) and Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy (2001).