- How the Magna Carta became a Minor Carta
- The Obama administration has perpetuated an assault on the foundations of traditional liberties
Noam Chomsky | The Shredding of Our Constitutional Rights, Part 1
Noam Chomsky, Guardian UK
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Four of the earliest surviving copies of the Magna Carta, the 1297 charter issued by King Edward I, on display at the Bodleian library, Oxford. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian
(July 25, 2012) The post-civil war 14th amendment granted the rights of persons to former slaves, though mostly in theory. At the same time, it created a new category of persons with rights: corporations. In fact, almost all the cases brought to the courts under the 14th amendment had to do with corporate rights, and by a century ago, they had determined that these collectivist legal fictions, established and sustained by state power, had the full rights of persons of flesh and blood; in fact, far greater rights, thanks to their scale, immortality, and protections of limited liability. Their rights by now far transcend those of mere humans. Under the "free trade agreements", the Pacific Rim can, for example, sue El Salvador for seeking to protect the environment; individuals cannot do the same. General Motors can claim national rights in Mexico. There is no need to dwell on what would happen if a Mexican demanded national rights in the United States.
Domestically, recent supreme court rulings greatly enhance the already enormous political power of corporations and the super-rich, striking further blows against the tottering relics of functioning political democracy.
Noam Chomsky | The Shredding of Our Constitutional Rights, Part 1, Noam Chomsky, Evergreene Digest
The Magna Carta was a milestone in civil and human rights. Can we stop its principles being shredded before our eyes?