Rights vs. Privileges

The Alaska Constitution Pledge is a philosophical platform that affirms inalienable Constitutional rights are to be enjoyed solely by individual human beings. We the People and our elected representatives may grant, amend, and rescind privileges to artificial persons and entities; granted privileges are not equal to constitutional rights.

Back in 1776…

America was founded, in great part, to overthrow the political and economic power British-chartered corporations (Hudson Bay Company, East India Company, Massachusetts Bay Company etc.,) had over the colonies. For ~100 years after the Revolution, America implemented a set of policies to prevent America-based or international corporations from reassuming control over our country, including a prohibition against corporate influence in elections and legislation.

When U.S. Constitutional amendments were passed after the Civil War to protect the rights of ex-slaves, “artificial persons” led by the railroad corporations soon gained these human rights through a series of revolutionary Supreme Court decisions. Conferring rights to artificial persons through the courts has continued to the present day, the most recent egregious examples being the Citizens United and Speech Now decisions in 2010 allowing artificial persons to spend unlimited amounts of money on public elections.

Meanwhile, in the Far North…

Alaska has a direct connection to America’s history of fighting against corporate rule; our statehood effort was fueled by the need to take back control of the State’s fisheries from the Puget Sound fish-packing corporations and ensure the people of Alaska would have access to salmon.

Alaska’s economic wealth today continues to be derived from the development of natural resources, but many of the corporations developing those resources are transferring the majority of our commonly held wealth to themselves. These corporations, almost all based outside Alaska (and the U.S.) with billions of dollars in assets, have become more powerful than We the People, and overwhelm our legislative and electoral processes along with the basic rights and needs of individual human beings. They use the money they make from selling our natural resources to fund candidates running for political office and hire armies of lobbyists to influence the passage of legislation that will ensure their grip on our resources and body politic into the future.

Many Alaska laws and ordinances have been amended to define artificial persons (corporations, unions, associations, etc.,) as equal to natural persons, entitling them to our rights as human beings. Armed with human rights, coupled to the tax advantages and limited liability they enjoy as artificial persons, they have become virtually sovereign over the people of Alaska in violation of the spirit and the letter of our State Constitution.

Today, Alaskans need to know if their lawmakers and candidates for public office support the intent of our Constitution to empower and defend the rights of people, and if they are willing to defend that intent as they conduct the People’s business. It is for this purpose that we are asking them to sign the Alaska Constitution Pledge.