The Corporation volunteer and guest blogger, Srinidhi, from India, writes about "The Escaper Principle" and how corporations tried to get away with the Bhopal disaster
As the tremors of economic instability continue worldwide, I often wonder: How did we get here? How is it that the so called intellectual "leaders" can't wrap their heads around the truth every layperson I meet seems to have figured out? Why is it that the same conventional wisdom that drove our economies off a cliff continues to proliferate? So I had to ask what the people in a MBA school, at the root of our financial institutions, are taught in the most famous and mandatory ‘Risk Management’ course.
The Escaper Principle, is the answer I found.
A few weeks ago, I learnt that risk management quite actually means ‘escaping’ the risk of getting the name of a corporation tainted. This is where the disconnect and, frankly, the delusional recipe for the modern day pandemic of corporate caused economic/environmental/social disasters stem from. 'Risk Management' certainly doesn’t mean reducing the risk the activities of a corporation pose on our Nations, our planet, or the health and welfare of our fellow human beings. It is the economic equivalent of Survival of the fittest. It's dehumanizing Social Darwinism as policy. Get yours and the consequences are someone else's problem. Displace the damage from your responsibility, never admit your crime, and deny any negative results from your company's actions.
|David Ng is a Hello Cool World veteran with experience going back a decade. David first worked with us when he was just 14 years old as a participant in the youth advisory group for the sexual health education program Condomania. Now an accomplished videographer passionate about the issues of gender and power, he is currently on sabbatical in South Africa while he pursues a Masters in Gender Studies with a focus on international developme|
Corporation volunteer, D.B., from Civitavecchia, Italy, discusses how corporate hegemony could be affecting the democratic process. Should we be thinking about whether corporations are occupying too much political power? How can we occupy our citizenship?
Just as the church separated from the state centuries ago, we need to realize that the state needs to be accountable to its citizens – and not to corporations. We need to challenge our governments to make sure that those in power – including corporations – are accountable to the people!
One of the major corporations that has a large influence where I live and in the surrounding region is ENEL S.P.A. This is a multinational energy producing company that has branches all over the globe. Locally, they operate together as Tirreno Power S.P.A., where many people who live in Civitavecchia rely upon for work. ENEL has been important for a few generations because it has been an important provider of employment, however, their increasing influence in political power is something to be skeptical about.
Recently, Alessio De Sio, the former mayor of Forza Italia, was investigated for corruption for allegedly exchanging money for business decisions in favor of ENEL. The former mayor has also been advocating for “coal-coke” production in the area, “Coal Coke” is a manmade byproduct of coal that can be used for fuel – however, the process to make the “coke” is incredibly damaging to the environment. The excess fumes have also caused tumors and asthma, which I personally experience in my city.
De Sio is of course just one example of politicians who compromise democratic political processes for money and economic power. We can only assume that ENEL has had considerable amount of political pressure on the government as well. ENEL and its influences on the government are prime examples of why we need to keep the state and corporations separate. We cannot let corporations control the political process because it not only damages the environment, it compromises our citizenship by favoring corporations over people.
Edited by Jennifer Slattery
We recently overhauled this website to incorporate a Twitterfeed and show off the tweets of our "on-the-ground" reporter at #OWS NYC. May Day saw lots of action and it was great to be kept in the loop and feel like we were part of it, even here in far away Vancouver, Canada.
We've also just released our latest News of the Cool e'Zine with a cover piece on Documentary Storytelling & Social Change. It discusses how docs like The Corporation and 65_RedRoses can be catalysts for change, but there need to be ways to feed the movement long after the film is released. We're trying to do this through sales of campaign materials and/or contributions, along with the help of volunteers and other supporters. Unfortunately, reining in the corporate psychopath is not going to happen overnight, and the film continues to be an amazing tool that awakens audiences to how much corporate power has grown over the last century.
On the good news front, we're seeing more and more pushback to the economic and political dogma that has enabled corporations to gain the rights of people, and allowed wealth to pool at the very top (Vermont recently called for an amendment to abolish "Corporate Personhood").
Not only are people now questioning the validity of "trickle-down" economic models, they are also wondering if getting a mere trickle was ever good enough in the first place.
Sandy is part of The Corporation's grassroots team and has been working on the film's outreach efforts since 2003.|
Ethem Ozguven is one of our volunteers from Turkey. He has made a film about the dangers of sandblasting, which is a technique used to distress jeans. This technique causes long term damage to the body, and has also been proven to be lethal. Ethem and David discuss the issue and how it is connected to multinational corporations.
Denim – something that was developed for its durability, and longevity when used as clothing for hard labour has emerged as a hot fashion item in the past decade, with fashion designers implementing new innovative technologies to create new looks and to set trends. I’m sure most of us have at least three pairs in our wardrobe!
What is shocking is the technology that is still used in some parts of the world to create these distressed looks. One technology we want to look at particularly is sand blasting. This technique is basically sand that is blasted at a very high speed out of a hose (held and controlled by a human being), which causes the denim to distress. Most countries have laws banning this practice, as it has been linked to silicosis, which is a form of lung disease. However, countries who are seeking foreign investments may lower their labour regulations in order to make their communities more appealing. As in the film The Corporation, the classic example of this is sweatshops – where countries (usually developing countries) are pressured by multinational corporations to lower their labour standards in order to invite corporations to come in and set up factories to create jobs.
check out our Occupy-themed current e'Zine
(image via Twitter credited to GlennShootsPeople's Flicker account)
Violent police clashes again rocked the city of Oakland January 28th (#J28) as Occupy Oakland protestors attempted to occupy a vacant building. Their announcement, via a letter to the Mayor referring to the action as Move-In Day, declares their intent to use the building:
“As a social center, convergence center, headquarters, free kitchen, and place of housing for Occupy Oakland. Like so many other people, Occupy Oakland is homeless while buildings remain vacant and unused. For Occupy this is in large part because of yourselves, having evicted us twice from public space that was rightfully ours. For others it is because of the housing bubble, predatory lending, the perpetual crises of capitalism, and far reaching histories of imperialism and systemic violence.”
By the end of a long day of marches and failed occupation attempts, three hundred people, from a crowd that swelled at times to 2,000, were arrested. Much of the corporate media reporting on the start of the violence points the finger squarely at the protestors who are alleged to have begun the violence by pelting officers with rocks, bottles and even Improvised Explosive Devices. The claim that peaceful protestors used IEDs is on it’s face false and inflammatory, as first hand accounts and live streaming video footage of the event seems to show that protestors only threw some debris as a reaction to being pelted with explosive percussion grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas canisters:
Via Occupy Oakland’s twitter feed:
#OccupyOakland #OO OPD claim they ordered us to disperse, after blocking us in & arresting us. Chanting "this is a hostage situation."
"For their first attempt at a kettle, the cops charged the group with police lines from the front and back. They ran towards us aggressively. Us being 1000+ peaceful marching protesters. The group was forced to move up a side street. The police moved quickly to surround the entire area; they formed a line on every street that the side street connected to. Police state status: very efficient. They kettled almost the entire protest in the park near the Fox theater. AFTERWARDS, as in after they surrounded everyone, they declared it to be an unlawful assembly BUT OFFERED NO EXIT ROUTE. Gas was used, could of been tear or smoke gas."
Similar claims that law enforcement "had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks." after the violent clearing of the original Occupy Oakland camp had to be walked back, because there was no evidence that any such violence by Occupy had occurred:
“Oakland PD's Chief of Staff, Sgt. Chris Bolton conceded that the department was unable, at this time, to substantiate claims made by Jordan that gas was deployed in order to protect law enforcement personnel from violent demonstrators, despite the Chief's unqualified claim that evening that "the deployment of gas was necessary to protect our officers and protect property around the area and to protect injuries to others as well."
Instead, Bolton softened Jordan's initial claim. The sergeant described it as "the Chief's preliminary belief.”
|Jennifer Slattery is a dedicated human rights activist, former private investigator, and a member of the Occupy Movement. She lives in NY, and would be happy to answer any and all questions you might have: email@example.com|