Corporations Statement

This initial statement of Occupy London’s Corporations Working Group reached consensus at the General Assembly by St Paul’s Cathedral on 25th November 2011.

Of the world’s 100 largest economic entities in 2000, 51 were corporations and 49 were countries. [1]

With its relentless pursuit of profit at all cost, the present corporate system fits the definition of a psychopath, driving the rapid destruction of our society and the natural environment. [2] This is done only to benefit a small minority and not the needs of the 99 per cent. The way corporations and governments are intertwined fundamentally undermines democracy. Corporations are rarely transparent or accountable to the people. This corporate system is broken and we call on the people to reclaim their power and bring about a radical and immediate change.

We propose these following points as first steps towards this:

Globally, corporations deprive the public purse of hundreds of billions of pounds each year, leaving insufficient funds to provide people with fair living standards. We must abolish tax havens and complex tax avoidance schemes, and ensure corporations pay tax that accurately reflects their real profits.

Corporate lobbying subverts our democracy. Last year corporations spent £2 billion influencing the British government. We believe exploitative corporate lobbying has no place in a democratic society. Legislation to ensure full and public transparency of all corporate lobbying activities must be put in place. This should be overseen by a credible and independent body, directly accountable to the people.

The existing system of corporate sanctions allows executives and board members to avoid individual responsibility for the consequences of their actions and inactions. Those directly involved in the decision-making process must be held personally liable for their role in the misdeeds of their corporations and duly charged for all criminal behaviour.

A welcome development at Occupy London is that many people working within these corporations have communicated support for our concerns. We encourage anyone to come forward and offer their opinions, or any relevant information, either openly or confidentially, to add to this discussion.

We recognise that corporate employees may feel like they do not have the power alone to create change, but by welcoming them into talks with Occupy London and working together, we can create a socially responsible and sustainable economic system.

Notes
[1] Sales: Fortune, July 31, 2000. GDP: World Bank, World Development Report 2000
[2] http://www.thecorporation.com/index.cfm?page_id=47, http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0218-01.htm

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