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Speak Out On Corporate Power and Greed

A "corporate Rap Sheet", which documented actions by corporate leaders which injured employees, stockholders, and community members, opened the Speak Out on Corporate Greed meeting. Members of the audience presented their criticisms and suggestions for changing the actions of corporate leaders.
Corporations were the target, and community members were the accusers in the second “Speak Out on Corporate Power and Greed!!” event initiated by the Greater Kansas City Fair Trade Coalition, this time in conjunction with the Sociology Department of the Johnson County Community College. Damages which the leaders of major corporations have done to their employees, stockholders, suppliers, community members, and people around the world were discussed by the group of about fifty persons at the college on Tuesday evening, March 11.

“Cheney [current Vice President of the U.S.] was CEO of Halliburton when 440 employees lost millions...Cheney got $18.5 million when he retired from Halliburton six months later...”

“Let’s look at profiteering from government deregulation... In the airline industry, we have had poor airport security, poor service, and continuous concessions from airline workers... In banking and finance, we have conflict of interest, deceptive accounting...as seen in World Com, Enron, and Xerox...”

“Consider war profiteering... A Halliburton subsidiary has already won the contract to oversee firefighting in Iraqi oil fields... Reconstruction of Iraq is estimated to cost $2 billion... to be done by U.S. corporations... Oil and gas corporations contributed $26.7 million to Bush and Republicans... Cheney’s staff met last October with oil leaders to decide who gets what...”

“The corporate interest is the bottom line – an endless expansion... there are no limits...”

Several people reminded the audience that most of the things we have have come from corporations.

When attention turned to what can be done, some of the suggestions were:

Contact our people in Congress.
Get public financing of elections to change who is in Congress.
We need to live more simply.
Push Congress to put a stable floor on the price of domestic oil.
We need people in the streets raising hell.
Educate children. Teach them to think.
Stimulate a sense of outrage.
Form groups to get together and talk.
Provide guns for everyone.
Shame people into getting involved.
Appeal to a power beyond.
Change from the inside out.

It appeared that most members of the audience believed that action was needed to change the authority and power which corporate leaders have, including changes in the basic legislation governing corporations.

Dawn Bly, a Reform Party candidate for Congress in 2002, was the moderator. Judy Ancel, Director of the Institute for Labor Studies at the University of Missouri - Kansas City and Longview Community College, stimulated discussion with a Power Point presentation about “Rap Sheet on Corporations”. Following her presentation, members of the audience made their accusations.

This was the second such event. The first was co-sponsored by the Philosophy 206 Ethics class, the Campus forum, and the Intercultural Center of the Kansas City, Kansas, Community College last October.

Members of The Greater Kansas City Fair Trade Coalition have been working for nearly a decade to change international trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, the General Agreement on Trade in Services, and the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights. Many of the members have become convinced that the major push for such agreements has come from leaders of the major transnational corporations, who use the wealth and influence of the corporation to produce those agreements.

For more information about the Coalition or the Speak Outs, contact Craig Volland (913-334-0566), Clem Wittman (816-313-1213), or Frank Neff (913-310-0031).

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Re: Speak Out On Corporate Power and Greed

This is a very intense and draining subject to expose, Frank. Thank you for doing some of the meanial work. Now we can only hope and pray the rest of society will quit comatosicly meandering through their own boring, day to day lives.

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