Don Kreis, a professor at Vermont Law School, hosted the discussion centered around “corporate personhood.” Authors Jeff Clements, Chuck Collins and Michael Hill comprised the panel–which highlighted capitalist outcomes and democratic ideals.

Panelists made clear that while they were not bashing corporate personalities, the system needs to change. “We the sovereign,” after all, allow corporations to exist; the balance has systematically shifted too far to the hands of too few. The system is “devouring itself,” as Hill (author of Cannibal Capitalism) put it.

All agreed that while the masses have slowly begun to show their disdain, not much has changed. The capitalist American culture has ingrained itself into the federal government; big business drives big government campaigns. It is inherently difficult to spread wealth that is possessed by the same people who control the government–America’s ever-growing stronghold.

Panelists and the audience alike agreed that corporations should be more focused on a “common good,” and they should be subject to higher accountability when they do not. An active dialogue ensued regarding a “blocked road ahead,” and panelists encouraged the audience to think about “cracks” where “we have room to move.”

Several audience members offered individual stories about municipal policy changes across the country, suggesting that the “cracks” might be right there in front of us.

Kreis closed the panel with the idea of such a weak point in the current structure. He ended with a question: “what’s the pressure point, here?”

The floor was then opened for further discussion and questions. Audience members stood up and many brainstormed potential change methods out loud. One member posed concern over whether or not organizations devoted to promoting policy change were complimenting or competing against one another. Panelists concluded that people joining together to take back their democracy could only be a positive thing.

“We need swarms,” they agreed.


–Amanda Drane