Ralph Nader called Richard Grossman the preeminent historian of corporations. In his writings and teaching Grossman warned us that unchecked corporate power would lead to the destruction of democracy. He said that the American revolution was fought less against the King but “against the crown corporations, the Hudsons Bay and East India Corporations.” And he believed that it is time to remember that fight and assert sovereignty of the people over corporations and the corporate state.
In this speech Grossman provocatively calls for dismantling “the thousand largest corporations off the face of the earth.”
Richard Grossman’s research showed him that in the original intent of American revolutionaries corporations did not have rights, they only had privileges, and only those that we the people bestow on them. They were to be limited by a revocable charter that specified what they were allowed to do; it’s board and officers were to be fully liable for any harms the corporation did; and they initially had none of the free speech rights that go along with person-hood.
If Richard Grossman were still alive today in 2017 he would be shocked to see that corporations and bankers from Exxon to Goldman Sachs, from General Dynamics to Lockheed Martin, from Wells Fargo to pipeline builder Energy Transfer, no longer are limited to purchasing influence by buying congress people one by one – but now own and run large parts of the government directly.