We've all seen the Occupy Wall Street signs: America for sale! End corporate personhood! Get the money out of politics!
But what if a corporation actually became a politician?
Farmscape LLC, which describes itself as “the largest urban farming venture in Los Angeles,” is launching a full-fledged mayoral campaign…
… for the 2013 municipal election, reports KCRW. The company seems to think (or is really good at pretending they think) that under the Supreme Court's two-year-old “corporations are people” ruling, an LLC is just as eligible as, say, Eric Garcetti, to vie for a seat at City Hall.
And this uncoventional pol has personality, too. “You're here because you know that bland food comes from bland politics,” reads the Farmscape campaign website. “You wish there were a candidate to represent our chard values.”
Farmscape spokeswoman Rachel Ballin tells KCRW, “We are very serious about running for mayor because we are curious and want to discover what the limits to the corporate person-hood ruling might be.”
OK, we'll bite. LA Weekly called a top California elections lawyer, Jim Sutton, to get his take on the feasibility of the campaign.
Could this work? “Oh, god no,” says Sutton.
He says the Supreme Court's corporate-personhood ruling is very often made out to be more than it is. “It didn't say corporations are people,” says Sutton. Instead, it simply allowed corporations to be considered people “for the purposes of communicating with the public” during an election. Aka, through campaign donations or endorsements.
Plus, running for office has less to with a single Supreme Court ruling and more to do with the California Constitution and elections code. Individuals who run for office must be U.S. citizens over 18 years of age, along with other human-centric requirements.
“I would recommend that this company re-read the California Constitution,” says Sutton.
Buzzkill! But yeah, now that we got that out of the way, we can focus on the amusing — even sort of genius — efforts of Farmscape to point out the follies of current L.A. City Hall people and policies. And get some free press, to boot.
In the end, their “corporate” message is really quite the opposite. They use it more as a tool to point out the terrible job that humans are doing of running Los Angeles. (Due, in large part, to corporate ties. Ironic!)
From the campaign announcement:
“Why run for Mayor? From City Hall, Farmscape will be able to wield greater influence and reach out to people to guide a movement to ReFarm the city. With control of the city's land and resources and the pulpit of the Mayor's Office, Farmscape could quickly convert more landscaping to farmscaping and accelerate the end of our city's dependence on foreign soil.”
Farmscape vows to KCRW that if all else fails, they'll “wage a write-in campaign.”
Let's just hope this “corporate personhood” legal guise doesn't, by some miracle, actually make it through the board of elections, and end up backfiring as a victory for the 1 percent. At that point, Farmscape, expect Occupiers with pitchforks all up in your tomato beds.
In actual news, did you know that Los Angeles city politicians (the skin-and-bones variety) just upped the amount of campaign money they can receive from corporations and unions? Smack dab in the middle of an election season, no less?
Well, they did. So that sucks.