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Gentlemen’s Honor

hold honor in contempt,
a pitiful vestige of oblige, noblesse
except when it can be used
as cover inducing others
to subscribe as “gentlemen” hide
from its obligations
(That’s why they invented corporations.)

paying other men
to protect them from being done to
as they have done to their brothers,
and to advance a dishonorable agenda,

their insatiable lust for naked profit

and to mask the carrion stench
of their violent, rutting plunder
which relieves them of even the need to feed themselves
by appropriating the value of the labor of others.

Queen Elizabeth the First
created the East India Company,
the original transnational corporation,
which found India bountiful,
raped its resources and its people,
leaving them poor and abjectly subjugated.

This corporate structure separated,
for the first very time in history,
the owners of a business enterprise
from the actions taken by their companies
which was necessary for British exploitation
of its colonies both legally and morally

because Christianity considered
rape, murder and plunder as sin
and investors didn’t want to be condemned
– or sued –
for their eager indulgence in them.

So the legal fiction called a corporation
let owner-investors deny responsibility
for unethical and/or illegal actions undertaken
by “the corporation”
to pump up the enterprise’s profitability

in spite of the fact that such despicable acts
were undertaken precisely to profit them
which is, after all, the principle purpose
of forming a corporation to begin with.

Human shields called managers/CEOs,
provided they stay “within the law”,
have no responsibilities other than
to make as much money as possible

for stockholders, who are not kindly inclined
toward workers, communities or the environment,
which they demonstrate daily by detaching
their morality
from these acts’ predictable consequences.

Picture, if you will, a corporation
making a chemical poison for profit
and being shocked to find people poisoned
by their intentionally-created poisonous products.

Many of these poisons date from World War One,
developed as organophosphate chemical weapons.
And the express purpose of their original development
was a more efficient way to kill large numbers of humans.

And when the end of the war put an end
to murder as a method for profit,
corporations began selling these WMDs
to kill bugs and weeds on agricultural products.

(e.g. food)

Pesticides.  Herbicides.  Oil-based fertilizers.  DDT.
Phthalates.  Dioxin.  Asbestos.  BPA and PCBs.
Pumped into vegetables, fruit and the meat that we eat.
They permeate our water, the soil, even the air that we breathe.

But corporate investors didn’t intend,
really, to commit global genocide.
Oh, no.  After all, it’s just business,
and only a few million people have died.

Corporations spend billions of dollars each year
to make sure we’ll buy what they’re selling
and swear that these products aren’t dangerous
and they’re shocked, shocked, I tell you

that their intentionally-created poisons
kill and sicken American consumers
like tobacco companies had no idea at all
that smoking cigarettes would eventually kill you.

These are the kinds of “people” hiding behind corporate skirts
and on whose behalf society is organized,
who spend their time maintaining the repulsive obscenity
of their idle and opulent lives,

while an “acceptable” percentage of the rest forfeit theirs
as the rich luxuriate in contemptuous denial.
Thus any attempt at decency is a threat
to the bottom line and capitalism’s survival.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
most often consists in not taking action or things
you are perfectly capable of doing or taking.
And those enamored of imperial conquest,
and the greed of unconscionable profit-making

as badges of “honor” would be advised
the rest of us are sick of what their corporations do,
and the people their corporations have been doing to
may decide to do unto them, too.

When corporate needs/interests replace democracy, government turns “into the primary
agent of terror, and power is measured by the speed at which responsibilities can be
escaped.”  – Zygmunt Bauman

The U.S. is “a society where more atrocities are committed in the name of economics

than even in the name of hate.  …many laws are written, enforced, and most importantly,
perceived in such a way as to hold no one accountable for some types of murder.  The
same is generally true for ecocide and for genocide; especially against people of color…
(and)for many crimes against women and children.  The same cannot be said for affronts
against the property of the wealthy.”  – Derrick Jensen

“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this

country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from
Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a
high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a
racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.  I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for
American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National
City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American
republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify
Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light
to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it
that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.  During those years, I had, as the boys in the back
room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a
few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three
continents.”  – General Smedley Butler, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine
in U.S. history

"Native Troops in the Service of the East India Company," by Charles Hamilton

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