Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-10-98

Environmental, Human Rights, Women's and Pro-Democracy Groups Petition Attorney General of California to Revoke Unocal's Charter (part1)

Aiming to guard the public from a global oil company which they say is "a dangerous scofflaw corporation," 30 citizens' organizations and individuals today filed a 127-page petition seeking action by the California Attorney General to revoke the charter of the Union Oil Company of California (Unocal). Petitions were delivered to California Attorney General Dan Lungren's Sacramento office and, in simultaneous 11 a.m. press conferences, to his representatives at his Los Angeles and San Francisco offices.

Outraged over Unocal's business ties with the anti-woman Taliban militia in Afghanistan and the military dictators of Burma, as well as over the corporation's record as a "repeat offender" of environmental, labor and deceptive practices laws and its "usurpation of political power," petitioners ask that the attorney general call on a court to revoke the company's charter, appoint a receiver, and wind up the corporation's affairs "in order to fully protect jobs, workers, stockholders, unions, communities, the environment, suppliers, customers, government entities, and the public interest."

"We're letting the people of California in on a well-kept legal secret," said Robert Benson, professor of law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and lead attorney for the National Lawyers Guild's International Law Project for Human, Economic and Environmental Defense (HEED) which prepared the petition. "The people mistakenly assume that we have to try to control these giant corporate repeat offenders one toxic spill at a time, one layoff at a time, one human rights violation at a time. But the law has always allowed the attorney general to go to court to simply dissolve a corporation for wrongdoing and sell its assets to others who will operate in the public interest. California attorneys general haven't often done it because they've become soft on corporate crime. Baseball players and convicted individuals in California get only three strikes. Why should big corporations get endless strikes? "

Benson said that the attorney general of New York recently asked a court to revoke the charters of two corporations that allegedly put out deceptive scientific research for the tobacco industry, and a judge in Alabama has asked his state courts to dissolve the tobacco companies themselves. In California, according to Benson, in 1976 conservative

Republican Attorney General Evelle Younger asked a court to dissolve a private water company for allegedly delivering impure water to its customers.

Unocal, the petition alleges on information and belief, was principally responsible for the notorious 1969 oil blowout in the Santa Barbara Channel, and since then has grievously polluted multiple sites from San Francisco to Los Angeles, has been identified as a potentially responsible party at 82 "Superfund" or similar toxic sites, has committed hundreds of violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, treats U.S. workers unethically and unfairly, has usurped political power, has undermined U.S. foreign policy, and has engaged in a pattern of illegal deceptions of the courts, stockholders and the public.

Additionally, the groups allege, Unocal has been complicit in "unspeakable" human rights violations perpetrated by foreign governments with which it has business ties in Afghanistan and Burma. The company's dealings with the Taliban militia in Afghanistan, known for its extremely cruel treatment of women, have particularly enraged women's groups.

Katherine Spillar, national coordinator for the Feminist Majority Foundation, one of the petitioning groups, denounced Unocal for its business dealings with the Taliban to build a gas pipeline which would bring the regime revenue and legitimacy. "If Unocal thinks it can do business with a regime that, in effect, denies women their right to exist as human beings, then we think Unocal's privilege to exist as a corporation must also be denied,"

(cont.)

Media Resources: Feminist Majority - September 10, 1998


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/20/2014 North Carolina Board of Elections Eliminates On-Campus Voting Sites Across the State - North Carolina will begin state-wide early voting on Thursday, and unlike the 2012 presidential election, many students across the state will have no polling place on-campus, making it more difficult for students to exercise their right to vote. The North Carolina State Board of Elections recently eliminated the only on-campus voting location for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a campus with more than 20,000 students. . . .
 
10/20/2014 Jay Leno Receives Mark Twain Prize, Salutes Mavis and Her Work for Women's Rights - Former long-time host of "The Tonight Show" Jay Leno saluted his wife, Mavis, for her work on behalf of women's rights around the world when he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this weekend at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The Mark Twain prize is awarded for comedic achievement, and the event, where Leno performed a monologue and paid tribute to the many comedians he has worked with throughout his career, brought together supporters of the The John F. . . .
 
10/20/2014 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Slams Supreme Court for Upholding Voter Suppression in Texas - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a blistering dissent after a ruling by the US Supreme Court this weekend threatened to disqualify more than half a million Texas voters from early voting. In an unsigned order Saturday, a majority of the Supreme Court sided with a Texas law requiring voters to produce specific forms of photo identification in order to cast a ballot in the 2014 election. . . .