incorporating dead peasants

james armstrong james36army at
Fri Aug 15 07:16:13 BST 2008


Think the  land law needs changing? Would you like to redistribute the 129,500 acres of the Duchy of Cornwall? Or the 60,000 of the Duke of Buccleuch?  Was your local commons unfairly enclosed two hundred years ago and do you think this needs reversing?    Don't want to pay £65,000 (and repay £214,000 on a mortgage on it) for the land underneath  that new house you want?  Don’t have any land of your own to construct your brand new architect designed house at a cost of  £55,000 because   two thirds of the land of the UK is controlled by 190,000 families who privately tax you for the privilege of building the house you need?

The doctrine of corporate personhood.
  Supreme court justice Morrison Renwick Waite in  Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad. in 1886 said, 
  'The court does not want to hear argument whether the provision under the fourteenth amendment to the constitution which forbids a state to deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws applies to these corporations. We are alike of opinion that it does.' 
….quoted in 'the  Post Corporate World' by David Korton.
We suggest  that another apparent legal absurdity, incorporating dead peasants,  can upset the single greatest means, minority control of the land, by which  English people are exploited'

Companies have fictional identity as 'corporations'  that is they have been given fictional bodies to which are attached very real legal rights, including personal or human rights. Laws of long ago are very relevant  to-day. Fundamental to our constitutional law and particularly to our land law  are the statutes of William of Normandy. This is acknowledged by our foremost legal commentators,e.g. Prof FW Maitland who lectured in  Cambridge University in 1899. 
Ranulf Glanvill's commentary, written 1187 to 1189,  is still referred to by lawyers. 
It is a  surprising oversight by which antiquity, human rights and incorporation are conjoined  to extend to  business enterprises a privileged status which has not been extended to meet the needs of present human society especially those particularly oppressed in the realm of  housing.  
Extending rights to  dead peasants will set in train the recognition that the ancient basis of our land ownership is now invalid and needs updating and carry the prospect of  ending privilege.       

The Statute of Mortmain (i.e. 'dead hand') of 1289 recognised the danger of land being alienated in perpetuity.It limited grants of land to the church,arguing that  the church never dies and that such  land was lost to the state  for ever.
We should remember that with control of the land went control of the bodies, of the labour and of the  lives of the peasants who dwelled on it.  Still to-day, controlling land gives control over lives.
It can be argued that because it is the lot of  people to  die, but not necessarily of corporations , then people are disadvantaged re 'fictional' corporations and trusts.  This cannot be rational nor compatible with  current equal opportunities legislation. Incorporating  dead peasants is logical and less potentially harmful, in fact beneficial to present day society. 

Once their rights are posthumously recognised the injustice of the laws which oppressed them  is apparent and with it the need  to remedy the defect.. Title to land based on such laws is invalidated by the recognition that such land law (and title) is inappropriate for current social needs.  Laws needs to be scrapped or changed to bring them  up to date with modern  interpretations of equity. This is relevant to our land law which to an extraordinary degree, in UK, conserves a system of monopoly bulk landownership which acts against the interests of the majority- who are not bulk land owners yet for whom every activity requires access to land and land monopoly  runs counter to anti-monopoly legislation such as the 1998 Competition Act.   (At present this act applies only to  goods and services.) The Competition Law needs amending to extend to transactions in land.  Incorporating dead peasants  and recognising that their rights were abrogated by
 inequitable land law is the first step in ending exploitation of living people by means of  current law which supports minority control of bulk land but is based on such shaky foundations.  Alternatively  we could wait for the other resurrection.   JA


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