Jane Anne Morris

Jane Anne Morris

Hear Morris Talk on “Corporate Personhood: Taking Stock”
Archive in Energy Bulletin, Feb. 23, 2010 by The Madison Institute of Morris talk Nov. 21, 2009.
www.energybulletin.net/node/51678 See author Morris give a talk about the Domestic “Free Trade” Zone on YouTube
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yjWb0jwbOg See author Morris at the Local Democracy Convention

Early Activism

Corporate anthropologist Jane Anne Morris is an activist and author. Coming of age during the Viet Nam War, she has been active in a wide range of issues, including local democracy, antiwar, environment, U.S. intervention in Central America, energy, human rights, police brutality, and labor organizing.

Formative Years–My “Tribe” Was a Utility Company

While living in Texas, she worked on a long grassroots effort against stripmining and burning lignite, a low-energy, dirty
precursor of coal. The campaign included the decisive referendum defeat of a half-a-billion dollar bond package for a massive stripmining and power plant project. Her 700-page dissertation, detailing how the quasi-public utility company manipulated its way through a maze of regulatory agencies despite widespread public opposition, has been used in classes at the University of Texas.

First Book

After the campaign, Morris served on the City of Austin’s Resource Management Commission, coordinating conservation and energy efficiency programs. In 1986, the Texas Press Association first place award for Community Service among weekly newspapers went to the Bastrop County Times (Bastrop, Texas) for coverage of the Lower Colorado River Authority of Texas, the quasi-public utility involved in the lignite escapade. Editor/Publisher Bill Bishop and Jane Anne Morris worked together on the award-winning series of articles. Her experience in Texas energy politics became the basis for Not In My Back Yard: The Handbook (Silvercat Publications, 1994)

Activism Meets Corporate “Personhood.”

During a decade with the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD), Morris traveled widely throughout the
U.S. giving talks, interviews and workshops on topics such as Democracy and Corporations, the Domestic “Free Trade” Zone, and the History of Corporate Law. Half a dozen of her essays from that era (1995-2005) can be found in the anthology Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy (ed. Dean Ritz, Apex Press, 2001), and in Rachel’s Environmental Health News (R.E.H.N.) # 488, 489, 502, 806, 812, and 813. Her work has also appeared in Earth Island Journal, Synthesis/Regeneration, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Progressive Populist, the Earth First! Journal,CommonDreams.org, and elsewhere. (See below for selected publication details.)

Morris’s first book was endorsed by Ralph Nader; her new one, by Vandana Shiva, Howard Zinn, Stephanie Mills, Jan Edwards, John Stauber, Britt Bailey, Peter Kellman, Ben Manski, Carl Mayer, James Gray Pope, Jim Tarbell, and others. She has been interviewed on radio stations from North Pole, Alaska, to California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and New York, among others, including Studs Terkel’s program on Chicago’s WFMT, and Seattle KEZX’s “Public Affairs Hour.” She has also lectured in university classes in Sociology, Business Administration, “Science, Technology and Society,” Business Ethics, and “Government and Natural Resources.”


Morris has taught anthropology to community college students, English as a Foreign Language (ESL) to Mexican migrant workers, and G.E.D. to prison inmates. She worked on an organic farm in New Mexico, and for five years was active in a sister-community relationship with a peace community in Colómbia. She has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys urban (food) gathering, and playing the accordion and charango.


Morris lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Her new book, Gaveling Down the Rabble: How “Free Trade” is Stealing Our Democracy
(Apex Press, 2008), explains the century-old domestic “free trade” zone within the United States. Since 2007, Morris has worked on the editorial board of Synthesis/Regeneration: A Journal of Green Social Thought. Currently, Morris is working to get community gardens on the roof of the new Madison, Wisconsin, Public Library, and writing a book about the SupremeCourt.

Selected Jane Anne Morris Publications

“Court’s Campaign Money Ruling A Red Herring,” Progressive Populist, March 15, 2010, www.populist.com/10.5.morris.html or democracythemepark.blogspot.com

“‘Free Trade’ Footprint a Decade After Seattle,” Progressive Populist, Jan 1-15, 2010.
www. populist.com/10.1.morris.html“Corporate personhood’ must be challenged,” The Progressive Populist, Nov. 1, 2009;

www.populist.com/09.19.morris.html“The Case for Un-Building America: Watch Where You Put Your Stimulus Package,” Synthesis/Regeneration 49 (Spring 2009).

www.greens.org/s-r/49/49-11.html“Why a Green Future is “Unconstitutional” and What to Do about It,” Synthesis/Regeneration 49 (Spring 2009).

www.greens.org/s-r/49/49-18.html“Meat, “Free Trade,” and Democracy: As Goes South Korea, So Went Missouri,” Progressive Populist, Aug. 1, 2008.

www.populist.com/08.13.morris.html“Homo Metallicus: IS RECYCLING THE NEW GARBAGE?” in Synthesis/Regeneration
46: A Magazine of Green Social Thought
, Summer 2008.

www.greens.org/s-r/46/46-12.html“The Pink Oleo Saga: Why So Many Good State Laws Are ‘Unconstitutional’
(and What We Should Do About It,” By What Authority, Spring 2008 (Vol. 10., No. 1).

www.rachel.org/en/newsletters/rachels_news/972“Court Rulings Threaten State Democracy Labs,” Progressive
, Jan 1-15, 2008.

www.populist.com/08.01.morris.html “Help! I’ve Been Colonized and I Can’t Get Up…,” 1998, reprinted in Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy [DCDD] (ed. Dean Ritz, Apex Press and POCLAD, 2001); reprinted in Rachel’s Environment and Health News #806 (Feb. 15, 2005). “Try This At Home,” in Globalize Liberation, ed. David Solnit, (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2004). “The Energy Nightmare of Web Server Farms,” Synthesis/Regeneration No. 45 (Winter 2008).


“Corporate Social Responsibility: Kick the Habit,” in By What Authority [a POCLAD periodical], Vol. 2, No. 2 (Spring 2000). (Reprinted in DCDD.)

“Coming Soon: a Futures Market in Constitutional Rights?” Earth Island Journal, Fall 1997; reprinted in Green Horizon, Sep. 1997, and in DCDD.

“America Needs a Law Prohibiting Corporate Donations,” Synthesis/Regeneration: A Magazine of Green Social Thought, Winter 1996; reprinted in Rachel’s Environment & Health Weekly #502, July 11, 1996; reprinted in Earth Island Journal, Fall 1996; reprinted in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Jan. 9, 1997.)

“Strip Corporations of Their Cloaking Device,” Democracy Unlimited News Dispatch, (Wisconsin), Fall 1996. Reprinted in DCDD.

“Fixing Corporations (Part 1): Legacy of the Founding Parents”,

“Fixing Corporations (Part 2): Corporations for the Seventh Generation,” Rachel’s Environment & Health Weekly,
# 488, 489, April 1996. (Reprinted in DCDD as “Corporations for the Seventh Generation.”)

“Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing,” [about regulatory agencies], By What Authority [a POCLAD periodical], Vol. 1, No.1 (Fall 1998). (Reprinted in DCDD.)

“Speak Truth to Power,” [on campaign reform] 1998, reprinted in DCDD.

“How to Research the Legal History of Corporations in Your State,” pamphlet first available through POCLAD in 1998; excerpted in Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy (2001).

“Reconstitutionalism,” [In The Forum, Liberty Tree: Journal of the Democratic Revolution, Summer 2006. Jane Anne Morris on the question of constitutional renewal. [The two other discussants were Matt Gonzalez and Heinz Klug.] Board and Staff: An Ethnography of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) of Texas. 1987 Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, Dept. of Anthropology.