George Graham

Freedom’s Just Another Word…

In a world dominated by massive corporations, millions of Americans harbor the notion of “freedom” and vigorously resist any incursion of “socialism.” In other words, they much prefer to have their lives controlled by unelected corporate executives than by a government they get to vote for.

Not only that but they don’t seem to mind being dictated to at the most intimate level by condo and homeowners associations. They meekly accept rules governing the number of cats they can own and the height of the grass on their lawn. (I just read a news item about a Florida man who was fined $5,000 by his homeowners association because his magnolia trees were too short.)

But let the federal government try to protect them from “junk” insurance policies and all hell breaks loose.

They want their America preserved intact, the America in which 10 giant corporations dictate every common household item they buy.

In a recent AlterNet article, Thom Hartman reports that the American marketplace is completely dominated by Kraft, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Unilever, and Johnson & Johnson.

He reports that:

These 10 corporations in turn own, market, or distribute what people think of as the products of hundreds of other companies.

For example, Proctor and Gamble is best known for its cleaning and personal hygiene products, like Tide detergent, Ivory hand soap and Joy dishwashing liquid. But the company also owns or markets other products, from IAMS dog food and Pepto-Bismol to Duracell batteries and Metamucil.

Then there’s Mars, the giant candy conglomerate responsible for Snickers bars, M&M’s and other sweet treats. But did you know that Mars also owns or markets Pedigree dog food, Whiskas cat food and Uncle Ben’s rice?

Finally, there’s Nestlé. Many American consumers know Nestlé for its Nescafé espresso, Nestlé ice cream or Nesquick chocolate milk. But this coffee and chocolate milk manufacturer also owns or helps market Purina dog and cat food, Gerber baby food, Ralph Lauren cologne, and Garnier hair care products.

Hartman goes on to show how these huge corporations are linked with each other:

For example, according to’s most recent information, PepsiCo has a board member who serves on the board of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, alongside a board member who serves on the board of the Kellogg Company.

Hartman’s article is revealing but it exposes just a part of the corporate spider web. For example, a giant corporation can control news outlets that supposedly compete against each other.  And to add to the pantomime, the media outlet’s owners are the same corporations that own the companies advertising in the media. I’m sure you’re aware, too, that the big banks have merged into a handful of mega-corporations so powerful that even the mighty US government must handle them with kid gloves. And the beat goes on…

These mighty corporations are owned and controlled by the same billionaires who fund “grassroots” organizations dedicated to the federal government’s destruction and right-wing domination of American politics. The organizations they finance include “conservative” think tanks, the Tea Party movement and a host of other political pressure groups. And, of course, they keep an army of lobbyists busy in Washington DC.

It is a pattern that prevails not only in America but throughout the civilized world as the corporate culture increases its global domination.

As I peek behind the public relations curtain that shields us from the real world, I am tempted to agree with that old Janis Joplin hit (written by Johnny Cash and Charlie Williams):

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.

Read Hartman’s article here.

Listen to the song here.

Read about one of the many political pressure groups here.

Click for more on global corporate dominance.


About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for