See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Declare independence 

As usual, American flags were flying in cities and towns all across the country on July 4th — but not all of them were the traditional Stars and Stripes that symbolize our nation's independence and America's historic commitment to liberty and justice for all.

Instead, in more than 200 places — from Alabaster, Ala., to Mount Vernon in Washington state — "Corporate America" flags were unfurled, starkly posing the question of whether we really are an independent people ... or a people who've been rendered subservient to global corporate power.

This "Corporate America" flag still was red, white and blue, but in place of the 50 stars in the corner of Old Glory, the logos of McDonald's, IBM, GE, Nike, CBS, Texaco, and other giants shone forth in all their garish glory.

In the spirit of America's first official flag — the revolutionary "Don't Tread On Me" banner — these rebellious flags implored citizens to declare independence from corporate rule. They were raised in protest against the corporatization of our health care system, schools, media, environment, food, politics, government and every other aspect of society.

Some hoisted the provocative flags in front of such chains as Starbucks and Wal-Mart, some draped them from highway overpasses, and some carried them in July 4th parades. The biggest was in New York City, where the Corporate-Spangled Banner appeared on a 600-square-foot billboard near Times Square. In Colorado one fed-up citizen painted it on the side of his house, and in Kansas the corporate flag was burned.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... While politicians who're owned by some of these very corporations gave pious July 4th speeches about America's revolutionary ideals, these patriots were putting those ideals into action. To know more about this growing assertion of grassroots independence from our modern-day corporate autocrats, contact a watchdog group called Adbusters: 607-736-9401. Jim Hightower's latest book, If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates, has just been released in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. E-mail

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Jim Hightower

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit