1981 – The U.S. Senate confirmed Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court
Her post-retirement comment following the 2010 Citizens United v FEC Supreme Court decision expanding the rights of individuals and corporate entities to make political campaign contributions: “Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon.”
2009 – “The Rights of Corporations,” New York Times editorial
“The question at the heart of one of the biggest Supreme Court cases this year is simple: What constitutional rights should corporations have? To us, as well as many legal scholars, former justices and, indeed, drafters of the Constitution, the answer is that their rights should be quite limited — far less than those of people…
“The legal doctrine underlying this debate is known as “corporate personhood…
“Their influence would be overwhelming with the full array of rights that people have.
“One of the main areas where corporations’ rights have long been limited is politics. Polls suggest that Americans are worried about the influence that corporations already have with elected officials. The drive to give corporations more rights is coming from the court’s conservative bloc — a curious position given their often-proclaimed devotion to the text of the Constitution.
“The founders of this nation knew just what they were doing when they drew a line between legally created economic entities and living, breathing human beings. The court should stick to that line.”
1862 – U.S. President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
It stated that all slaves held within rebel states would be free as of January 1, 1863
1919 – Beginning of the Great Steel Strike
During World War I, the federal government affirmed the right of workers to organize trade unions without interference by employers and established the National War Labor Board to implement the law and settle labor-management disputes. As a result, there were substantial gains for workers in wages and working conditions. This all changed when the war ended with corporate leaders and the government seeking to return labor-management conditions to “normal.”
Steel workers went on strike beginning this day to protect and expand their economic gains and right to organize. As many as 365,000 steel workers took part during the 14 week-long strike. More than 4 million workers across the country went on strike during 1919 — 20% of the nation’s industrial workforce. It was at the time the largest wave of labor actions in U.S. history.
There was violence on both sides. This was used as a pretext by the government to labor strikers as dangerous radical foreign Bolsheviks — the first “red scare” intended to alienate workers from the public at large. It worked — by early January 1920, the strikers gave up and returned to work.
1838 – Birth of Victoria Woodhull, American journalist, suffragette, and activist
Victoria Claflin Woodhull, later Victoria Woodhull Martin, in 1872 became the first woman to run for President of the United States.
2011 – “Corporate Tribalism Part 1: Legal Corporatism As A Version of Racism” blog posting
On the corporate perversion of the 14th Amendment…
“The intellectual movement here leads up to corporatism as the same kind of phenomenon as racism, and using what was supposed to be an anti-racist constitutional amendment as its vehicle. Racism includes discrimination based on race. If we look again at the quote above, we see how the court immediately confounds this with taxation of “property”, and proceeds to claim that discrimination based on economic function is the same thing as racial discrimination. (Never mind that taxing different actions differently isn’t “singular” or “strange” at all, and that all law discriminates in that sort of way. This fraudulent court knew that perfectly well, but had a different agenda here.
“Having equated economic entities, declared corporations “persons”, and invented this doctrine of total economic anti-discrimination, the court had implicitly rigged things to enable power, corporate prerogative, and the law itself to discriminate, as a practical matter, against human beings and on behalf of the profit prerogative. And so it has accelerated ever since.”
1837 – Birth of Mark Hanna, businessman, Ohio US Senator and campaign manager to President William McKinley
“There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can’t remember what the second one is.”
1789 – US Bill of Rights sent to states for ratification
On this date, Congress transmitted to the state legislatures twelve proposed amendments, two of which, having to do with Congressional representation and Congressional pay, were not adopted. The remaining ten amendments became the Bill of Rights.
1971 – Death of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black
In his dissent in Adamson v. People of the State of California, 332 U.S. 46 (1947), he summarized the history of judicial activism surrounding the Fourteenth Amendment. “It was aimed at restraining and checking the powers of wealth and privilege. It was to be a charter of liberty for human rights against property rights. The transformation has been rapid and complete. It operates today to protect the rights of property to the detriment of the rights of man. It has become the Magna Charta of accumulated and organized capital.”
He stated in his dissent in Connecticut General Life Ins. v. Johnson (1938): “I do not believe the word “person” in the 14th Amendment includes corporations…[n]either the history nor the language of the Fourteenth Amendment justifies the belief that corporations are included within its protection.”
1889 – Birth of Martin Heidegger, German philosopher, on thinking
“The things that are the most difficult to think about are the things that are most familiar to us.”
[Note: This includes corporations, which are all around us, embedded in our lives and deemed inevitable and irreversible in their size, scope, power and rights. Yet, their power and rights are human created. What has been consciously and deliberately done can be consciously and deliberately undone. It’s up to us to be the doers.]
1961 – Death of Charles E. Wilson, CEO of General Motors corporation and U.S. Secretary of Defense
“For years I thought that what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa. The difference did not exist. Our company is too big. It goes with the welfare of the country.”
2017 – “Corporations Have Rights. Why Shouldn’t Rivers?” online published article
“Does a river — or a plant, or a forest — have rights?
“This is the essential question in what attorneys are calling a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit, in which a Denver lawyer and a far-left environmental group are asking a judge to recognize the Colorado River as a person.
“If successful, it could upend environmental law, possibly allowing the redwood forests, the Rocky Mountains or the deserts of Nevada to sue individuals, corporations and governments over resource pollution or depletion. Future lawsuits in its mold might seek to block pipelines, golf courses or housing developments and force everyone from agriculture executives to mayors to rethink how they treat the environment.”
2019 – “We can’t rely on corporations to reform themselves – we must challenge their power,” online published article by Michelle Meagher
“Why should we trust these companies to serve the public interest just because they say they will? We shouldn’t. The passivity encouraged by free market thinking has led to obscenely unequal and damaging results. The public must serve its own interests, either directly or through representation. This is a core principle of political democracy, and is necessary if we are to maintain any semblance of economic democracy.”
1672 – Royal Africa Company chartered
The corporation was granted a charter, or license to exist, by the King of England. The charter established a legal monopoly on English trade in West Africa. The main communities that it mined and sold: gold and slaves.
1960 – Death of Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst, English campaigner for the suffragette movement in the United Kingdom
“My belief in the growth and permanence of democracy is undimmed. I know that the people will cast off the new dictatorship as they did the old. I believe as firmly as in my youth that humanity will surmount the era of poverty and war.”