REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 19 – 25

August 19

2003 – Federal District Court overturns S. Dakota “Amendment E” banning non family farm-owned agribusinesses
The federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 1998 state constitutional amendment voted by South Dakota citizens that banned non-family owned agribusiness corporations from owning farmland or engaging in farming. The American Farm Bureau Federation, agribusiness corporations, and other agribusiness interests had sued to overturn the law, charging that it violated the Commerce Clause. The Court agreed, arguing that the intent of the citizen initiative circulators was to eliminate corporations from agriculture.

2015 – Is This The Great Crash Of China? By Stephen Keen
“Banks in the West effectively ignore what the government wants: in the West, the political class is effectively subservient to the financial class.”
http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevekeen/2015/08/19/is-this-the-great-crash-of-china/3/

August 20

1619 – Slaves arrive for the first time in what would become the United States (Virginia)
This year marks the 400th anniversary — and we still haven’t come to terms with the impact of the human enslavement of some human beings by other human beings…and the need to make amends.

2014 – “Corporations are People. So What if People Were Corporations?” article published by Catherine Rampell
“Turns out corporations enjoy tons of rights and privileges that biological beings should be salivating over…

“The most obvious place to start is taxes. Companies save billions from loopholes that don’t apply to individuals — yet…

“If people were treated like corporations, perhaps we’d be able to ’merge’ with whomever we want without worrying about restrictive marriage laws…We could also choose to abide by the family law in whichever state we like best, regardless of where we live. Companies, after all, can incorporate in the jurisdiction with the most favorable corporate governance laws, regardless of where they operate,…That’s one reason Delaware is home to more businesses than people.

“But the best perk of being treated like an incorporeal corporation?

“Even if you killed someone, stole a house, funded a genocidal regime or terrorized the global economy, you wouldn’t go to jail. At worst, you’d pay a fine. Sure, you could be executed for your crimes — sort of — by having your charter revoked or by being driven to bankruptcy by onerous penalties, but you could always return from the dead with a different name but much of the same DNA. To err is human; to err and bounce back unscathed, you really need to be a company.”
https://movetoamend.org/corporations-are-people-so-what-if-people-were-corporations

August 21

1878 – American Bar Association established – proposes “Model Business Corporation Act”
The Model Business Corporation Act was proposed by the American Bar Association’s Section of Business Law, Committee on Corporate Law. By 2009, 31 states had adopted some version of the proposal, which gives corporate shareholders no responsibility for the acts or debts of the corporation they own. They can invest with only financial risk and no legal risk.

2011 – “The Kids Are Not All Right: Corporate Interests Threaten Children’s Welfare” New York Times article by Joel Bakan
“By the middle of the century, childhood was a robustly protected legal category. In 1959, the United Nations issued its Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Children were now legal persons; the “best interests of the child” became a touchstone for legal reform.

“But the 20th century also witnessed another momentous shift, one that would ultimately threaten the welfare of children: the rise of the for-profit corporation…

“A clash between these two newly created legal entities — children and corporations — was, perhaps, inevitable. Century-of-the-child reformers sought to resolve conflicts in favor of children. But over the last 30 years there has been a dramatic reversal: corporate interests now prevail. Deregulation, privatization, weak enforcement of existing regulations and legal and political resistance to new regulations have eroded our ability, as a society, to protect children.”

August 22

2012 — System for Public Financing of Elections Proposal announced
Democracy 21 and the Brennan Center issue a report and propose a new system for financing federal elections. The proposed system is based on empowering citizens in the political process by matching up to $250 of a citizen’s contribution with public funds at a 5 to 1 ratio.

Besides the financial strain on public budgets, this proposal does not address the ongoing constitutional “money equals speech” doctrine, nor does it call for an end to corporate constitutional rights (including the 1st Amendment “free speech” right to make political donations).

August 23

2011 – Missoula, MT City Council votes to place a “corporations are not human beings” referendum on the 2011 ballot
Specifically, the referendum urged federal and state lawmakers to amend the U.S. Constitution to clearly state “that corporations are not human beings and do not have the same rights as citizens.”
On November 8, 2011, Missoula voters approved the ballot referendum by a three to one margin.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Move_To_Amend

August 24

1922 – Birth of Howard Zinn, Author, A People’s History of the United States
“The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history. With a country so rich in natural resources, talent, and labor power the system can afford to distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit discontent to a troublesome minority. It is a country so powerful, so big, so pleasing to so many of its citizens that it can afford to give freedom of dissent to the small number who are not pleased. There is no system of control with more openings, apertures, leeways, flexibilities, rewards for the chosen, winning tickets in lotteries. There is none that disperses its controls more complexly through the voting system, the work situation, the church, the family, the school, the mass media–none more successful in mollifying opposition with reforms, isolating people from one another, creating patriotic loyalty.”

2011 – First national Democracy Convention, sponsored by Liberty Tree Foundation, is held in Madison, WI
“More than one conference, the Democracy Convention houses at least nine conferences under one roof. As the great progressive reformer Fighting Bob La Follette said, ‘democracy is a life,’ and ‘involves constant struggle’ in all sectors of society. With the Democracy Convention, we recognize the importance of each of these separate democracy struggles, as well as the need to unite them all in a common, deeply rooted, broad based, movement for democracy. THE DEMOCRACY CONVENTION: Nine conferences. One movement. Earth Democracy, Education Democracy, Economic Democracy, Constitutional Reform, Racial Equality, Media Democracy, Local Democracy, Representative Democracy, Democratizing Defense.” http://2011.democracyconvention.org/about-convention

August 25

1998 – Death of Lewis Powell — writer of pro-corporate “Powell memo”
Attorney Lewis Powell in 1971 wrote a memo to the US Chamber of Commerce entitled, “Attack on American Free Enterprise System.” It called for a sustained, multiyear corporate campaign to use an “activist minded Supreme Court” to shape “social, economic and political change” to the advantage of corporations. Powell was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court two months later. A new phase of judicial activism and “legal fabrication” followed, nurtured by numerous, well-funded pro-corporate think tanks and legal centers. Corporations were granted several additional never-intended constitutional rights by the Supreme Court. These related to the right to speak and not to speak, leading to the overrule of democratically-passed laws by states to protect health, safety and the economy.

2015 – “Now That We’re Talking About Citizenship, Let’s Revoke Corporate Personhood” article published by C. Robert Gibson
“Thanks to Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, the media is now entertaining discussion on the idea of revoking citizenship for human beings, to the point where the media is calculating the cost of these insane and unconstitutional proposals. If Trump wants to revoke the citizenship of people who are using up all of our resources and not paying taxes, and if the media really wants to have the conversation, let’s start with multinational corporations…

“A constitutional amendment that explicitly states that corporations aren’t people, and that money is not speech would do the trick. The organization Move to Amend is doing just that, and have roughly 535 resolutions that have either been passed at the local/state level or are currently in progress. State legislatures in Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Vermont, and West Virginia have already passed such resolutions.

“Donald Trump has been able to shift the Overton Window of acceptable political discourse far to the right in just a matter of weeks, to where the media is now entertaining discussion on the idea of revoking citizenship for human beings. The left must be just as willing to push the discussion toward revoking corporate citizenship due to the harm they’ve caused to our political process, as well as our public programs that have been slashed to the bone due to corporations avoiding billions in taxes.”
http://usuncut.com/resistance/now-that-were-talking-about-citizenship-lets-revoke-corporate-personhood/

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 12 – 18

August 12

2014 – “New York Teachers Union Rips Corporate Ties of Common Core” article published
“Teachers are playing up the corporate ties behind the controversial Common Core K-12 standards for math and English. British company Pearson PLC has a $33 million contract with the state to administer the assessment tests in public schools; the company is also running teacher training tests.

“Public education, not private profits,” the crowd chanted, led by New York State United Teachers union president Karen E. Magee, according to the Times-Union.

“Magee said that teachers understand the needs of their students more than a testing company, and held up a copy of a contract with the state and Pearson and ripped it up as the crowd chanted, “shred it, shred it.”
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/12/new-york-teachers-union-rips-corporate-ties-of-common-core/

August 13

1920 – Adoption of “Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World,” the Principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association
“After fighting World War I, ostensibly to defend democracy and the right of self-determination, thousands of African-American soldiers returned home to face intensified discrimination, segregation, and racial violence. Drawing on this frustration, Marcus Garvey attracted thousands of disillusioned black working-class and lower middle-class followers to his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).”

Twenty-five thousand delegates from around the world attended the month-long convention in New York City, where this document was adopted.

“Preamble

“Be It Resolved, That the Negro people of the world, through their chosen representatives in convention assembled in Liberty Hall, in the City of New York and United States of America, from August 1 to August 31, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty, protest against the wrongs and injustices they are suffering at the hands of their white brethren, and state what they deem their fair and just rights, as well as the treatment they propose to demand of all men in the future.

“We complain:

“1. That nowhere in the world, with few exceptions, are black men accorded equal treatment with white men, although in the same situation and circumstances, but, on the contrary, are discriminated against and denied the common rights due to human beings for no other reason than their race and color.
We are not willingly accepted as guests in the public hotels and inns of the world for no other reason than our race and color.

“2. In certain parts of the United States of America our race is denied the right of public trial accorded to other races when accused of crime, but are lynched and burned by mobs, and such brutal and inhuman treatment is even practiced upon our women…

“4. In the southern portion of the United States of America, although citizens under the Federal Constitution, and in some States almost equal to the whites in population and are qualified land owners and taxpayers, we are, nevertheless, denied all voice in the making and administration of the laws and are taxed without representation by the State governments, and at the same time compelled to do military service in defense of the country.”

Full list of 54 complaints, demands and proclamations at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5122/

2015 – Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America, by John Whitehead, constitutional and human rights attorney
“Being a citizen in the American corporate state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.

“The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, most stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that their luck will change…

‘We are living in a fantasy world carefully crafted to resemble a representative democracy. It used to be that the cogs, wheels and gear shifts in our government machinery worked to keep our republic running smoothly. However, without our fully realizing it, the mechanism has changed. Its purpose is no longer to keep our republic running smoothly. To the contrary, this particular contraption’s purpose is to keep the corporate police state in power. Its various parts are already a corrupt part of the whole.”

Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America

August 14

1958 – Death of Mary Ritter Beard, U.S. historian
“At no time, at no place, in solemn convention assembled, through no chosen agents, had the American people officially proclaimed the United States to be a democracy. The Constitution did not contain the word or any word lending countenance to it, except possibly the mention of “We the people” in the preamble….When the Constitution was framed no respectable person called himself or herself a democrat.”

1995 – “A Call to Citizens: Will Real Populists Please Stand Up” article in Nation magazine by Ronnie Dugger, Alliance for Democracy co-founder
“We are ruled by Big Business and Big Government as its paid hireling, and we know it. Corporate money is wrecking popular government in the United States. The big corporations and the centimillionaires and billionaires have taken daily control of our work, our pay, our housing, our health, our pension funds, our bank and saving deposits, our public lands, our airwaves, our elections and our very government. It’s as if American democracy has been bombed. Will we be able to recover ourselves and overcome the bombers? Or will they continue to divide us and will we continue to divide ourselves, according to our wounds and our alarms, until they have taken the country away from us for good?

“Over 6000 people responded [to the article calling for the creation of an Alliance for Democracy], 2500 joined, and more than 55 local Alliances were formed nationwide. In late 1996 delegates from 30 states convened in Texas hill country and the Alliance for Democracy was founded.”
http://www.thealliancefordemocracy.org/about.html

August 15

1935 – Death of Will Rogers
“The business of government is to keep the government out of business, that is, unless business needs government aid.”

They Live, We Sleep: A Dictatorship Disguised as a Democracy

August 16

2014 – “California Supreme Court Nixes Corporate Personhood ‘Advisory Measure’ From November Ballot” published article
“[T]he unusual ‘advisory measure’ was placed on the ballot very recently by the California state legislature. It called for Congress to ‘propose an amendment…to the United States Constitution” to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision and its progeny, and “to make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.’

“But now, the state Supreme Court in California, dominated by 5 Republican appointees and 1 Democratic appointee, has intervened to remove the measure from this year’s general election ballot…”

The High Court said it needs more time to consider whether the advisory measure should be placed on a California ballot.
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25624-california-supreme-court-nixes-corporate-personhood-advisory-measure-from-november-ballot

A similar measure appeared on the November 2016 ballot in California, Proposition 59. It passed with 52% of the vote.

August 17

1887 – Birth of Marcus Garvey, founder of the United Negro Improvement Association
Founded in 1914 the UNIA became the largest pan-African organization ever established. By the early 1920s it had 700 branches in 38 states with millions of members.

August 18

1920 – States ratify Nineteenth Amendment, granting women suffrage throughout America
Women finally get the vote after 75 years of struggle. “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.”

 

 

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 5 – 11

August 5

1876 – Birth of Mary Ritter Beard, historian and women’s rights movement activist
“At no time, at no place, in solemn convention assembled, through no chosen agents, had the American people officially proclaimed the United States to be a democracy. The Constitution did not contain the word or any word lending countenance to it, except possibly the mention of “We the people” in the preamble….When the Constitution was framed no respectable person called himself or herself a democrat.”

1934 – Birth of Wendell Berry, US novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer
“Though the corporations, by law, are counted as persons, they do not have personal minds, if they can be said to have minds. It is a great oddity that a corporation, which properly speaking has no self, is by definition selfish, responsible only to itself. This is an impersonal, abstract selfishness, limitlessly acquisitive, but unable to look so far ahead as to preserve its own sources and supplies. The selfishness of the fossil fuel industries by nature is self-annihilating; but so, always, has been the selfishness of the agribusiness corporations.

“…we are no longer talking about theoretical alternatives to corporate rule. We are talking with practical urgency about an obvious need. Now the two great aims of industrialism—replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy—seem close to fulfillment. At the same time the failures of industrialism have become too great and too dangerous to deny. Corporate industrialism itself has exposed the falsehood that it ever was inevitable or that it ever has given precedence to the common good. It has failed to sustain the health and stability of human society. Among its characteristic signs are destroyed communities, neighborhoods, families, small businesses, and small farms. It has failed just as conspicuously and more dangerously to conserve the wealth and health of nature. No amount of fiddling with capitalism to regulate and humanize it, no pointless rhetoric on the virtues of capitalism or socialism, no billions or trillions spent on ‘defense’ of the ‘American dream,’ can for long disguise this failure. The evidences of it are everywhere: eroded, wasted, or degraded soils; damaged or destroyed ecosystems; extinction of species; whole landscapes defaced, gouged, flooded, or blown up; pollution of the whole atmosphere and of the water cycle; ‘dead zones’ in the coastal waters; thoughtless squandering of fossil fuels and fossil waters, of mineable minerals and ores; natural health and beauty replaced by a heartless and sickening ugliness. Perhaps its greatest success is an astounding increase in the destructiveness, and therefore the profitability, of war.”
Wendell E. Berry Lecture, “IT ALL TURNS ON AFFECTION,”
http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/wendell-e-berry-lecture

August 6

1965 – Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson
The landmark federal legislation prohibits racial discrimination in voting, passed during the height of the American Civil Rights Movement, and considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the U.S. The Act resulted in the mass enfranchisement of racial minorities in the South and across the country.

2015 – “The Transformation of American Democracy to Oligarchy” published article by Akbar Ganji, dissident Iranian journalist; Intl. Press Association World Press Freedom Hero
“The United States has the world’s largest economy, is the most important contributor to scientific advancements, has the most powerful military and some of the best universities in the world, is a democratic state, and accepts more immigrants than any other nation. But, over time the democratic foundations of the United States, equality of the citizens and their human rights, have been eroding. It is impossible to make inequality a pillar of the structure of the state and deepen its roots, and yet to be proud and claim that the citizens have equal voting rights. When all types of inequalities take deep roots and expand, citizens lose their power to influence the political process.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/akbar-ganji/the-transformation-of-ame_1_b_7945040.html

August 7

1890 – Birth of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
“History has a long-range perspective. It ultimately passes stern judgment on tyrants and vindicates those who fought, suffered, were imprisoned, and died for human freedom, against political oppression and economic slavery.”

Flynn was a labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a visible proponent of women’s rights, birth control, and women’s suffrage

2013 – Second national Democracy Convention, sponsored by Liberty Tree Foundation, Madison, WI
A four day gathering, the Democracy Convention houses at least nine conferences under one roof. As the great progressive reformer Fighting Bob La Follette said, “democracy is a life,” and “involves constant struggle” in all sectors of society. The Democracy Convention recognizes the importance of each of these separate democracy struggles, as well as the need to unite them all in a common, deeply rooted, broad based, movement for democracy. Nine conferences–One movement: Earth Democracy, Education Democracy, Economic Democracy, Constitutional Reform, Race & Democracy, Media Democracy, Local Democracy, Representative Democracy, and Democratizing Defense.
https://democracyconvention.org/

August 8

1996 – International Dairy Foods Assn. v. Amestoy court decision
US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit overturns Vermont law requiring the labeling of all products containing bovine growth hormone. The right not to speak inheres in political and commercial speech alike and extends to statements of fact as well as statements of opinion.” http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1210635.html

August 9

1949 – Death of Edward Thorndike, U.S. psychologist
“An adult who ceases after youth to unlearn and relearn his facts and to reconsider his opinions is a menace to a democratic community.”

2000 – Five Women arrested at Pentagon for “Act of Nonviolent Love” in Nagasaki protest at Pentagon
August 9 is the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. Nonviolent civil disobedience is a tactic to raise awareness of issues and problems and, if strategically done by sufficient numbers at the right time and place, can prevent or end unjust, violent or undemocratic actions by governments or corporations.

August 10

1943 – Birth of Richard Grossman, co-founder of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD)
“Sovereignty is in our hands now…when the people running a corporation assume rights and powers which the sovereign had not bestowed or when they assault the sovereign people, this entity becomes an affront to our body politic. And like a cancer ravaging a human body, such a rebellious corporation must be cut out of our body politic. “

August 11

1919 – Founding of the Green Bay Packers professional football team (100th Anniversary)
The Green Bay Packers were founded by Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun. The Packers are now the only publicly owned company with a board of directors in American professional sports. The private National Football League (NFL), in fact, will not allow community ownership of any other football team.

2011 – Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
Famously declared on this date at the Iowa State Fair, “Corporations are people, my friend.”

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 29 – August 4

July 29

1805 – Birth of Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America
“Without power and independence, a town may contain good subjects, but it can contain no citizens.”

1883 – Birth of Benito Mussolini, Italian Dictator
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
“The definition of fascism is The marriage of corporation and state ”

July 30

2015 – “Jimmy Carter: The U.S. is an ‘Oligarchy with Unlimited Political Bribery” published article
“Now [the United States is] just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over.”
https://theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/

2016 – Original publication of “Million-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race” article in The New York Times
“In a stark departure from previous elections, most of the money this cycle is flowing not into the campaigns, but into outside groups like “super PACs” and other political organizations that are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from wealthy individuals, labor unions and corporations.”
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/top-presidential-donors-campaign-money.html?_r=0

July 31

1965 – Birth of J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter fantasy series
Some claim Rowling has one of the greatest imaginations. But her fantasies pale in comparison to those of Supreme Court justices who have claimed legal documents (corporations) possess unalienable constitutional rights equal to human beings. Now that’s an imagination!

2009 – Committee for Economic Development submits brief to U.S. Supreme Court in opposition to Citizens United v. FEC
The Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to our nation’s most critical issues.

From their brief to the Supreme Court:
“In this amicus curiae brief, CED seeks to counteract the assumption that corporations want more leeway to spend money on political campaigns. To the contrary, the business leaders who serve as CED’s trustees believe that a decision striking down the ban on corporate electioneering expenditures would severely harm corporate interests…

“Businesses would not welcome such a regime because it would expose corporations to corrupt shakedowns for political money. Corporations would face intense pressure to provide indirect financial support for candidates to attract the attention of, and avoid retribution from, elected officials. Corporate electioneering would harm public confidence in business, fueling the perception that large corporations secure unfair advantages by purchasing political influence. Yet each corporation would be helpless to get out of the political game, fearful of losing out in the economic marketplace to competitors that were willing to play ball.” http://www.fec.gov/law/litigation/citizens_united_sc_08_ced_supp_brief_amici.pdf

August 1

1999 – Publication of “Treatise on Constitutional Law: Substance and Procedure” by Ronald D. Rotunda and John E. Nowak
The U.S. Supreme Court is “the most powerful court the world has ever known.” However, the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions of WTO, NAFTA, TPP, TTIP and TISA can supersede decidions of the highest national courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and there is no appeal.

August 2

1924 – Birth of James Baldwin, Birth of James Baldwin, U.S. novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic
“Words like
 ‘freedom,’ ‘justice,’ and ‘democracy”’ are not common concepts;
 on the contrary, they are rare.
 People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous,
 and above all, individual effort 
to arrive at the respect for other people 
that these words imply.”

2010 – Are the Corporate Money Floodgates About to Open? by Suzy Khimm
After waiting on the sidelines, Best Buy, Target, and other companies are diving into the campaign finance free-for-all.

“In the months immediately following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, corporations seemed to be sitting on the sidelines instead of delving directly into the campaign finance free-for-all that the decision opened up. Instead, it was labor unions that leapt to take advantage of the lifted restrictions, outspending corporations on independent campaign ads by nearly threefold in the first six months of 2010. But now there’s mounting evidence that some of the nation’s most visible and powerful corporations have entered the fray…”

Are the Corporate Money Floodgates About to Open?

August 3

2009 – A Call to Democratize Money article published this month by Greg Coleridge
“Centuries before corporate ‘personhood’ rights, even [before] the US Constitution, a privileged few and their business corporations were usurping the power of sovereignty, of decision-making authority in one pivotal arena – with profoundly undemocratic, unjust, and violent consequences. That arena was, and is, the creation of money.

“The privatization or corporatization of money is not simply one more single-issue assault on the right of citizens to self-rule. Its profound impacts on economic and ecological systems are as consequential as those wrought by corporate constitutional rights and demand its separate understanding, analysis, and prescription.” Coleridge is a Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) principal.
http://poclad.org/BWA/2009/BWA_2009_AUG.html

2016 – Death of former Republican Congressman Steven LaTourette from Ohio
“Politics is being directed by a bunch of rich people who you can count on two hands who have an inordinate impact of the direction of government.”

August 4

1967 – Federation of Southern Cooperatives Chartered
Five major civil rights organizations developed economic cooperatives throughout the South — mostly farming and supply and marketing co-ops, but also credit unions, housing co-ops and worker co-ops. The Federation still operates today – an example of economic democracy.

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 22 – 28

July 22

2015 – Donald Trump interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper
TRUMP: “The politicians are going to destroy this country. They’re weak and they’re ineffective and they’re controlled by the lobbyists and special interests…They will do whatever I want … I’ve had lobbyists and I’ve had some very good ones. They could do anything. They could take a politician and have them jump off this ledge. ”
COOPER: “Can you actually change that culture of corruption?”
TRUMP: “Well, you can in the sense that the top person can’t be bought [indicating himself] … but these lobbyists totally control these politicians … I see Bush [Jeb] with the lobbyists … they’re totally telling him what to do, like a little puppet. And the same with Hillary and everybody else. Now, when I’m in business, I’m part of that game … these guys are desperate for money. I don’t need it.”
http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/trump-pulled-strings-political-puppets-5792

July 23

1879 – Birth of Simeon Strunsky
“If you want to understand democracy, spend less time in the library with Plato and more time in the buses with people.”

1943 – Birth of Randall Caroline Forsberg, Nuclear Weapons Freeze movement founder
Forsberg was a leading researcher and advocate for nuclear disarmament, military spending reduction and democracy. She was one of the founders of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign in 1981. The FREEZE was a mass movement calling for a mutual freeze on the testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons and missiles between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Local and state chapters educated, lobbied and organized. Hundreds of resolutions by villages, towns, cities and states were passed. The FREEZE organized massive public demonstrations. The campaign was initiated by Forsberg’s famous written call to “freeze and reverse the nuclear arms race.”

July 24

1998 – “Rethinking the Corporation” talk by Virginia Rasmussen, Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) principal
Rasmussen’s talk, during Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom conference, July 24-31, Baltimore, MD, included the following:

“I think we would agree to describe the reality that flows from this corporate power as anti-democratic, anti-community, anti-worker, anti-person and anti-planet…Given our relative consensus on this situation, what should we be asking and doing about the corporation?…To effectively begin the work of countering what amounts to global corporate tyranny, we’ll need to do two kinds of defining: what we wish to see in the future, and what we are seeing in the present…We’ll never move these corporate behemoths out of our way with the poking sticks and thin willow reeds available to us through regulatory action…Nor will we gain their everlasting mercy with pleas for social responsibility or requests to sign a corporate ‘code of conduct,’ or the pitiful pleading for side agreements on free-trade pacts…Our colonized minds make it difficult to cut through our experience and envision real democracy. We’ve got a ‘cop in our head,’ and the cop comes from corporate headquarters…What must be done?

“When those of us who believe in an empowered citizenship see corporations spewing excrement and oppression with ever greater reach, we need to ask, ‘By what authority can corporations do that? They have no authority to do that. We never gave them authority.’ And we must work strategically to challenge their claims to authority…”

July 25

1876 – Birth of Congressman Lois T. McFadden (R-PA), Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee
“We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are U.S. government institutions. They are private credit monopolies; domestic swindlers, rich and predatory money lenders which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers…The truth is the Federal Reserve Board has usurped the Government of the United States by the arrogant credit monopoly which operates the Federal Reserve Board.”

2001 — “Statement in support of Rainforest Action Network” by Mike Ferner
“We come to Chicago to declare that we support free speech rights for real people and their organizations, not for corporate persons and their organizations like the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise—and to warn that we can not have both. For when corporations wield the Bill of Rights, their sheer size and economic power assures they will crowd out the legitimate voices of people until only corporate images and corporate values define what life is all about and the “company line” occupies every waking moment of our lives.” –Ferner made his statement at a protest at the Boise-Cascade Corp.’s office.
http://poclad.org/BWA/2001/BWA_2001_JUL.html

July 26

1788 – New York becomes a state
From New York State Business Corporation Law, Section 101:
The attorney-general may bring an action for the dissolution of a corporation upon one or more of the following grounds: (1) That the corporation procured its formation through fraudulent misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact. (2) That the corporation has exceeded the authority conferred upon it by law, or has violated any provision of law whereby it has forfeited its charter, or carried on, conducted or transacted its business in a persistently fraudulent or illegal manner, or by the abuse of its powers contrary to the public policy of the state has become liable to be dissolved. (b) An action under this section is triable by jury as a matter of right. http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/BSC/11/1101#sthash.s8K47JBS.dpuf

1856 – Birth of George Bernard Shaw, playwright and critic
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

1990 – Americans with Disabilities Act goes into effect
The Act made discrimination based on disability illegal. Unlike the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the law also mandated employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities and established accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

July 27

1869 – Death of William Sylvis, labor organizer and President of the National Labor Union
An ironworker from Pennsylvania, Sylvis organized 21 local iron moulder union locals to form the Iron Moulders’ International Union. Maybe his most important contribution in labor history was his insistence in telling workers not to be divided by racial, political or religious differences. Along with other trade reformers, he formed the National Labor Union and was elected its President.
http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Sylvis__William_H.html

July 28

2003 – Publication of John A. Bingham and the Story of American Liberty: The Lost Cause Meets the ‘Lost Cause’” by Michael Kent Curtis, in The Akron Law Review
John Bingham was a Republican Congressman from Ohio and principal framer of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted due process and equal protection under the law to freed slaves.

“What did he [Bingham] think about the conversion of the Fourteenth Amendment from a protection of all constitutional rights for all citizens to a bulwark of corporate power against the protests of farmers and workers? Here we have a bit more information. Bingham later wrote that the amendment had been designed to protect natural persons, not corporations.

“That seems quite reasonable, particularly since the first sentence of Section one refers to persons ‘born or naturalized in the United States.’”
https://www.uakron.edu/dotAsset/727381.pdf

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 15 – 21

July 15

2003 – Article: “Catholic Social Thought and the Amorality of Large Corporations: Time to Abolish Corporate Personhood” by William Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law
“Large corporations rule the world. Because of their growing size and power they have overwhelmed the ability of civil governments to regulate them. In a world where 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day, current economic arrangements are not just. Catholic social thought has been critical of corporations since the 1930s and stresses the need for government regulation for the common good, subsidiarity and a preferential option for the poor. Law has bestowed on corporations the legal status of a person and has given corporations many constitutional rights and protections. Ethics, morality and Catholic social thought suggest it is time to abolish corporate personhood as a step towards returning people to the center of economic activity.”

This article is based on a presentation made at the Fifth International Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Management Education, co-sponsored by the University de Deusto, July 15-18, 2003

2014 — Montana Senator (and farmer) Jon Tester: “Corporations are not people”
Montana farmer and US Senator Jon Tester, took to the floor of the Senate to explain why he has introduced a Constitutional amendment to preserve rights of human beings, and end the fabrication of new “corporate rights.”
Montana Senator (and farmer) Jon Tester: Corporations Are Not People
Text of Tester’s amendment is here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/148533402/Tester-s-Constitutional-Amendment

July 16

1938 – Death of Samuel Insull, President of the National Electric Light Association, formed in the 1880s, on utilities
Commenting on the utility business: “the best service at the lowest possible price can only be obtained by exclusive control of a given territory being placed in the hands of one undertaking.” The “natural monopoly” of electric power demanded a publicly regulated network of privately owned monoliths.

1974 – Birth of Ben Manski, Founder of Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution
Liberty Tree “reinforce(s) pro-democracy campaigns across the United States” and helped “solidify networks of people whose aim is to have a more participatory system of government.” He also co-founded 180/Movement for Democracy and Education which was active from 1998 to 2004.. Its goal was “fighting against the corporatization of education, and subsequently aiming toward ‘campus democracy’ through teach-ins and other activities on college campuses.”

1992 – Publication of The Transformation of American Law by Morton Horwitz
“[T]he basic problem of legal thinkers after the Civil War was how to articulate a conception of property that could accommodate the tremendous expansion in the variety of forms of ownership spawned by a dynamic industrial society…The efforts by legal thinkers to legitimate the business corporation during the 1890’s were buttressed by a stunning reversal in American economic thought – a movement to defend and justify as inevitable the emergence of large-scale corporate concentration.”

July 17

1790 – Death of Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations – who condemned corporations
“Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.” (Adam Smith, 1776,Wealth of Nations, book V, ch.I, part II).

July 18

1854 – Birth of Tom Johnson, Mayor of Cleveland, 1901-1909
“I believe in the municipal ownership of all public service monopolies…for if you do not own them they will, in time, own you. They will rule your politics, corrupt your institutions, and finally destroy your liberties.”

July 19

1848 – Women’s Rights Convention begins in Seneca Falls, NY
The convention attracted several hundred attendees – both women and men. The key organizers were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Coffin Mott, and Martha Coffin Wright. Conventioneers produced the Declaration of Sentiments, also known as the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments. Its principal drafter, Stanton, based it on the form of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. It listed grievances and demands. Sixty-eight women and 32 men signed the document. The event is credited with launching the movement for attaining the political, social, civil and religious rights of women,

July 20

1914 – Founding of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Founded by Marcus Garvey, the UNIA held its first meeting on this date. It became the largest pan African organization ever established by the early 1920s with 700 branches in 38 states along with millions of members.

2015 – “The US Presidency for Sale: The Role of Big Money in the Presidential Campaign” article published by Patrick Martin
The 2016 US presidential election will be the most expensive in history, costing an estimated $10 billion, when all spending by candidates, the Democratic and Republican parties, super PACs and other corporate lobbies and trade unions is tabulated.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-us-presidency-for-sale-the-role-of-big-money-in-the-presidential-campaign/543416

July 21

2014 – “What Does It Actually Mean to Say a Corporation Is a ‘Person’?” article posted by Samuel C. Berger
“The simplest explanation of corporate personhood is that corporations are fictitious entities that can perform some of the same activities as individual people. “
http://www.newjerseybusinesslawyersblog.com/2014/07/what-does-it-actually-mean-to-say-a-corporation-is-a-person.html

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 8 – 14

July 8

1926 – Birth of John Dingell, 29-term Democratic congressman from Michigan
In 2014, just before he retired, Dingell said: “Allowing people and corporate interest groups and others to spend an unlimited amount of unidentified money has enabled certain individuals to swing any and all elections, whether they are congressional, federal, local, state … Unfortunately and rarely are these people having goals which are in line with those of the general public. History well shows that there is a very selfish game that’s going on and that our government has largely been put up for sale.”

2011 – Leading Libertarian questions money in politics and corporate constitutional rights
Michael D. Ostrolenk, a leading national Libertarian; cofounder and National Director of the Liberty Coalition and CEO of the Transpartisan Center commented on politico.com: “[E]ach time either of the two parties had the reigns (SIC) of power including the presidency and congress, what did they do with that power? They helped to entrench their own special interests and set themselves up for larger and larger donations from corporations and unions.” http://www.politico.com/arena/archive/hill-democrats-entitlement-mentality.html#13B4FC26-E1FD-4451-BA8B-554F57493EC6

More recently, he has stated, “As a conservative, I support property rights and freer markets but have to question the notion that corporations deserve the same constitutional protections as ‘we the people.’” http://www.bkconnection.com/static/Corporations_Not_People_2nd_ed_EXCERPT.pdf

July 9

1868 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes — black males are now citizens
“…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It was this second use of the word “person” that corporate lawyers argued should be applied to corporations.

In first 50 years after adoption, 0.5% of cases related to it brought to the Supreme Court were on behalf of African Americans, 50% were for corporations. Between 1890 and 1910, 19 cases dealt with the rights of African Americans and 288 dealt with corporations.

July 10

1832 – Andrew Jackson vetoes legislation to renew the charter of the private Second Bank of the United States
“Is there no danger to our liberty and independence in a bank that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country?… Should its influence become concentrated, as it may under the operation of such an act as this, in the hands of a self-elected directory whose interests are identified with those of the foreign stockholders, will there not be cause to tremble for the purity of our elections in peace and for the independence of our country in war? Their power would be great whenever they might choose to exert it; but if this monopoly were regularly renewed every fifteen or twenty years on terms proposed by themselves, they might seldom in peace put forth their strength to influence elections or control the affairs of the nation. But if any private citizen or public functionary should interpose to curtail its powers or prevent a renewal of its privileges, it cannot be doubted that he would be made to feel its influence.”

July 11

1899 – Birth of Elwyn Brooks White
“Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people are right more than half of the time.”

2014 – American Federation of Teachers pass resolution declaring corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech
The resolution was passed at their national convention
https://www.aft.org/resolution/support-constitutional-amendment-undo-supreme-courts-citizens-united-and

July 12

1804 – Death of Alexander Hamilton, first US Secretary of the Treasury
Hamilton called people the “mob at the gate” and decried “Our real disease, which is Democracy.”

He was a major proponent of First Bank of the United States – a privately owned national bank. The name was to deceive people into thinking that money creation was done by the government instead of corporate banks. The nation’s money was created out of thin air and loaned to the government – at interest – and to private individuals. Eighty percent of the stock was privately held. Hamilton called the public debt “a public blessing” because of his belief that it would tie the wealthy (who would own the government bonds) of the country to the government, and they would, in turn, provide political support for higher taxes, to make sure that there was enough money in the treasury to pay off their principal and interest.

1817 – Birth of Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
[Note: Focusing on fundamental constitutional and other structural and cultural changes are those that strike at the root.]

1873 – The Farmers’ Anti-Monopoly Convention, Des Moines
The Convention resolved that: “all corporations are subject to legislative control; [such control] should be at all times so used as to prevent moneyed corporations from becoming engines of oppression.”

July 13

1956 – J.R.R. Tolkien is quoted on the topic of modern governments
“The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or what is most important of all, the banker of the backer. Enthroned above all, in a manner without parallel in all past, is the veiled prophet of finance, swaying all men living by a sort of magic, and delivering oracles in a language not understood of the people.” – Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, quoted in Contour magazine.

July 14

1798 – The Sedition Act passes
Taking advantage of public fears of attack during a period of naval hostilities with France, Congress passed and President Adams signed a bill permitting government prosecution of individuals who expressed freedom of speech when voicing or printing what the government deemed malicious against the president or the U.S. government. It was a direct violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment right of free speech. There were 14 citizens, mainly journalists, who were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the Act.

1833 – Death of William M. Gouge, Advisor to President Andrew Jackson, Editor fot the Philadelphia Gazette, Publisher of the “History of the American Banking System” and a “Fiscal History of Texas”
“The large extent of bank influence is not easily seen. We seldom see an identified bank or a money corporation candidate running for office; but when questions arise which affect them, the banks have agents at work, whose operations are the more effective because they are unseen.”

1965 – Death of Adlai Stevenson II, U.S. politician, diplomat, and Presidential candidate
“The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal…is the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.”

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 1 – 7

July 1

1983 – Death of Buckminster Fuller, US Architect, Systems Theorist, Author, Designer, Inventor and Futurist
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

1987 – Portland OR ordinance banning out-of-district waste from corporate hauler was upheld
Evergreen Waste Systems v. Metropolitan Service District, 820 F.2d 1482 (9th Cir. 1987). “The court holds that defendant’s ordinance barring out-of-district waste from the district’s landfill does not violate the Commerce Clause. The ordinance applies to only one of the many landfills operated in Oregon and bars waste from most Oregon counties in addition to out-of-state waste. Thus, i tis not a “per se violation” of the Commerce Clause. Since out-of-state waste is treated no differently from most in-state waste, the ordinance regulates evenhandedly. It also serves a legitimate public purpose in that it extends the useful life of the landfill. Finally, the ordinance has only an incidental effect on interstate commerce and is not unduly burdensome in relation to the putative local benefits. The court also holds that the lower court did not clearly err in finding that the landfill was not dedicated to public use.” http://elr.info/sites/default/files/litigation/17.20901.htm

2013 – “Local Lawmaking: A Call for a Community Rights Movement” is published article by Thomas Linzy, Executive Director, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)
“It is that right to local self-government – a right that we’re told that we already have, but which people discover is not there when they need it most – that serves as the guide-star of this slowly gathering movement.
“To stop them, corporate and governmental officials will be forced to slay their own sacred cow – the ‘rule of law’ – which they have used since time immemorial as their own version of ‘God said so’” Thus, governmental and corporate officials will be forced to bring the power of the system’s own courts, legislatures, and regulators crashing down on them, in the face of clear and overwhelming evidence that our food and water systems, our energy systems, and our global climate are themselves crashing as a result of policies created by those very same institutions…

“These communities’ new rule of law – made in the name of environmental and economic sanity – believes that people and nature have rights, not corporations; that new civil, political, and environmental rights must be recognized; and that we must stop (immediately) those corporate acts which harm us.”
http://www.occupy.com/article/local-lawmaking-call-community-rights-movement#sthash.MddaXmwy.dpufhttp://www.occupy.com/article/local-lawmaking-call-community-rights-movement

July 2

1890 – Sherman Antitrust Act passes
The Act was intended to prevent corporate monopolies and conspiracies to suppress competition and control the market. It was used, however, with most devastating effect against labor unions (which were charged as “conspiracies”) beginning in the 1910’s. Corporate attorneys argued that if it was illegal for corporate persons to form monopolies for their own benefit, it should also be illegal for human beings to do the same by forming unions. The courts agreed in most instances.

1964 – Passage of Civil Rights Act
The act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended voting discrimination and literacy testing as a qualification for voting, established the Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and ended discrimination in schools, at the workplace and other public facilities.

1997 – Radical Democracy (paperback is published) by Douglas Lummis
“Democracy was once a word of the people, a critical word, a revolutionary word. It has been stolen by those who would rule over the people, to add legitimacy to their rule…The basic idea of democracy is simple . . .
“Democracy is a word that joins demos—the people—with kratia—power . . . It describes an ideal, not a method for achieving it. It is not a kind of government, but an end of government; not a historically existing institution, but a historical project . . . if people take it up as such and struggle for it.”

July 3

1937 – Birth of Tom Stoppard, Dramatist – on democracy
“It’s not the voting that’s democracy, it’s the counting.”

2014 – “Hobby Lobby Fallout: Catholic Soy Milk Mogul Won’t Cover Drugs That ‘Prevent Procreation’” is published
“The day after the Justices decided evangelical Hobby Lobby billionaire David Green doesn’t have to cover certain contraceptives for his employees, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment against Eden Foods and sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for further consideration.”
http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/07/03/hobby-lobby-fallout-catholic-soy-milk-mogul-wont-cover-drugs-that-prevent-procreation/#79d954d33a74

July 4

1776 – U.S. Declaration of Independence is signed
“Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
[To celebrate the 4th https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQP563gKwIU%5D

1892 – The Populist Party adopts the “Omaha Platform,” its founding document
“We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them…

“We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and flexible, issued by the general government only, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private…without the use of banking corporations…

“Transportation being a means of exchange and a public necessity, the government should own and operate the railroads in the interest of the people. The telegraph, telephone, like the post-office system, being a necessity for the transmission of news, should be owned and operated by the government in the interest of the people…

“The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people, and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien ownership of land should be prohibited. All land now held by railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned by aliens should be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only…
Full Platform at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5361/

July 5

1935 – National Labor Relations Act goes into effect
The NLRA protected workers’ rights to organize unions and bargain collectively in the U.S. without employer interference with a union drive. Workers gained the right to self-organize.

July 6

1798 – The Alien Act is enacted
The law authorized the President of the United States to apprehend and deport resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the U.S. The act had no expiration date and remained in force until the early 21st century.

1835 – Death of John Marshall, 4th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
“A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it, either expressly or as incidental to its very existence” (1819)

July 7

1307 – Death of King Edward I, first to utilize the “quo warranto” written order
Quo warranto is a Medieval Latin term meaning “by what warrant?” It’s a written order by a governing power (e.g. Kings in the past, legislatures early in U.S. history, and courts in the present) requiring the person to whom it is directed to show what authority they have for exercising a claimed right or power. It originated under King Edward I of England to recover previously lost lands, rights and franchises.

This power was transferred to states following the American Revolution. State legislatures utilized “quo warranto” powers to challenge previously chartered or franchised corporations that acted beyond their original privileges granted by the state. The result was frequent revocation of corporate charters and dissolution of the corporations — in the name of affirming sovereignty/self-governance.

All 50 states still retain elements of quo warranto. The authority concerning the creation and dissolution of corporations was meant to be a legislative power, not judicial.

1896 – Remarks of William Jennings Bryan before the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (Bryan was the Democratic Party Candidate for President)
“We say in our platform that we believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government…Those who are opposed to the proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I stand with Jefferson…and tell them, as he did, that the issue of money is a function of the government and that the banks should go out of the governing business…”
(Bryan was the Democratic Party Candidate for President.)

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: June 24 – 30

June 24

1908 – Death of Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States — on corporate power
From his 1888 State of the Union Address: “The gulf between employers and the employed is constantly widening, and classes are rapidly forming, one comprising the very rich and powerful, while in another are found the toiling poor. As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”

1982 – Lewis v. United States [680 F. 2d 1239 9th Circuit] – court rules that the Federal Reserve is private
“Federal Reserve banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of a Federal Tort Claims Act, but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations in light of fact that direct supervision and control of each bank is exercised by board of directors. Federal Reserve banks…are locally controlled by their member banks; banks are listed neither as ‘wholly owned’ government corporations nor as “mixed ownership” corporations; federal reserve banks receive no appropriated funds from Congress and the banks are empowered to sue and be sued in their own names…”

June 25

1975 – Release date of the film “Roller Ball”
“In the film, the world of 2018 (referred to in the tagline as “the not too distant future”) is a global corporate state, containing entities such as the Energy Corporation, a global energy monopoly based in Houston which deals with nominally-peer corporations controlling access to all transport, luxury, housing, communication, and food on a global basis. According to the tagline, in this world, ‘wars will no longer exist. But there will be… Rollerball.’

“The film’s title is the name of a violent, globally popular sport around which the events of the film take place. It is similar to Roller Derby in that two teams clad in body armor skate on roller skates (some instead ride on motorcycles) around a banked, circular track. There, however, the similarity ends…

“The various global corporations own Rollerball teams, named after the cities in which they are based. Energy Corporation sponsors the Houston team. The game is a substitute for all current team sports and for warfare. While its ostensible purpose is entertainment, Mr. Bartholomew, a high-level executive of the Energy Corporation, describes it as a sport designed to show the futility of individual effort.”

2013 – Supreme Court strikes down portion of Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, [570 U.S. (2013)]
This landmark 5-4 ruling determined that a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. The five Justices concluded that Section 4(b), which identifies locations in the South with a pattern of voting discrimination, was unconstitutional since the formula it used was based on 4-decade old data and not reflective of current realities. The four Justices who voted to retain the Act claimed that voter suppression remains a problem throughout the South.

June 26

2003 – Nike v. Kasky – Supreme Court fails to rule on corporate right to lie
The Supreme Court chose not to rule on a case brought by Nike Corporation concerning their right to political free speech under the 1st Amendment. A California court ruled that state laws mandating truth in advertising (commercial speech) had been violated. The question was over whether ReclaimDemocracy.org, called the dismissal “a victory for democracy and the truth.” Jeff Milchen, the organization’s director said it was “a relief to hear that the court was not prepared to consider even more extreme judicial activism on behalf of corporate America and against U.S. citizens by creating a corporate right to lie.”

The case returned to California where it was settled out of court before trial. The question of whether the 1st Amendment gives a corporation the right to speak untruths remains undetermined.

2015 – Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision – same sex marriage is legal
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a fundamental right to marry in all 50 states is guaranteed under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution for same sex couples.

As with all decisions that for the first time guarantees rights to a new group of persons, the decision did not happen in a vacuum, but was the result of several decades of organizing for LGBT rights. A key moment that many believed sparked this social movement was the 1969 Stonewall protest in New York City.

June 27

1816 – “An Act to Amend The Charter And Enlarge And Improve The Corporation of Dartmouth College” passed by New Hampshire legislature
The legislation converted private Dartmouth College into Dartmouth University, and ordered the new school to set up public colleges around the state. “Whereas knowledge and learning generally diffused through a Community are essential to the preservation of free Government, and extending the opportunities and advantages of education is highly conducive to promote this end…”

The State Supreme Court ruled that the legislature had the authority to change the charter of the college, “because it is a matter of too great moment, too intimately connected with the public welfare and prosperity, to be thus entrusted in the hands of a few. The education of the rising generation is a matter of the highest public concerns, and is worthy of the best attention of every legislature.”

College leaders appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed the decision in the landmark decision Dartmouth College v Woodward in 1819 on the grounds that the college corporate charter was actually not a democratic instrument but a “contract” and that the actions of the New Hampshire legislature and State Supreme Court violated the “Contracts Clause” of the U.S. Constitution.

1836 – Speech of John C. Calhoun, former U.S. Vice-President
“A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various powerful interests, combined in one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in banks.”

2018 — Supreme Court Rules 5-4 In Janus Union Fees Case
The Janus v. AFSCME decision means the entire U.S. public sector will now be “right to work,” and the political ramifications will be felt for years to come.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/supreme-court-issues-devastating-ruling-against-labor-unions_us_5af9ec8fe4b09a94524b2ae9?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004

June 28

1836 – Death of James Madison, 4th President of the United States – on corporations
“There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.”

1934 – The National Housing Act is enacted
A federal housing authority was created during the Great Depression to provide loans and subsidies for homeowners. However, mortgage-underwriting standards discriminate against persons of color and their communities in a process labeled “red lining.”

1978 – Regents of the University of California v. Bakke [438 U.S. 265, 388-89] Supreme Court decision upholding affirmative action but forbidding quotas
The US Supreme Court landmark decision upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy. The establishment of specific quotas, however, was not permissible.
Justice Thurgood Marshall stated on the decision: “[T]he denial of human rights was etched into the American Colonies’ first attempts at establishing self-government. . . . The self-evident truths and the unalienable rights were intended to apply only to white men.”

June 29

2002 – Publications this month of article “The Struggle for Democracy: Activists Take the Offense” by Virginia Rasmussen
“We’re fed up with behaving like subordinates content to influence the decisions of corporate boards and the corporate class. Having influence is valuable, but influencing is not deciding. We’re weary of waging long, hard battles simply for the ‘right to know.’ Knowing is critical, but knowing is not deciding. We’re tired of exercising our right to dissent as the be-all and end-all. Dissent is vital, but dissenting is not deciding. Influencing, knowing, dissenting, participating — all are important to a democratic life, but not one of them carries with it the authority to decide, the power to be in charge.

…”We’re not taking the subordinate role of asking the Enron Corporation to behave a little better. We’re not content with putting a corporate-designed and -controlled regulatory agency on Enron’s trail. Regulatory law protects corporations from pesky people. It enables and protects the corporate agenda as it was intended to do…If we seek democratic outcomes, we must frame activism in the people’s sovereign authority to rule.” http://poclad.org/BWA/2002/BWA_2002_JUN.html

2013 – Publication this month of “Public Law to Criminalize Hydrofracking Makes Headway in New York State” by Virginia Rasmussen
“This action is being introduced in towns that passed a protective law zoning out the industrial activity of hydraulic fracturing, an authority granted local governments under NYS Home Rule law. But bans on hydraulic fracturing are no guarantee of true and lasting prohibitions, subject as they are to the vast discretionary authority of regulatory officials appointed by the governor or the executive office.
The move to build a statewide constituency on behalf of criminalization aims not only to make this technology a violation of law with commensurate penalties but to shift people’s relationship to corporations from one of subordination to one of defining and governing the corporate institutions we create. The law would criminalize fracking, frackers and all activities that support and surround the technology: waste disposal, water withdrawal, compressor operations, gas storage, pipeline installation, and more.”
http://poclad.org/BWA/2013/BWA_2013_June.html

June 30

2008 – Publication of Gaveling Down the Rabble: How “Free Trade” Is Stealing Our Democracy by Jane Anne Morris, corporate anthropologist and former POCLAD principal
“The several themes in this book all connect around the subversion of unrepresentative government democracy by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court has usurped from Congress the role of making public policy, with judicial decisions based on the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. These rulings have built a body of law favoring large corporate interests over the rights of states, municipalities, labor, minorities, and the environment.”

As of 2008 according to Morris, 219 state laws had been overturned by Supreme Court just on commerce clause grounds. A complete list of state laws held to be unconstitutional is at http://law.justia.com/constitution/us/047-state-laws-held-unconstitutional.html
Info on the book is at https://rowman.com/isbn/9781891843396

2014 – Burwell vs Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. [134 S.Ct. 2751, WL 2921709] Supreme Court decision: being persons, corporations can hold “religious beliefs”
The Court concluding that a pile of legal documents constituting a corporation possess “religious beliefs,” thus expanding corporate “personhood” one more notch. The court ruled that religious beliefs could be held not by the individuals who own the corporation but the corporation itself. The legal yoga of this decision with its impressive constitutional twists, stretches and contortions allowed Hobby Lobby’s human owners to avoid covering certain contraceptives for their female employees under the Affordable Care Act which violated the “religious beliefs” of the pile of legal papers.

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: June 17 – 23

June 17

1239 – Birth of King Edward I, first to utilize “quo warranto” written order
Quo warranto is a Medieval Latin meaning “by what warrant?” It’s a written order by a governing power (e.g. Kings in the past, legislatures early in U.S. history, and courts in the present) requiring the person to whom it is directed to show what authority they have for exercising a claimed right or power. It originated under King Edward I of England to recover previously lost lands, rights and franchises.

This power was transferred to states following the American Revolution. State legislatures utilized quo warranto powers to challenge previously chartered or franchised corporations that acted beyond their original privileges granted by the state. The result was frequent revocation of corporate charters and dissolution of corporations — in the name of affirming citizen sovereignty or self-governance.

All 50 states still retain elements of quo warranto. The authority concerning the creation and dissolution of corporations remains in existence.

1971 – Nixon’s War on Drugs (Presidential Initiative)
President Richard Nixon declares a “war on drugs” which disproportionately and violently targets economically impoverished communities of color for the next 4 decades. It led to mass incarceration for drug-related offenses. White populations were relatively unaffected.

June 18

1849 – Birth of David K. Watson, Ohio Republican Attorney General
Watson sought to revoke the charter of the Standard Oil Company in 1892 for forming a trust. In his legal brief to the Ohio Supreme Court, he stated, “Where a corporation, either directly or indirectly, submits to the domination of an agency unknown to the statute, or identifies itself with and unites in carrying out an agreement whose performance is injurious to the public, it thereby offends against the law of its creation and forfeits all right to its franchises, and judgment of ouster should be entered against it . . .” State v. Standard Oil Co., 30 N.E. 279 (Ohio 1892)

June 19

1865 – Last slaves in the US emancipated – “Juneteenth” 
“As the Civil War came to a close in 1865, a number of people remained enslaved, especially in remote areas…

“This was especially the case in Texas, where thousands of slaves were not made aware of freedom until June 19, 1865, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued an order officially freeing them. Their celebration would serve as the basis of June 19 — or Juneteenth — a holiday celebrating emancipation in the US.

“Ironically, while Juneteenth has become the most prominent Emancipation Day holiday in the US, it commemorates a smaller moment that remains relatively obscure. It doesn’t mark the signing of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, which technically freed slaves in the rebelling Confederate states, nor does it commemorate the December 1865 ratification of the 13th Amendment, which enshrined the end of slavery into the Constitution. Instead, it marks the moment when emancipation finally reached those in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy.

“In many ways, Juneteenth represents how freedom and justice in the US has always been delayed for black people…

“Those barriers may remain until America truly begins to grapple with its history.”
https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/6/19/17476482/juneteenth-holiday-emancipation-african-american-celebration-history

1902 – Death of Lord Acton, English historian, politician and writer
“The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.”

2018 – Published article, “Exxon says climate lawsuits violate its right to free speech. Seriously.”
“After the California cities filed suit, Exxon brought a petition before the Texas 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals claiming the lawsuits were part of a conspiracy intended to waylay the company’s right to free speech and force it to change its position on climate change. Yes, you read that correctly. Exxon argued that the cities were trying to make the company agree to a number of truths about climate change, which, in effect, violated Exxon’s First Amendment rights to say whatever the hell it wants about climate change.

“Yeah, sounds crazy! But the Texas judge, R.H. Wallace Jr., bought the argument and handed Exxon a victory in April. That means the company can now grill California city officials about whether the climate suits, from the Bay to New York City, have been one big conspiracy to violate the company’s right to free speech.”
Exxon says climate lawsuits violate its right to free speech. Seriously.

June 20

1885 – Death of Thomas Welles Bartley, Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio (1852-1859)
Bartley wrote the majority opinion for the Ohio Court in the 1853 case of The Bank of Toledo v. The City of Toledo and John R. Bond, and concurred with the majority in three other cases that same year upholding state law providing the state and its counties the power to tax banks. The banks claimed that the tax violated the U.S. Constitution’s “Contracts Clause” since a higher tax rate was not included in the 1845 “Act to Incorporate the State Bank of Ohio, and other banking companies.”

Bartley asserted that a charter or contract between a private corporation and the state that created the franchise was actually a law, not a contract, and, therefore, the Contracts Clause was not applicable. His opinion also stated that the power to tax could not be surrendered by the legislature and that the government’s paramount obligation is to protect the public welfare despite being bound in good faith to protect contracts and private property.

The U.S. Supreme Court later that year reversed the Supreme Court of Ohio’s decisions when it ruled in the case of Piqua Branch of The State Bank of Ohio v. Jacob Knoup, Treasurer of Miami County (1853).

1949 – Justice William O. Douglas dissents in Wheeling Steel Corp. v. Glander [337 U.S. 562] Supreme Court decision – states that corporations are not persons
Regarding the ruling that corporations are given rights as persons under the 14th Amendment, Douglas stated, “I can only conclude that the Santa Clara case was wrong and should be overruled… There was no history, logic or reason given to support that view nor was the result so obvious that exposition was unnecessary…If they [the people] want corporations to be treated as humans are treated, if they want to grant corporations this large degree of emancipation from state regulation, they should say so. The Constitution provides a method by which they may do so. We should not do it for them through the guise of interpretation.”

June 21

1892 – Birth of Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian
“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

And presumably “women’s” capacity for justice as well.

1940 – Death of Smedley Butler, Marine Corp Major General – on being a “muscle-man” for Big Business”
Butler was the most decorated marine in US history at the time of his death.
“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism…I wouldn’t go to war again, as I have done, to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things that we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket…. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912…”

June 22

1772 – Somerset v Stewart [98 ER 499] – slavery is outlawed in England and Wales
A slave becomes free by stepping on English soil. Runaway slaves from the colonies attempted to flee to England to gain their freedom. Some believed that the decision increased colonial support for independence, especially from southern colonies that wanted to protect their slave “property” and expand their territory.

1949 – Birth of Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
“What we need is a system that puts an end to the boom and bust cycle. A system that recognizes we don’t grow this country from the financial sector; we grow this country from the middle class.” And… “Powerful interests will fight to hang on to every benefit and subsidy they now enjoy. Even after exploiting consumers, larding their books with excessive risk, and making bad bets that brought down the economy and forced taxpayer bailouts, the big Wall Street banks are not chastened. They have fought to delay and hamstring the implementation of financial reform, and they will continue to fight every inch of the way.”

June 23

1947 – Congress overrides Presidential veto in passing anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act
The law, formally known as the Labor Management Relations Act, significantly restricted the power and rights of labor unions, severely weakening the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (known as the Wagner Act). Called the “slave labor bill” by union leaders, Taft-Hartley outlawed a variety of strikes (i.e. wildcat, jurisdictional, and political or solidarity), secondary boycotts, mass picketing and closed shops (where employers must only hire union members). However, corporations were granted “free speech” powers in the union certification process, usurping the rights of workers to “freedom of association.”

1999 – Remarks on Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) campaign proposal, “Challenging Corporate Power, Asserting the People’s Rights” at WILPF National Congress, June 23-27, 1999, St. Louis, Missouri by Virginia Rasmussen
Rasmussen described this current national campaign (1 of 3) of WILPF, which reads:
“There have been four pervasive patriarchal institutions in the history of Western Civilization. These are the classical empires, the ecclesiastical institutions, the nation state and the modern corporation. But the WORST of these is the modern corporation….This proposal, ‘Challenging Corporate Power, Asserting the People’s Rights,’ recognizes and responds to the need for a new kind of struggle to wrest power over life, law and culture from these corporate bodies.
The proposal focuses WILPF’s efforts to do this work in three major realms:
• our preparation and that of others in our communities for a campaign against locally-felt corporate takings of OUR power,
• the carrying out of that campaign, and
• the merging of that work in a way that allows us to conduct some sort of national event or action that asserts the people’s rights OVER corporations.“
Their study group packet was used by some two-dozen WILPF branches and by numerous other organizations across the nation: https://movetoamend.org/sites/default/files/2006-CompleteStudyGuide.pdf

2013 – UU national General Assembly in Louisville, KY passes an “Action of Immediate Witness” calling to “Amend the Constitution: Corporations are not Persons and Money is not Speech”
“…BE IT RESOLVED that the 2013 General Assembly instructs the UUA to make its endorsement formal and public, supporting the efforts to amend the Constitution; and

BE IT RESOLVED that the 2013 General Assembly further requests member congregations to pass resolutions that support and endorse a constitutional amendment to establish that corporations are not persons and money is not speech; and

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the 2013 General Assembly encourages Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministries nationwide and other affiliated Unitarian Universalist organizations to join this important cause.
Working together with other groups and other faith traditions, we can make a significant impact to further the progress of a constitutional amendment to preserve the constitutional rights that our founding fathers intended solely for human persons, restore the effective voice of the people, and save our democracy. “
Full resolution at http://www.uua.org/statements/amend-constitution-corporations-are-not-persons-and-money-not-speech

 

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