REAL Democracy History Calendar: November 13 – 19

November 13

1849 — Trenton (N.J) True American and Emporium newspapers merge
The paper resulting from the merger offered this prophetic analogy on corporate power in an editorial: “the Legislature ought cautiously to refrain from increasing the irresponsible power of any existing corporations, or from chartering new ones,” or else people would become “mere hewers of wood and drawers of water to jobbers, banks and stockbrokers.”

1856 — Birth of Louis Brandeis, US Supreme Court Justice
He stated in the case Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Lee 288 U.S. 517 (1933) that corporations are “the Frankenstein monster which States have created by their corporations laws.”

2000 — “Publication of The Santa Clara Blues: Corporate Personhood versus Democracy,” by William Myers
One of the earliest modern publications in the US describing how corporations acquired never-intended constitutional rights by perverting the 14th Amendment which was intended to apply solely to freed slaves.
http://www.iiipublishing.com/afd/santaclara.html

November 14

1889 — Birth of Jawaharlal Nehru, leader of Indian independence movement and nation’s first Prime Minister
“Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse.”

November 15

1807 – New Jersey Suffrage Reform Act expands voting rights to propertyless males but rescinds voting rights of women
New Jersey becomes the first state to abolish all property restrictions for males of voting age when the state legislature passed the “Suffrage Reform Act.” The same law rescinded voting rights of women. The New Jersey Constitution, issued July 2 1776, permitted unmarried women worth at least 50 pounds who resided in the same location for at least 1 year the right to vote — until passage of this law 31 years later.

1882 — Birth of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter
The history of constitutional law is “the history of the impact of the modern corporation upon the American scene.”

1998 – Passage of National Labor Party resolution – supports the rights of workers and opposes corporate rights
Among the resolution’s “Whereas Clauses” were the following:
“• The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution does not protect us against the denial of our rights by private concentrations of power and wealth; and
• Whereas, we have wrongly come to accept that at work we are not entitled to the rights and privileges we normally enjoy as citizens; and
• Whereas, private wealth has made sure to convince the Supreme Court that although a corporation is not a living person it is afforded the protections and rights of the Bill of Rights, while living persons at work are denied these same protections; and
• Whereas, we therefore find that the corporations and Congress through current law have turned democracy exactly backward…”

Among the sections under “Therefore be it resolved” were the following:
“1. The Labor Party rejects the status quo of today’s workplace where workers are forced to abandon their Constitutional Rights in order to earn their living, and are as a consequence subject to the tyranny of the corporation.
2. The Labor Party demands that workers have the actual right to concerted activity, free from employer involvement or interference, and that any number of interested workers in a workplace must have the right to form a union and bargain with their employer.”

“A Workplace Bill of Rights’ – which reframes the rights of workers to include worker (i.e. citizen) authority over their subordinate corporate institutions.”

November 16

2006 – Death of Milton Friendman, U.S. economist
“There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”

2010 — Published article, “Pittsburgh Bans Natural Gas Drilling” by Mari Margil & Ben Price in Yes Magazine
The subtitle of the article is: “A historic new ordinance bans natural gas drilling while elevating community decision making and the rights of nature over the “rights” associated with corporate personhood.”

“Drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), Pittsburgh’s ordinance includes provisions that eliminate corporate “personhood” rights for corporations seeking to drill within the city, and remove the ability of corporations to override community decision-making.”
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/pittsburg-bans-natural-gas-drilling

November 17

1904 — Birth of William Henry Hastie, Jr., American, lawyer, judge, educator, public official, and advocate for the civil rights of African Americans
“Democracy is a process, not a static condition. It is becoming, rather than being. It can be easily lost, but is never finally won.”

1993 — US House of Representatives passes NAFTA
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) required the removal of most tariffs and restrictions on trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Under the ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) provisions of NAFTA, a corporation can sue a foreign government and can also force the taxpayers of the defendant nation to pay the corporation for any profits it might have earned if the nation had not passed laws that “restricted free trade.”

The Senate passed NAFTA on November 20. The power of ISDS provisions in so-called “free trade” agreements has been strengthened and extended in all such agreements since, including CAFTA, TPP, TTIP and TISA.

November 18

2010 – Published article this month “Why Abolish All Corporate Constitutional Rights”
“Corporations are creations of the state. As we documented in many resources over many years, they couldn’t exist in any form without the legal sanctioning of government. Since citizens are the source of all legitimate power in any representative democracy, We the People have the power to define corporations any way we see fit. We the People have rights and authority. Originally, corporations only possessed privileges bestowed by the state.

“The appointed-for-life US Supreme Court “found” corporations in numerous places in the US Constitution over the past 124 years. These “findings” gave rights to corporations, including many of those in the Bill of Rights. In other words, illegitimate corporate power didn’t begin in 2010. The corporate perversion of rights and the Constitution has resulted in the destruction of our communities, economy, politics and natural world in many ways for a very long time.

“POCLAD believes ALL corporate constitutional rights should be abolished. These include at least the following…”
Complete article at http://poclad.org/BWA/2010/BWA_2010_NOV.html

November 19

1600 — Birth of King Charles
“In 1629, King Charles I granted a charter to the Massachusetts Bay Company. In 1664, the King sent inspectors to see whether this company had been complying with the terms of the charter. The company heads objected, declaring that such an inspection threatened their rights. On behalf of the King, the inspectors responded:

“The King did not grant away his sovereignty over you when he made you a corporation. When His Majesty gave you power to make wholesome laws, and to administer justice by them, he parted not with his right of judging whether justice was administered accordingly or not. When His Majesty gave you authority over such subjects as live within your jurisdiction, he made them not YOUR subjects, nor YOU their supreme authority.”

1909 – Birth of Peter Drucker, Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation
“The modern corporation is a political institution”

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: November 6 – 12

November 6

1217 — Charter of the Forest issued
Seen as complementing the Magna Carte issued two years earlier, the Charter of the Forest was issued during the reign of King Henry III. With the Charter, ‘management of common resources moves from the king’s arbitrary rule to the common good.’ The Charter granted subsistence rights, the right that ‘[e]very free man may henceforth without being prosecuted make in his wood or in land he has in the forest a mill, a preserve, a pond, a marl pit, a ditch, or arable outside the covert in arable land, on condition that it does not harm any neighbor.’ Grazing animals and gathering food and fuel needed for basic survival were permitted.
https://aeon.co/essays/is-it-time-to-upend-the-idea-that-land-is-private-property

2012 – 75% of Montana citizens pass Initiative No. 1-66 prohibiting corporate contributions and expenditures in state and national elections
“Ballot initiative I-166 establishes a state policy that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings, and charges Montana elected and appointed officials, state and federal, to implement that policy…In December 2013, a lower state court struck down I-166 in Rickert v McCulloch, Lewis and Clark County. It invalidated the portion of the initiative that required state legislators to craft an amendment to the state constitution that would overturn Citizens United v Federal Election Commission. However, it upheld the initiative’s provision stating, ‘unlimited corporate donations creates a dominating impact on the Montana political process and inevitably minimizes the impact of individual Montana citizens.’”
https://ballotpedia.org/Montana_Corporate_Contributions_Initiative,_I-166_(2012)

2012 – Donald Trump on the Electoral College
“The Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy.”

November 7

1913 – Birth of Albert Camus — author, journalist, philosopher
“The society of money and exploitation has never been charged, so far as I know, with assuring the triumph of freedom and justice.”

1962 – Death of Eleanor Roosevelt
“A democratic form of government, a democratic way of life, presupposes free public education over a long period; it presupposes also an education for personal responsibility that too often is neglected.”

November 8

1898 — South Dakota becomes first state to approve citizen initiative and referendum
“[T]he people expressly reserve to themselves the right to propose measures, which shall be submitted to a vote of the electors of the state, and also the right to require that any laws which the Legislature may have enacted shall be submitted to a vote of the electors of the state before going into effect, except such laws as may be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions.”
http://sdlegislature.gov/statutes/DisplayStatute.aspx?Statute=0N-3-1&Type=Statute

2008 – Occupy Denver elects border collie as leader – more of a “person” than a corporation
November 8, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Occupy Denver
Attn: Media-PR Committee

OCCUPY DENVER ELECTS LEADER
In response to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s insistence that Occupy Denver choose leadership to deal with City and State officials, and drawing inspiration from the notion that corporations are people,
Occupy Denver’s General Assembly has elected a leader: Shelby, a three year old Border Collie. “Shelby is closer to a person than any corporation: She can bleed, she can breed, and she can show emotion. Either Shelby is a person, or corporations aren’t people,” said a Shelby supporter at the time of her election.

November 9

1910 — Birth of Carroll Quigley, historian and theorist of the Evolution of Civilizations
“The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the worlds’ central banks, which were private corporations. The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury of all other economic groups.”
From “Tragedy and Hope: A History of The World in Our Time”

2013 – Published article, “Dark Money Groups Are Funded by Dark Money Groups That Fund Dark Money Groups That Fund…” in Huffington Post
“Networks of nonprofits are being created across the country, at the national and state levels, to secretly fund candidate and ballot initiative campaigns, according to tax documents and campaign records accessed through Guidestar, CitizenAudit.org and the National Institute for Money in State Politics. Their tactics are similar to the schemes adopted by the global rich to hide their wealth — except instead of avoiding tax collecting authorities, they’re trying to skirt disclosure laws.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/09/dark-money-networks_n_4234206.html

November 10

2009 – Published article this month of “Free Trade’s Footprint; A Decade After Seattle” by Jane Anne Morris
“A ‘free trade’ zone is a democracy-free zone. Democracy and ‘free trade’ cannot co-exist, because ‘free trade’ denies the most basic democratic principles…

“Today, as in 1999, we live under a ‘free trade’ regime presided over by a president who campaigned passionately against the ravages of international “free trade” agreements like NAFTA and the WTO’s GATT. A decade ago, the masters of the universe were squabbling even before the Teamsters and Turtles took to the streets. They’re still squabbling today. More importantly, they’re still masters of the universe. They learned that they could conduct ‘business as usual’ with impunity.

“Efforts to address climate change, protect our bioregions from the depredations of foreign corporations, respond to peak oil (peak “resource,” really), bend our economies toward local food and local energy, and craft the sustainable and locally self-reliant communities the future requires will not be successful unless we learn to focus on and remove the “free trade” tarp that sits undisturbed over local and state governments. Perhaps at the twentieth anniversary of the Battle for Seattle, we will see some signs of that happening.”
http://poclad.org/BWA/2009/BWA_2009_NOV.html

November 11

1859 – Birth of Samuel Insull, President of the National Electric Light Association, formed in the 1880s
Insull believed the underlying structure of the modern utility business was “the best service at the lowest possible price and can only be obtained by exclusive control of a given territory being placed in the hands of one undertaking,” he concluded the “natural monopoly” of electric power demanded a publicly regulated network of privately owned monoliths.

2005 – Death of Peter Drucker, US corporate management consultant
“The modern corporation is a political institution.”

November 12

1999 — Enactment of Financial Services Modernization Act (also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act)
The law removed many barriers contained in the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, including those that separated banking, securities and insurance corporations. The result was massive combination and consolidation within the financial sector – creating enormously powerful institutions. The bill was pushed by leading Republicans in Congress, including Phil Gramm, and signed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: October 30 – November 5

October 30

1829 – Birth of Roscoe Conkling, attorney, US Representative and US Senator
Conkling was a former member of the joint congressional committee that had crafted the Fourteenth Amendment. When defending the Southern Pacific Railroad Company from being assessed higher property taxes than human persons before the Supreme Court in 1885, he alleged that “[a]t the time the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, individuals and joint stock companies were appealing for congressional and administrative protection against invidious and discriminating State and local taxes.” He claimed that the 14th Amendment drafters had purposely used the word “persons” instead of “citizens” to specifically shield corporations from those State and local taxes.

The case was settled before the Supreme Court made a decision. One year later, however, Southern Pacific Railroad Company was back before the Supreme Court on the same issue. No settlement was reached before the Santa Clara v Southern Pacific RR decision was made, which, in effect, affirmed for the first time that corporations were indeed “persons” and could not be “discriminated” against under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by being charged higher property taxes than human persons.

Howard J. Graham in The ‘Conspiracy Theory’ of the Fourteenth Amendment, 47 YALE L.J. 371 (1938) explained that Conkling’s argument was baseless, stating that “[no one] at any time or under any circumstances, so far as the historical record indicates, ever used the word ‘citizen’ in any draft of the equal protection or due process clause.”

October 31

1783 – New Hampshire State Constitution established
Article 83 of the New Hampshire Constitution reads:
“The size and functions of all corporations should be so limited and regulated as to prohibit fictitious capitalization and provision should be made for the supervision and government thereof. Therefore, all just power possessed by the state is hereby granted to the general court to enact laws to prevent the operations within the state of all persons and associations, and all trusts and corporations, foreign or domestic, and the officers thereof, who endeavor to raise the price of any article of commerce or to destroy free and fair competition in the trades and industries through combination, conspiracy, monopoly, or any other unfair means; to control and regulate the acts of all such persons, associations, corporations, trusts, and officials doing business within the state; to prevent fictitious capitalization; and to authorize civil and criminal proceedings in respect to all the wrongs herein declared against.”
https://www.nh.gov/constitution/lit.html

November 1

1869 — U.S. Supreme Court rules that a corporation is not a citizen
Corporate attorneys argued before the High Court that corporations were citizens under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Constitution. The Court ruled in Paul v. Virginia (75 US 168) that corporations were not citizens under the Clause (Article 4, Section 2), which states: “The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.”

November 2

1982 — Nebraska voters approve citizen initiative prohibiting purchases by non-family farmers
Initiative 300 amended the state constitution to prohibit further purchase of Nebraska farm and ranch lands by any corporation or syndicate other than a Nebraska family farm corporation, defined as “the majority of the voting stock is held by members of a family … at least one of whom is a person residing on or actively engaged in the day to day labor and management of the farm or ranch.”

The initiative was adopted with 56% of the vote despite major opposition from the state Chamber of Commerce, the Nebraska Bankers Association, and other big business supporters. At one point, nine western states had adopted referenda prohibiting non-family owned corporations from engaging in farming in any way.

Initiative 300 was ruled unconstitutional in Jones v. Gale, 470 F. 3d 1261, 1268 (8th Cir. 2006) as a violation of the what’s known as the “dormant commerce clause.”

November 3

1998 —Arcata, CA becomes first U.S. community to pass an anti-corporate personhood bill
By a vote of 3193 to 2056 (60.83% to 39.17%), the citizens of Arcata supported Measure F, “The Arcata Advisory Measure on Democracy and Corporations” which called on the Arcata City Council to co-sponsor two town hall meetings to address the issue, “Can we have democracy when large corporations wield so much power and wealth under law?” and to immediately establish policies and programs which ensure democratic control over corporations conducting business within the city and in a manner that would ensure the health and well-being of the community and its environment. Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County organized the initiative.

2015 — Pennsylvania Township Passes First Charter Bill of Rights in US Banning Fracking Wastewater Injection Wells
“[T]he people of Grant Township adopted the country’s first municipal charter establishing a local bill of rights. The Grant Bill of Rights codifies environmental and democratic rights, and bans fracking wastewater injection wells as a violation of those rights.” http://www.ecowatch.com/pennsylvania-township-passes-bill-of-rights-banning-fracking-wastewate-1882117615.html

November 4

1988 – “They Live” film released
“American satirical science fiction action horror film written and directed by John Carpenter. The film stars Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster. It follows a nameless drifter (called “John Nada” in the credits), who discovers the ruling class is, in fact, aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed, and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Live

November 5

1855 — Birth of Eugene V. Debs
“I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.”
1872 – Susan B. Anthony votes
Anthony ”went to the polls and cast a vote in 1872, justifying her right to vote on the 14th Amendment. The case never went to the Supreme Court, but she was found guilty in a lower court.”

1996 – Montana voters ban direct corporate “contributions” to ballot issue campaigns
Montana had a ban on direct corporate “contributions” (more like investments) to ballot issue campaigns until 1976, when it was thrown out by the courts. Montana voters approved by 52% Initiative I-125 in 1996 reinstating the ban. Corporations are already prevented from direct contributions/investments to candidate campaigns. I-125 proponents asserted that the overwhelming percentage of funding for state ballot measures came from corporations and corporate trade associations — an assault to citizen democracy.

The ban was struck down in 1998 as unconstitutional by a federal court, claiming it violated corporations’ “right” to free speech under the 1978 Supreme Court First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti case.

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: October 23 – 29

October 23

1895 – Birth of Maury Maverick, U.S. Representative from Texas
“Democracy to me is liberty plus economic security.”

2014 – Death of Frank Mankiewicz, Vice Chair of the PR Firm Hill & Knowlton
“The big corporations, our clients, are scared shitless of the environmental movement. They sense that there’s a majority out there and that the emotions are all on the other side — if only they can be heard. I think the corporations are wrong about that. I think the companies will have to give in only at insignificant levels. Because the corporations are too strong, they’re the establishment. The environmentalists are going to have to be like the mob in the square in Romania before they prevail”
– quoted in Who Will Tell the People by William Greider

October 24

1945 – United Nations Charter comes into force, marking the beginning of the international organization
Responding to several notable international abuses by the ITT and Nestle corporations in the developing world, the UN established a Commission and Center on Transnational Corporations (TNCs) in the early 1970’s. The groups urged TNCs to divest from South Africa if the apartheid system wasn’t abolished.

The major effort of the Center was working to develop a “code of conduct” or governing rules for TNC activities, especially in the developing world. The effort ultimately failed to achieve an agreement after 18 years of negotiations – largely due to opposition by developed countries like the U.S., which desired foreign direct investment (FDI) by transnational corporations in developing countries with few international constraints. Ultimately, the UN facilitated negotiations leading to the 1999 Global Compact, a “corporate social responsibility” initiative signed by over 12,000 corporate agents and other stakeholders in 170 counties. The Compact was/is, however, voluntary. Corporations are treated as equal to citizens and governments.

October 25

1886 – The railroads win: states can’t interfere with interstate commerce
“Freedom of commerce among the states…was deemed essential to a more perfect union by the framers of the Constitution.”
–Justice Samuel F. Miller in Wabash v. Illinois, 118 U.S. 557 (1886) http://constitutioncenter.org/timeline/html/cw07_12133.html

2014 – “What the BLEEP Happened to Hip Hop” two-day event in Denver
Hip Hop Congress and Move to Amend partnered to present: “What the Bleep Happened to Hip Hop?”, a multi-racial and intergenerational public education event that was part of a larger national campaign seeking to raise awareness of the dangerous power corporations currently wield over hip hop music specifically, and over the arts, culture and society in general.

October 26

2001 – Patriot Act passed by Congress
Passed by Congress following September 11, the Act violates the civil liberties and privacy of individuals.
Originally scheduled to expire, but key provisions were renewed in 2011…and remain to this day.

October 27

1858 – Birth of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
Roosevelt warned against corporate persons in his 1907 Congressional address:
“The fortunes amassed through corporate organization are now so large, and vest such power in those that wield them, as to make it a matter of necessity to give to the sovereign – that is, to the government, which represents the people as a whole, some effective power of supervision over their corporate use. In order to ensure a healthy social and industrial life, every big corporation should be held responsible by, and be accountable to, some sovereign strong enough to control its conduct.”

Congress passed the Tillman Act that same year – the first U.S. legislation that prohibited any national bank or corporation to “make a money contribution in connection with any election to any political office.”

2009 – Steelworkers Form Collaboration with Mondragon, the World’s Largest Worker-Owned Cooperative
“The United Steelworkers (USW) and Mondragon Internacional, S.A. today announced a framework agreement for collaboration in establishing Mondragon cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within the United States and Canada. The USW and Mondragon will work to establish manufacturing cooperatives that adapt collective bargaining principles to the Mondragon worker ownership model of “one worker, one vote.”
http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2009/steelworkers-form-collaboration-with-mondragon-the-worlds-largest-worker-owned-cooperative

October 28

1998 – US District Court rules that civil rights of Omnipoint Communications Corporation were violated
Chadds Ford Township denied an application by Omnipoint Corporation to construct an antenna for transmitting radio signals between cellular telephones and ordinary telephone lines. The Township claimed they were protecting the welfare of their community since the radio signals are a low-intensity form of radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation.

Omnipoint Corporation sued the Township under the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 and § 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that the Township violated the law by depriving the Corporation of its civil rights under §1983.
The Court then ordered the Township to pay the Corporation’s attorneys’ fees.
Omnipoint Communications Enterprises L.P. v. Zoning Hearing Board of Chadds Ford Township, No. Civ. A. 98-3299, 1998 WL 764762 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 28, 1998)

The decision became a precedent for corporations to claim many municipal laws and regulations were “discriminatory” under either the 14th Amendment or the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

October 29

2011 – “Outside Groups Eclipsing G.O.P. as Hub of Campaigns” article in the New York Times
“At a time when the Republican National Committee remains weighed down by debt, outside conservative groups, freed from contribution limits by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year, are playing an ever larger role and operating in an increasingly coordinated fashion. In the coming months, the conservative groups will consult among themselves as they open pre-election advertising barrages against Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats.”

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: October 16 – 22

October 16

1898 – Birth of William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, challenger of corporate constitutional rights
Douglas provided several profound dissenting opinions challenging corporate constitutional rights. One example: In Wheeling Steel Corp. v. Glander (1949), he asserted, “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.”

2015 – “Collective Courage: The Untold Story Of African-American Cooperative Economics” radio interview on WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio
“The main principle of a cooperative organization is to give ownership to the people who use its services. Every member has a say in how the business is run and shares the profits.

“But for African-American communities in the United States, cooperative economics have also historically been a method of survival.

“Records from the antebellum South show instances in which many slaves would pool their money in order to buy freedom for a few. Today, organizations like co-op grocery stores serve as a source of healthy foods in areas that would otherwise be classified as food deserts.”
http://wunc.org/post/collective-courage-untold-story-african-american-cooperative-economics#stream/0

October 17

2014 – Published article, “How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties” in New York Times Magazine
“In 2010, the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court effectively blew apart the McCain-Feingold restrictions on outside groups and their use of corporate and labor money in elections…What followed has been the most unbridled spending in elections since before Watergate. In 2000, outside groups spent $52 million on campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. By 2012, that number had increased to $1 billion.

“The result was a massive power shift, from the party bosses to the rich individuals who ran the super PACs (as most of these new organizations came to be called). Almost overnight, traditional party functions — running TV commercials, setting up field operations, maintaining voter databases, even recruiting candidates — were being supplanted by outside groups…

“With the advent of Citizens United, any players with the wherewithal, and there are surprisingly many of them, can start what are in essence their own political parties…‘Suddenly, we privatized politics,’ says Trevor Potter, an election lawyer who helped draft the McCain-Feingold law”

October 18

2011 – Occupy Wall Street Protesters Propose A National Convention, Release Potential Demands
“WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia…

“The posted ‘demands’ are only a working list of ‘suggestions,’ however. Number one and two are a ban on private contributions to politicians seeking or holding federal office and instead institute public financing for campaigns, and a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

“The list then goes on to suggest single-payer national health care, immediate passage of the DREAM Act, a jobs plan, a deficit reduction plan and recalling military personnel at all non-essential bases.

“The movement would also reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, increase regulation and increase taxes by way of eliminating corporate tax loopholes.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/18/occupy-wall-street-planning-convention_n_1018570.html

October 19

2015 – “How to Finish What Stephen Colbert Started” article by Trevor Potter, published in Politico
“Colbert Super PAC” exposed the troubling realities of money in politics more effectively than any PSA. But the crippling flaws in our campaign finance system that it was created to highlight have not abated in the years since—in fact, they’ve worsened substantially. The massive $144 million that Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls collectively raised in the third quarter of this year doesn’t include the untold millions funneled into their super PACs by deep-pocketed donors. When those numbers are disclosed in January, they will undoubtedly reveal that the money flowing to shifty outside groups is larger than ever. That is not even to count the funds being raised and spent in this election by candidate-allied nonprofit organizations, whose finances we will see, only in part, after the election is over.”
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/10/stephen-colbert-213266#ixzz4JOtoxOrL

October 20

1996 – “Rethinking the Corporation, Rethinking Democracy,” workshop held in Ohio
Ward Morehouse and Richard Grossman and their POCLAD colleagues began conducting Rethinking Democracy Workshops in which they first coined the phrase “corporate personhood” that’s now at the core of the national movement to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision that gave corporations further rights of persons in the law. Dozens of “Rethinks” were held across the country. Environmental, labor, peace, and justice activists were drawn to the gatherings because each was struggling against or concerned about repeated corporate assaults upon their communities in particular, and upon democracy in general.

2009 – Move to Amend initial strategizing meeting held
Initial meeting held to strategize about launching a campaign for an amendment to the US Constitution to abolish corporate personhood in San Rafael, CA. It led to the creation of the Move to Amend campaign. The gathering took place three months prior to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision

2010 – Cross country “March of the Monahans” against Citizens United and corporate personhood ends in Washington, DC
On May 16, Laird and Robin Monahan left San Francisco to walk across America to educate people and protest the January 21st Supreme Court decision by five unelected Justices in the Citizens United decision that overturned decades of campaign finance legislation passed democratically by Congress and state legislatures and upheld by prior Supreme Court rulings. For the two brothers, letters and phone calls were no longer sufficient.

They took their message to people and communities across the country that a Constitutional amendment to deny corporations “personhood” and all constitutional rights is vital to restore democracy and assert the inalienable human right of We the People. After 3072 miles and 158 days, Laird and Robin Monahan ended their historic “Walk Across America for Democracy” by crossing the Potomac River into Washington, DC, and rallied with supporters in front of the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol Building on this date.

October 21

1992 – Published article “CORPORATIONS ARE EXTERNALIZING MACHINES, THE WAY SHARKS ARE KILLING MACHINES”
“An important new booklet, published this month, describes some of the changes that have taken place in corporate rights, privileges, and behavior, during the last 200 years. Titled TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: CITIZENSHIP AND THE CHARTER OF INCORPORATION, by Richard Grossman and Frank T. Adams, the booklet describes how citizens controlled corporations before the civil war of 1861. Up to that time corporations were chartered for a specific limited purpose (for example, building a toll road or canal) and for a specific, limited period of time (usually 20 or 30 years). At the end of the corporation’s lifetime, its assets were distributed among the shareholders and the corporation ceased to exist…
http://www.ejnet.org/rachel/rhwn308.htm

2002 – Death of Bill Moyer, author, “Doing Democracy: the MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements”
“The most important issue today is the struggle between the majority of citizens and the individual and institutional powerholders to determine whether society will be based on the power elite or people power model.”
[Note: Bill Moyer was no relation to the television and print journalist, Bill Moyers.]

October 22

1900 – Death of John Sherman, US Senator of Ohio on Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890
The federal law trumped and undercut much stronger anti-trust laws that had been passed by many states.
Sherman’s words in support of the Act: “[P]eople are feeling the power and grasp of these combinations, and are demanding of every State Legislature and of Congress a remedy for this evil, only grown into huge proportions in recent times… You must heed their appeal, or be ready for the socialist, the communist and the nihilist.”

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: October 9 – 15

October 9

1773 – The East India Company (chartered by the England), and its actions in other countries, features prominently in early colonial pamphlets.
“The East India Company obtained their exclusive privilege of Trade to that Country, by Bribery and Corruption. Wonder not then, that Power thus obtained, at the Expense of the national Commerce, should be used to the most tyrannical and cruel Purposes. It is shocking to Humanity to relate the relentless
Barbarity, practiced by the Servants of that Body, on the helpless Asiatics, a Barbarity fierce equaled even by the most brutal Savages, or Cortez, the Mexican Conqueror.” From THE ALARM, Number II (October 9, 1773)

2009 – “Jane Anne Morris: Corporate ‘personhood’ must be challenged” OpEd on Madison.com
“When the ‘Hillary Clinton film’ case is decided, headlines should declare, ‘Supreme Court affirms corporate personhood.’ Instead, most media will call it a free speech decision. ‘First Amendment rights’ will play the Trojan horse hauling corporate freight…

“Must we limit speech in order to have free and fair elections? Or must we accept corporation-dominated political debate in order to preserve free speech?

“This false dilemma disappears if we reject corporate personhood – the idea that corporations have constitutional rights. Limiting corporate “speech” is not a constitutional infringement if corporations are not “persons” under the Constitution…

“Just as the single-payer option has been suppressed in the national health care debate, corporate personhood is all but ignored in discussions of campaign finance reform. Perhaps if ‘corporate personhood’ made it into more headlines, we could shoo it out of the Trojan horse where it has obfuscated free speech and equal rights issues for too long.”
http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/guest/jane-anne-morris-corporate-personhood-must-be-challenged/article_94a94a88-46bb-5afd-a7ba-0314140b12eb.html

October 10

1932 – Birth of Frances Fox Piven, US professor of Sociology and Political Science
“The only way to change American society, and indeed I think this is true of other societies as well, is for people to discover the power latent in the cooperative roles that they play in a range of institutions.”

2015 – “Just 158 families have provided nearly half of the early money for efforts to capture the White House” article in the New York Times
“They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters. Across a sprawling country, they reside in an archipelago of wealth, exclusive neighborhoods dotting a handful of cities and towns. And in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy.

“Now they are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.”

October 11

1884 – Birth of Eleanor Roosevelt
“A democratic form of government, a democratic way of life, presupposes free public education over a long period; it presupposes also an education for personal responsibility that too often is neglected.”

October 12

1864 – Death of US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney
In Dred Scott [60 US 393 (1857] decision:
“[T]he right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.”

October 13

1849 – California’s original constitution signed
“Sec. 33. The term corporations as used in this article shall be construed to include all associations and joint–stock companies, having any of the powers or privileges of corporations not possessed by individuals or partnerships. And all corporations shall have the right to sue, and shall be subject to be sued, in all courts, in like cases as natural persons.

“Sec. 34. The Legislature shall have no power to pass any act granting any charter for banking purposes; but associations may be formed, under general laws, for the deposit of gold and silver, but no such association shall make, issue, or put in circulation, any bill, check, ticket, certificate, promissory note, or other paper, or the paper of any bank, to circulate as money.

“Sec.35. The Legislature of this State shall prohibit, by law, any person or persons, association, company, or corporation, from exercising the privileges of banking, or creating paper to circulate as money.

“Sec. 36. Each stockholder of a corporation, or joint–stock association, shall be individually and personally liable for his proportion of all its debts and liabilities.”

1985 – Death of Florence Luscomb, US organizer, pacifist, architect, suffragist
Statement to Commission to Investigate Communism in Massachusetts, 1955:
“It is subversive to set up inquisitions like this, state or national, into the thoughts and consciences of Americans…It is subversive for commissions like this to spread hysteria and intimidation throughout the land that Americans are afraid to sign petitions, afraid to read progressive magazines, afraid to make out checks for liberal causes, afraid to join organizations, afraid to speak their mind on public issues. Americans dare not be free citizens! This is the destruction of democracy.”

October 14

1890 – Birth of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States
Farewell address to the nation in January 1961:
“Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

1911 – Death of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan
Hale v. Henkel [201 U.S. 43, 78 (1906)] granted corporations 4th Amendment “search and seizure” constitutional rights. Harlan in his dissent stated, “In my opinion, a corporation — “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law” — cannot claim the immunity given by the Fourth Amendment, for it is not a part of the “people,” within the meaning of that Amendment. Nor is it embraced by the word ‘persons’ in the Amendment.”

1998 – Adoption of National Lawyers Guild Resolution on corporate personhood
“WHEREAS:
Giant corporations increasingly govern our lives and communities and define our work and our culture, eroding democratic values and pillaging the environment…

“Therefore be it resolved that the National Lawyers Guild:
1. Adhere to the principle that only natural persons are vested with constitutional rights. Thus, the Guild is opposed to recognizing the personhood of for-profit corporations under the Fourteenth Amendment, and will give priority to working toward challenging and reversing that judicial doctrine. 2. Develop long-term strategies to strip for-profit corporations of the constitutional rights of natural persons, including but not limited to First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and work toward the implementation of these strategies in collaboration with like-minded persons, groups, and movements…”

In 1999, the National Lawyers Guild launched a new campaign to challenge corporate authority coordinated by its new ‘Committee on Corporations, the Constitution and Human Rights.” http://www.corporations.org/afd-paradigm-shift.html

October 15

1883 – US. Supreme Court decision on Civil Rights Cases
“The Civil Rights Cases, 109 US 3 (1883) were a group of five US Supreme Court cases consolidated into one issue. Against the famous dissent of Justice Harlan, a majority held the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was unconstitutional, because Congress lacked authority to regulate private affairs under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 had banned racial discrimination by private individuals and organizations, rather than state and local governments, saying, “all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude”. The 1883 Supreme Court decision is today regarded as wrongly decided, a symbol institutional racism and judicial opposition to democracy, and incompatible with the US Constitution.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Cases

1914 – Passage of the Clayton Antitrust Act
The law outlawed tying together corporate mergers and multiple products, as well as mandated the creation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to control corporate wrongdoings. An example of legislative incrementalism, the law over timed failed to address mergers and their consequential economic and political power. Countering growing corporate power is difficult, if not impossible, without overturning corporate constitutional rights.

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: October 2 – 8

October 2

1869 – Birth of Mohandas Gandhi
“First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. The they fight you. Then you win.”

2012 – Man ticketed for driving in carpool lane with corporation
“On Oct. 2nd, 2012, Jonathan “The Carpool Guy” Frieman was driving in Marin County’s carpool lane alongside legal documents that represented his nonprofit corporation, the JoMiJo Foundation, when he was pulled over by California Highway Patrol and issued a citation for violating California’s High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), aka carpool regulations. Jonathan was the only human passenger in the car; however, California’s High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), aka carpool regulations. These set the number at “2 or more persons per vehicle,” for driving in the carpool lane during permitted hours. Jonathan was the only human passenger in the car; however.

At the time of the citation on Oct 2nd, Mr. Frieman had informed the state trooper that he was not in violation of California State Vehicle Code because the nonprofit corporation next to him (represented by its articles of incorporation) qualifies as a “person” under state law. Nonetheless, the state trooper cited Mr. Frieman and instructed him to take it up with the court.”
http://www.thecarpoolguy.com/case

October 3

1944 – Birth of Jim Price, Tuscaloosa (AL) Move to Amend facilitator; Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) Principal, former Sierra Club regional field representative
“When organizing (especially in regions like the American South) we are faced with a communications choice. Do we present Move to Amend as a lighthouse, beaming our true values and mission, providing an alternative vision to that of the dominant culture, or do we emphasize different themes and language in communicating with various groups along the political spectrum? We believe it is crucial to present to all we meet that Move to Amend is about more than winning the passage of the “We the People” constitutional amendment. Failure to make clear that we seek to build a truly democratic movement with leadership that includes those who have long suffered oppression in this country would be disingenuous. It would give a false impression about who we are and what we are about.

Key questions those wanting to form a local Move to Amend Affiliate group may want to ask themselves are presented in the article linked here: http://www.poclad.org/BWA/2014/BWA_2014_Dec.html

1990 – Reunification of Germany
Germany is one of many nations, including Italy, Japan, Belgium, Ireland and more, in which is as easy for workers to form a union as it is for investors to form a corporation. The United States is not among them.

2001 – Founding of Reclaim Democracy
Reclaim Democracy was one of the earliest national organizations to educate, advocate and organize on “corporate personhood.” They work to “create a representative democracy with an actively participating public, where citizens don’t merely choose from a menu of options determined by elites, but play an active role in guiding the country and its political agenda. We believe that one’s influence should be a direct result of the quality of one’s ideas and the energy one puts into promoting these ideas, independent of wealth or status. We inspire citizens to make conscious choices about what role corporations should play in our society and to limit them to that role.” Jeff Milchen was the major driving force in their beginning. In addition to resisting corporate rule and unlimited money in politics, they also work on building positive alternatives, which include promoting independent businesses, cooperatives and employee-owned firms. http://reclaimdemocracy.org/about/

October 4

1822 – Birth of President Rutherford B. Hayes
“The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations.”
―Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes: Nineteenth President of the United States

October 5

1941 – Death of Justice Louis Brandeis
Corporations are “the Frankenstein monster which states have created by their corporation’s laws.”
In Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Lee, 288 U.S. 517, 565 (1933)

1969 – Death of Harry Emerson Fosdick, U.S. pastor
“Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.”

October 6

1917 – Birth of Fannie Lou Hamer, civil rights activist
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

October 7

2011 – Psychologists for Social Responsibility Stands Against Harmful Legal Definitions of Corporate Personhood
From their statement, passed on this day:
“Corporations…are structural entities created by laws rather than by natural, biological processes. Corporations are vehicles, designed to achieve specific ends, typically those of growth, profitability and longevity beyond the span of human life. Corporations are amoral. They have no capacity for guilt, shame, pride, or penance. They possess no motivations, beliefs, or emotions, and they cannot make decisions nor take action—not, at least, outside of the human beings who run them. Corporations are not people. From a psychological perspective, corporate personhood is a misleading and highly dangerous legal fiction. It provides protection to corporate leaders for activities in which they would otherwise bear personal, lawful responsibility. This legal validation of corporate personhood therefore shields select, powerful corporate officials from the law and liability, encouraging recklessness in the form of unethical, dangerous and, in some instances, illegal behaviors.”
http://www.psysr.org/materials/PsySR-Statement-on-Corporate-Personhood.pdf

2015 – Article, “Black Cooperative Economics During Enslavement, An Interview with Jessica Gordon Nembhard” by Beverly Bell and Natalie Miller
“Black cooperative history closely parallels the larger African-American civil rights and Black Liberation movements. After more than 10 years of research, I’ve found that in pretty much all of the places where Blacks were trying to assert their civil rights, their independence, their human rights, they also were either practicing or talking about the need to utilize cooperative economics in one form or another.

“I’ve put together a continuous record of collective economics and economic cooperation [practiced by U.S. Black people] from the 1600s to the 21st century. They span informal pooling of money to more formalized mutual aid societies and other kinds of economic collective relationships, to what we would now call actual cooperative businesses.”
http://otherworldsarepossible.org/black-cooperative-economics-during-enslavement

October 8

2015 – Workplace Democracy Act announced at a Capital Hill news conference by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI)
“This legislation will make it easier for workers to form unions through majority signup. If a majority of eligible workers sign valid authorization cards, the National Labor Relations Board will certify their union. This gives workers the ability and the choice over how to form their union, instead of allowing employers to dictate the process.
The bill also addresses the long delays that some companies use to undermine workers’ voices. Employers would be required to begin bargaining within 10 days after the union is certified. If no agreement is reached after 90 days of negotiation, either side can request compulsory mediation. After 30 days of mediation, the remaining issues would be resolved through binding arbitration.”
http://www.cwa-union.org/news/entry/the_fight_to_restore_workers_rights_workplace_democracy_act_introduced

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: September 25 – October 1

September 25

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.”

September 26

1961 – Death of Charles E. Wilson, CEO of General Motors corporation and U.S. Secretary of Defense
“What is good for the country is good for General Motors, and what’s good for General Motors is good for the country.”

2014 – “What the BLEEP Happened to Hip Hop” two-day event in Portland
Hip Hop Congress and Move to Amend partner presented “What the Bleep Happened to Hip Hop?”, a multi-racial and intergenerational public education event part of a larger national campaign seeking to raise awareness of the dangerous power corporations currently wield over the arts, culture and society in general, and the hip hop industry specifically.

September 27

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.”

September 28

551 BC – Celebrated Birthday of Confucius – Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher
“When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are something to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honors are to be ashamed of.”

1903 – Death of Henry Demarest Lloyd, American progressive political activist and muckraker
“We are calling upon the owners of industrial power and property, as mankind called upon kings in their day, to be good and kind, wise and sweet, and we are calling upon them in vain…We have put power in their hands and ask them not to use it as power.” (1894)

1918 – Death 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)

September 29

2008 – Bank Bailout Bill Fails in Congress
The financial industry imploded in 2007 and 2008. The causes were primarily banking corporations engaging in incredibly risky loans (i.e. subprime mortgages) and too much leverage (loaning out many more times than actual assets – in some cases 30 times – called “fractional reserve” lending). The response was a call to bail out the largest financial corporations that had the greatest amount of toxic assets (called “zombie” banks). Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, former head of Goldman Sachs financial corporation, on behalf of the Bush administration introduced a 3 page vague proposal asking for $700 billion to bail out the big banks. The public was outraged at what they rightly thought was a blank check bailout. Calls to Congress numbered more than 10:1 against the bill. Congress voted the act down.

September 30

2004 — Publication this month of “Standing Up To Power: Community Challenges Corporate Claims to Constitutional “Rights” by Virginia Rasmussen & Richard Grossman
“Since the American Revolution, people across this country have engaged in passionate debate and sustained struggle to define the proper nature of corporations. Over the past half-century, those debates and struggles have often taken the form of community resistance to corporate and government imposition of projects on unwilling communities.

“The claims asserted by FROST members can be heard today in many communities where people are resisting state-sanctioned corporate might. That is because the issues presented here are intimately tied to a central source of injustice – that a republican form of government constitutionally guaranteed to the people cannot exist when the State does nothing to prevent corporate directors and their agents from doing what the Constitution forbids the State to do.” — Friends and Residents of St. Thomas Township (FROST)
http://poclad.org/BWA/2004/BWA_2004_SEP.html

October 1

2014 – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls for “corporate death penalty”
“I do…believe that corporations which deliberately, purposefully, maliciously and systematically sponsor climate lies should be given the death penalty. This can be accomplished through an existing legal proceeding known as ‘charter revocation’” State Attorneys General can invoke this remedy whenever corporations put their profit-making before the “public welfare.” http://ecowatch.com/2014/10/01/jailing-climate-deniers-robert-kennedy-jr/

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: September 18 – 24

September 18

1850 – Passage of the Fugitive Slave Act
The 1793 and 1850 Fugitive Slave Acts reinforced the constitutionally enshrined property rights of slave owners. Public monies were used to pay federal marshals for each captured slave under the Acts. Captured slaves were prohibited any jury trial and from testifying at any hearing held under the Acts.

2014 – Scientific study concludes U.S. is an oligarchy, not a democracy
Researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University concluded in a study published in the fall, “Testing Theories of American Politics,” that the U.S. is a government ruled by the rich more than by We the People. The study analyzed 1,779 policy issues from 1981-2002 – years before the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions were handed down.

From their report:
“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, …America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened…When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38235.htm

September 19

1907 – Birth of Lewis Powell, advocate for a more activist pro-corporate Supreme Court
Attorney Lewis Powell wrote a memo to the US Chamber of Commerce in 1971 entitled, “Attack on American Free Enterprise System.” The memo called for a deliberate campaign by corporations to use an “activist minded Supreme Court” to shape “social, economic and political change” to the advantage of corporations.

Two months later, Powell was nominated to the Supreme Court. His tenure coincided with a new wave of judicial activism with corporations granted several additional never-intended constitutional rights concerning the right to speak and not to speak – which overruled the people’s laws passed by states to protect health and safety and the economy.

September 20

1878 – Birth of Upton Sinclair, author and advocate of California economic cooperative program
While running for Governor in 1934, Sinclair proposed the End Poverty in California (EPIC) program. The plan called for the state takeover of foreclosed factories and farmland. The unemployed would be hired by the state to work in the factories and on the farms, with the goal of converting the facilities to worker-run democratic co-ops. The plan would have been paid for by instituting the first ever progressive state income tax, an increase on inheritance taxes and a tax on stock transfers. EPIC never came to fruition due to Sinclair’s defeat in the 1934 election, but is seen as an influence on New Deal programs enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_Poverty_in_California_movement

September 21

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.”

September 22

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.

September 23

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.”
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/corporate-tribalism-part-1-legal-corporatism-as-a-version-of-racism/

September 24

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.”

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: September 11 – 17

September 11

1940 – Address at Teamsters Union Convention by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“No business is above Government; and Government must be empowered to deal adequately with any business that tries to rise above Government.”

2001 – First complete version of Timeline of Personhood Rights and Powers publicly unveiled
The timeline was developed by Jan Edwards of Point Arena, CA. She led the effort to pass the first-ever municipal resolution to end corporate personhood in 2000.

The Timeline is a useful education tool to describe how corporations have used the legal system to gain constitutional rights through court decisions and how people have organized to gain constitutional rights through amendments and laws.

The Timeline was first used by Jan and others in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and later by democracy activists across the country to engage individuals in understanding issues that were not discussed in schools, media, places of worship, workplaces, political arenas or activist organizations.
Original timeline with background description:
https://movetoamend.org/sites/default/files/CorpPersonhoodExplanationTimeline.pdf
Current version: https://movetoamend.org/sites/default/files/Timeline_36inch.pdf

September 12

1806 – Death of Edward Thurlow, Lord Chancellor, Great Britain
“Did you ever expect a corporation to have a conscience, when it has no soul to be damned, and no body to be kicked?”

1880 – Birth of H.L Mencken, American Journalist
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace in a continual state of alarm (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

September 13

1785 – Pennsylvania Repeals the Charter of the Bank of North America
This was the nation’s first private commercial bank, chartered by Congress under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles gave Congress the power to “emit bills of credit” — to create money. By a single vote, Congress voted to transfer their authority to issue money to the Bank, thus, become a quasi central bank. The Pennsylvania legislature repealed the Bank’s charter, which was significant since it primarily operated in just three states. Why did Congress willingly give up their money power in the first place? The public argument was that the business of finance could not be ably conduced by a public body (Congress) — only by a small number of private financiers.

September 14

1901 – U.S. President William McKinley died of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin
McKinley was elected President twice. Businessman Mark Hanna was his campaign manager both times. Hanna was arguably the first person to systematize Presidential fundraising on a large scale. His campaign for McKinley in 1896 consisted of asking banks and millionaires for contributions equal to 0.25% of their assets. McKinley far surpassed his opponent, William Jennings Bryan, in fundraising.

1940 – The Selective Service Act was passed by the U.S. Congress providing the first peacetime draft in the United States.

September 15

1994 – “LETTER TO FRIENDS” by Richard L. Grossman & Ward Morehouse
“In July 1994 the leaders of 15 major environmental groups sent a joint letter to all their members saying: ‘…we have never faced such a serious threat to our environmental laws in Congress.  Polluters have blocked virtually all of our efforts to strengthen environmental laws. But still they are not satisfied.  Now, they are mounting an all-out effort to WEAKEN our most important environmental laws.’

“This week 173 citizens responded to the leaders of the “Big 15” with a letter of their own…

‘What prompts us to send this letter to you is our conviction that you have not identified those subverting Congress as our real adversaries in the struggle to save our communities and the natural world: the leaders of today’s giant corporations, and the powerful corporations they direct….

‘We believe the Earth has never before faced such large-scale devastation as is being inflicted by handfuls of executives running the largest 1000 or so industrial, financial, health, information, agricultural and other corporations.  And not since slavery was legal have the laws of the land been used so shamelessly to violate the democratic principles we hold dear…

‘We believe that it is too late to counter corporate power by working environmental law by environmental law, or regulatory struggle by regulatory struggle.  We don’t have sufficient time or resources to organize chemical by chemical, forest by forest, river by river, permit by permit, technology by technology, product by product, corporate disaster by corporate disaster…

‘But if we curb or cut off corporate power at its source, all our work will become easier…’”
Published in Rachel’s Environmental Weekly (no. 407, September 15, 1994)

September 16

2000 – Publication this month of “Rumors of USA Democracy Counterfeit: Land of Plenty Run By and For Few” by Greg Coleridge, Richard Grossman, and Mary Zepernick
“Along with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, an enduring myth of our society is the belief that the United States is a democracy. We learn it in school and hear it all the time in our popular culture, especially during this and every election year. While it is true that people have significantly expanded justice, equality and opportunity since the nation’s founding, most such gains actually came about only as a result of great popular movements. At every step, these movements confronted a Constitution and government institutions arrayed against them, as do organizers for justice today.

“For six years, we in POCLAD have been talking and writing about the relentless corporate seizure of the people’s authority to govern. Over the past year we have focused on the undemocratic nature of the Constitutional Convention, the Constitution itself, and the subsequent denial of the people’s governing authority by federal courts and legislatures. It may be painful to say, ‘Uncle Sam has no clothes!’ Yet all the digging and grappling, the discussing and analyzing, point in this direction.”
http://poclad.org/BWA/2000/BWA_2000_SEP.html

September 17

1787 – U.S. Constitution signed by delegates at Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia
The supreme law of the land, the Constitution was a revolutionary document in that it vested ultimate power in We the People, , as well as for its doctrines of federalism and separation of powers.

Wealthy, white, property-owning men who were very interested in protecting their property, however, crafted the document, in secret. Slavery was legal – slaves were deemed 3/5ths of a person only to give Southern states greater political power. Women had virtually no rights, while indigenous people had none at all. The public forced the framers to add a Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments). The issue of voting rights, however, was left to the states. The words Democracy and Corporation were nowhere mentioned.
Further background: http://poclad.org/BWA/2007/BWA_2007_DEC.html

2011 – Occupy Wall Street begins
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was a protest movement that began in Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street district of New York City. It was inspired by anti-austerity protests in Europe and the Middle East and has inspired movements for democracy around the world, including the current Nuit debout social movement in France. Hundreds of communities in the U.S. had their own Occupy movements, most involving physical encampments in public places, general assemblies involving consensus-based decision-making and direct action (both legal and illegal) over elections or lobbying.

The main issues raised by Occupy Wall Street were corruption, greed, the hijacking of government by corporations (especially banks and other financial institutions) and social and economic inequality (captured by the slogan “We are the 99%”).

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