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.”
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.”
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.”
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).
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.
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
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.”