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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REAL Democracy History Calendar: September 4 – 10

September 4

1957 – Arkansas governor calls out National Guard to prevent school integration
In the name of “Preserving the Peace,” Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, called in the National Guard to prevent African American students from enrolling in Little Rock’s Central High School. The action was a challenge to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling that racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional. Reacting to the use of Guard to back the court-ordered integration, President Eisenhower federalized the entire Arkansas National Guard and used it to protect the nine black students who entered the school.

September 5

1964 – Death of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, labor leader, activist, and feminist
“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.”

September 6

2012 – Publication of the article “How A Republican Appeals Court Just Made Citizens United Even Worse” by Ian Hillhiser
“One of the few silver linings on the Supreme Court’s election-buying decision in Citizens United was its holding that — although corporations are now free to spend as much money as they want to elect their preferred candidates — such spending could still be subject to disclosure laws so long as those laws bear a “substantial relation” to “‘providing the electorate with information’ about the sources of election-related spending.” The most Republican federal court of appeals in the country just wiped away much of this silver lining, however, striking down a Minnesota law requiring corporations seeking to buy elections to register their political fund and make regular public disclosures of its activities.”
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/06/805011/republican-court-of-appeals-makes-citizens-united-even-worse/

September 7

1873 – Birth of Carl Becker, historian
“Corporations have at different times been so far unable to distinguish freedom of speech from freedom of lying that their freedom has to be curbed.”

September 8

1941 – Birth of Bernie Sanders, Vermont Senator and 2016 Presidential Candidate
“Congress does not regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress.”

2014 – “Citizens Divided: Corporate Money, Speech, and Politics” debate
Indiana University in Bloomington hosts a public debate between David Cobb of Move to Amend’s National Leadership Team and James Bopp, General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech and lead attorney for Citizens United.
Watch the debate at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijSsZdCatTM

September 9

2009 – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on corporate constitutional rights
In hearing arguments during a special session of the court in the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission case, she said,
“What you are suggesting is that the courts, who created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons, and there could be an argument made that that was the Court’s error to start with … [imbuing] a creature of State law with human characteristics.”

2009 – Publication this month of the article “When Will Your Neighbor Join the Movement?” by Megan Wade
“All good philosophers know that a good answer is only a new question in disguise…Hiding in a description of how people join and build movements is the question of how to make that happen today. How are we – especially those of us in the movement for radical democracy – creating opportunities for people to meet their needs in empowering, democratic, and community-building ways? How are we training them and making sure meaningful actions are ready and waiting? How can we help ourselves and those around us acquire individual self-respect and collective self-confidence?”
http://poclad.org/BWA/2009/BWA_2009_SEP.html

September 10

1998 – Petition filed calling on the attorney general (AG) of California to revoke the charter of Union Oil of California (Unocal)
”We’re letting the people of California in on a well-kept secret,” said lead attorney Robert Benson. ”The people mistakenly assume that we have to try to control these giant corporate repeat offenders one toxic spill at a time, one layoff at a time, one human rights violation at a time. But the law has always allowed the attorney general to go to court to simply dissolve a corporation for wrongdoing and sell its assets to others who will operate in the public interest.”

“[T]he law has always allowed the attorney general to go to court to simply dissolve a corporation for wrongdoing….Baseball players and convicted individuals in California get only three strikes. Why should big corporations get endless strikes?”
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=1810

2003 – Release of the film “The Corporation”
“The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution meant to affect specific public functions to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person. The documentary concentrates mostly upon North American corporations, especially those in the United States. One theme is its assessment of corporations as persons, as a result of an 1886 case in the United States Supreme Court in which a statement by Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite led to corporations as ‘persons’ having the same rights as human beings, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
http://thecorporation.com

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 28 – September 3

August 28

1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech at the culmination of the March on Washington, D.C.
“In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
http://www.drmartinlutherkingjr.com

August 29

1786 – Shays’ Rebellion breaks out in western Massachusetts; debtor farmers try to prevent foreclosure of their mortgages
Shays ’ Rebellion was an armed uprising in Massachusetts during 1786 and 1787 led by Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays. Four thousand rebels (called Shaysites) rose up against perceived economic injustices (home foreclosures, bankruptcies, land seizures) by Massachusetts, but also against faraway elite rule, government corruption and regressive tax policies.

1936 – Birth of U.S. Senator and former Republican candidate for President John McCain
He called the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, “the most misguided, naive, uninformed, egregious decision of the United States Supreme Court I think in the 21st century.”

August 30

1944 – Birth of Molly Ivins
“It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our constitution to everyone in America.”

August 31

1910 – Theodore Roosevelt “New Nationalism” Speech Delivered at the Dedication of the John Brown Memorial Park in Osawatomie, Kansas
“The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man’s making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.

“There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done.” http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/new-nationalism-speech/

2015 – “Awkward! The idea of ‘corporate personhood’ relies on the same Amendment that gives birthright citizenship” article by Mark Ames
“[M]ost of the GOP candidates want to change the 14th Amendment to deny birthright citizenship to children born here to foreign parents…

“But beyond the twisted racist dementia fueling this, there’s another problem for these GOP candidates: Section One of the 14th Amendment, granting birthright citizenship to anyone born in the US, is also the same section of the same amendment interpreted by our courts to grant corporations “personhood”…

“So to repeat: GOP candidates from Trump and Bush down the line to Silicon Valley’s boy-disrupter Rand Paul want to revoke citizenship to living humans born in the US to foreign parents; but they support granting citizenship rights and guarantees to artificial persons –corporations – which are really legal fictions granted by the states, allowing a pool of investors legal liability and tax advantages in order to profit more than they otherwise would as mere living humans”…

“And here we are today—where we have an Amendment meant to protect vulnerable and abused minorities now under attack from Lincoln’s party, who at the same time want to use the same section in the same amendment to protect fictitious artificial persons and allow them greater rights and powers than even those of us born here to American parents.”
https://pando.com/2015/08/31/awkward-arguments-corporate-personhood-rely-same-amendment-gives-birthright-citizenship/

September 1

1868 – Birth of Frank McKinney Hubbard, American cartoonist, humorist, and journalist better known by his pen name “Kin” Hubbard
“If the government was as afraid of disturbing the consumer as it is of disturbing business, this would be some democracy.”

2005 – Publication of Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke
The book describes “how, contrary to received wisdom, water mainly flows uphill to the wealthy. Our most basic resource may one day be limited: our consumption doubles every twenty years—twice the rate of population increase. At the same time, increasingly transnational corporations are plotting to control the world’s dwindling water supply. In England and France, where water has already been privatized, rates have soared, and water shortages have been severe. The major bottled-water producers—Perrier, Evian, Naya, and now Coca-Cola and PepsiCo—are part of one of the fastest-growing and least-regulated industries, buying up freshwater rights and drying up crucial supplies.”

September 2

1885 – Rock Springs massacre
One hundred and fifty white miners in Wyoming, struggling to unionize so they could strike for better wages and work conditions, attack their Chinese fellow workers. Twenty-eight were killed, 15 wounded, and hundreds more were forced out of town.

Racism once again became an enemy to solidarity and justice.

1975 – Death of Mabel Vernon, U.S. suffragist, pacifist, and a national leader in the United States suffrage movement
Vernon was a Quaker and a member of the American Woman Suffrage Association. Inspired by the tactics of the Women’s Social and Political Union in Britain, she helped organize many public actions for women’s suffrage, including the “Silent Sentinels” — protests that involved daily picketing of Woodrow Wilson’s White House urging his support for the 19th Amendment.

September 3

2005 – Death of Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist
In a dissenting opinion in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 822 (1978), he stated:

“A State grants to a business corporation the blessings of potentially perpetual life and limited liability to enhance its efficiency as an economic entity. It might reasonably be concluded that those properties, so beneficial in the economic sphere, pose special dangers in the political sphere.

“Furthermore, it might be argued that liberties of political expression are not at all necessary to effectuate the purposes for which States permit commercial corporations to exist….

“I would think that any particular form of organization upon which the State confers special privileges or immunities different from those of natural persons would be subject to like regulation, whether the organization is a labor union, a partnership, a trade association, or a corporation.”

Note: Rehnquist was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Richard Nixon and to be its Chief Justice by President Ronald Reagan.

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 21 – 27

August 21

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 – Marin County, California Board Supervisors votes unanimously in favor of overturning Citizens United
In addition to supporting a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision, the resolution also called for limiting corporate constitutional rights.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Move_To_Amend

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 passed 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/

August 26

1998 – Letter by Richard Grossman on New York Times obituary of Lewis Powell published on this date
“The headline of the Times’ lengthy obituary of Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell labeled Powell a ‘Crucial Centrist Justice.’ But Justice Powell did not represent the ‘center’ when the issue was human and environmental rights in conflict with the market economy, or people in conflict with corporate privilege having proper access to the civil justice system…

“Where on the political spectrum did Mr. Justice Powell sit? Readers of The Times could have decided this for themselves if Linda Greenhouse had examined Powell as corporate ideologue, and had explored his role in helping the United States Supreme Court expand the privileges of business corporations while diluting the constitutional rights of people.” Grossman co-founded the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD).

2015 – Donald Trump on money in elections
“The fact is that whether it’s Jeb or Hillary or any of them, they’re all controlled by these people and the people that control them are the special interests, the lobbyists, and the donors.” [Note: …and that includes Donald].

August 27

1936 – Birth of Douglas Lummis, author of Radical Democracy
“The spirit of democracy appears now and then in history, at those moments when people fight for it. If you try to achieve democracy by waiting for it, you will wait forever.”

1963 – Death of W.E.B. DuBois, U.S. sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor
“Call back some faint spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln, and when again we can hold a fair election on real issues, let’s vote, and not till then. Is this impossible? Then democracy in America is impossible.”
“It cannot be reconciled with any philosophy of democracy that 50,000,000 white folk of the British Empire should be able to make the destiny of 450,000,000 yellow, brown and black people a matter of solely their own internal decision.”

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 14 – 20

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.”

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/08/they-live-we-sleep-a-dictatorship-disguised-as-a-democracy.html

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

Update: 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.”

1956 – Birth of Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, Venezuelan ambassador to the U.S.A.    

“Let’s have as much representative democracy as necessary, and as much participatory democracy as possible.”

August 19                 

2003 – Federal District Court overturns S. Dakota “Amendment E” banning nonfamily 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

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

           

                                   

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 7 – 13

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”

“Supreme Court 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.”

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

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.”

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                      

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.”

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/08/dont-be-fooled-by-the-political-game-the-illusion-of-freedom-in-america.html

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 31 – August 6

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…”

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/08/citizens-united-target-best-buy

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.

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.

“…[W]e 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…

“That we live now in an economy that is not sustainable is not the fault only of a few mongers of power and heavy equipment. We all are implicated. We all, in the course of our daily economic life, consent to it, whether or not we approve of it.”

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

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 24 – 30

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:
(a) 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

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

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.”

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

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 17 – 23

July 17

1790 – Death of Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations – who condemned corporations
“Smith saw corporations, as much as governments, as instruments for suppressing the competitive forces of the market, and his condemnation of them was uncompromising. He makes specific mention of corporations twelve times in his classic thesis, and not once does he attribute any favorable quality to them. Typical is his observation: ‘It is to prevent this reduction of price, and consequently of wages and profit, by restraining that free competition which would most certainly occasion it, that all corporations, and the greater part of corporation laws, have been established.’”
David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule the World, Kumarian Press, 1995. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Korten/RiseCorpPower_WCRW.html

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

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.”

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