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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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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