REAL Democracy History Calendar: February 19 – 25

February 19

1942 – Japanese-Americans forced into Concentration Camps in the United States (Executive Order 9066).
Executive order by Franklin Delano Roosevelt forces 111,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese residents into concentration camps until 1946. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mr97qyKA2s

February 20

1895 – Death of Frederick Douglass, abolitionist, social reformer, orator, and writer
“This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

February 21

2012 – Board of commission of Orange County CA passes a resolution supporting an amendment to the Constitution declaring that corporations are not people
This action is part of the growing movement to end the bizarre legal doctrine that corporations, creations of the state, possess many of the same Constitutional rights, including those in the Bill of Rights, as human persons.

February 22

1838 – As white men gain voting rights, free black men lose theirs
“Since Jackson’s presidency, there’s been a push to give all white men the vote, even if they don’t own property.
Right now, free black men have the vote in several states. But as states revamp their constitutions to loosen voter requirements for white men, blacks are being stripped of rights they had. Pennsylvania’s constitution of 1790 gave the vote to ‘every freeman of the age of twenty-one years.’
Today that was changed to say ‘every white freeman.’”
Harper’s Weekly Source: http://constitutioncenter.org/timeline/html/cw04_11998.html

1966 – Passage of Bank Merger Act
Anti-competitive mergers are permitted if they are outweighed by the convenience and needs of the community to be served.

1987 – Death of Andy Warhol , pop artist
“I am a deeply superficial person.”
If you think that statement is oxymoronic, how about this: a “corporate person.”

February 23

1868 – Birth of W.E.B. DuBois, African American activist, scholar, writer, and co-founder of the NAACP
“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.”

1869 – Minnesota Grange is organized
The national Grange, founded by former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley, became a powerful political force against corporate monopolies among western farmers.

Minnesota Grangers resolved in 1873: “We, the farmers, mechanics and laborers of Minnesota, deem the triumph of the people in this contest with monopolies essential to the perpetuation of our free institutions and the promotion of our private and national prosperity.”

February 24

1803 – U.S. Supreme Court establishes supreme authority of the U.S. Supreme Court
Marbury v. Madison (5 U.S. 137) established the concept of “judicial review.” The Supreme Court ruled that they were supreme, and Congress did not contest it. This gave them the power to make law. President Jefferson said: “The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”

February 25

1791 – Creation of the First Bank of the United States
The federal government issued a 20-year charter (very unusual at the time since most corporate charters, or licenses, were issued by states) to create the first national private bank. The bank was given permission to create money as debt. Its paper money was accepted for taxes. Eighty percent of its shares were privately owned, and 75% of those were foreign owned (mostly by the English and Dutch). Alexander Hamilton championed the first national private bank; Jefferson, Madison and others opposed it.

1986 – U.S. Supreme Court rules that corporations have “negative speech” rights
The Court decreed in Pacific Gas & Electric v. Public Utilities Commission (475 U.S. 1) that a consumer advocacy group could not force the company to use extra space in their billing envelope for information. This upheld the corporation’s right not to speak (“negative speech” rights) and protected the corporation’s “freedom of mind.”

Justice William Rehnquist, appointed by Richard Nixon, dissented, declaring that, “[n]or do I believe that negative free speech rights, applicable to individuals and perhaps the print media, should be extended to corporations generally.” In a separate dissent, Justices White, Stevens and Rehnquist stated: “To ascribe to such entities an ‘intellect’ or ‘mind’ for freedom of conscience purposes, is to confuse metaphor with reality.”

 

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: February 12 – 18

February 12

1809 – Birth of Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I cannot be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse.” From First Inaugural Address, 1861.

1999 – “Human Rights vs. Corporate ‘Rights'” by Mary Zepernick
“Some folks, alarmed by the corporate usurpation of our power to govern, seek to ‘level the playing field.’ But this is not the people v. corporations suiting up for a contest between two equal teams. Becoming self-governing, in charge of our common life and institutions, isn’t a game; it’s the work of We the People… Corporations should be servants of the people, not their masters.”
Source: OpEd published in Cape Cod Times

February 13

2014 – Publication this month of “Banking on Never-Ending Power and Rights” by Greg Coleridge, By What Authority
“Given the increasing omnipotence of money in determining who gets elected, what political voices get heard, when laws get passed, which programs get funded and how regulations are enacted and implemented, understanding the role of banking corporations in the creation and circulation of our nation’s money and in their lock-down control of our “monetary system” is essential to (re)gain political and economic self-governance.

…Giving banking corpses the license to print money, however, dwarfs every other form of privatization/corporatization of our society in terms of transferring economic and political power.
…Compounding the power for banking corporations to freely create money is their ability to leverage existing bank deposits — via fractional reserve banking – and create ten or more times as much money as they actually have on deposit. That’s vast economic power. And with vast economic power comes vast political power.

…While different fundamental reforms divide the public from a practical standpoint (i.e. there’s only so many causes any one person can work on at one time), changing our nation’s basic legal and constitutional ground rules can unite us.

Enacting Move to Amend’s ‘We the People Amendment’ declaring that only human beings, not corporations, possess inalienable constitutional rights and that political money is not equal to free speech helps all of us working for any fundamental reform.”
Source: http://poclad.org/BWA/2014/BWA_2014_Feb.html

February 14

1837 – Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge Supreme Court decision, 36 U.S. 420 (1837)
“[T]he continued existence of a government would be of no great value, if by implications and presumptions, it was disarmed of the powers necessary to accomplish the ends of its creation; and the functions it was designed to perform, transferred to the hands of privileged corporations.”

2015 – “What the BLEEP Happened to Hip Hop” held 2-day event in Seattle
Hip Hop Congress and Move to Amend partner presented on this date: “What the Bleep Happened to Hip Hop?”, a multi-racial and intergenerational public education event. These events have been organized in several cities around the country and more are planned. They are part of a larger national campaign seeking to raise awareness of the dangerous power corporations currently wield over the hip hop industry specifically, and over the arts, culture and society in general.

February 15

1904 – Death of Marc Hanna, political manager of President William McKinley, U.S. Senator, businessman
“There are two things important in politics. The first is money. I can’t remember what the second one is.”
McKinley’s 1896 campaign, orchestrated by Hanna, was (in)famous as the most expensive presidential contest to that date, and is regarded as setting the stage for “modern” American political campaigns.

February 16

2011 – Resolution introduced in Washington State Senate calling for a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not persons under U.S. law
Washington State Senator Adam Kline introduced the resolution.

February 17

1971 – Death of Adolf Berle, lawyer, educator, diplomat, and author of “The Modern Corporation and Private Property”
“A democracy is predicated on the idea that ordinary men and women are capable of governing themselves.”

February 18

1922 – Capper Volstead Act, a “Magna Carta of Cooperation,” becomes law
The Co-operative Marketing Associations Act provided “associations” of persons producing agricultural products certain exemptions from antitrust laws. Before its passage, corporations used the Sherman Act and Clayton Antitrust Act to challenge farmers from forming voluntary cooperative associations to process, handle and market their products. The Act represented the result of a long struggle by farmers for their right to organize cooperatives.

 

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: February 5 – 11

February 5

1900 – Birth of Adlai Stevenson II, Democratic Party Presidential candidate
“The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal…is the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.”

February 6

1950 – Supreme Court decision: United States v. Morton Salt Co., (338 U.S. 632, 650) – corporations are endowed with public attributes
Corporations “are endowed with public attributes. They have a collective impact upon society, from which they derive their privilege as artificial entities.”

February 7

1919 – Michigan Supreme Court rules that the primary purpose of corporations is profit
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled in Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. (170 NW 668), “A business corporation is organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders. The powers of the directors are to be employed for that end.”

“Stockholder Primacy” is established. This is still the leading case on corporate purpose. Henry Ford was sued by his shareholders for a plan in which he proposed to sell his cars at below-market prices so he could create more jobs and “spread the benefits of this industrial system to the greatest possible number, to help them build up their lives and their homes.” The Court ruled against Ford and for maximizing profit for stockholders.

February 8

1887 – Passage of Dawson Land Allotment Act
Ownership of communal land by indigenous people became illegal. Millions of acres of collectively owned native lands are sold to white squatters.

1996 – Telecommunications Act becomes law – results in more media concentration, less diversity, and higher prices
The Act was the first major revisions of the 1934 Communications Act. The law literally gave corporate broadcasters for free up to $70 billion worth of public airwaves in TV licenses, who have failed to use the licenses to serve the public interest – including providing substantive local news and public affairs reporting and coverage of congressional, local and state elections. The Act also ended limits on how many radio and TV stations could be owned by one corporation, deregulated cable rates, eased cross-ownership rules between broadcast and cable networks, and reduced public accountability by extending the term of a broadcast license and making it more difficult for citizens to challenge those license renewals.

The legislation was supposed to save consumers $550 billion, including $333 billion in
lower long-distance rates, $32 billion in lower local phone rates, and $78 billion in lower cable bills. But according to Common Cause, “cable rates surged by about 50 percent, and local phone rates went up more than 20 percent” in the first 10 years. “And study after study has documented that profit-driven media conglomerates are investing less in news and information, and that local news in particular is failing to provide viewers with the information they need to participate in their democracy.

Media corporations invested heavily via lobbying and campaign contributions in support of the Act.
http://www.commoncause.org/research-reports/National_050905_Fallout_From_The_Telecommunications_Act_2.pdf

2010 – Statement (called a “Minute”) of Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) on Human Rights and Corporations
“A fundamental Friends belief is that every person has inherent worth and dignity regardless of religion, race, nationality, ethnicity, income, gender, physical ability or sexual orientation. Humans have the capacity for emotion, imagination, awareness, self-reflection, empathy, aspirations, reason, creativity, responsibility and more. Every human being possesses inalienable rights simply by being human. Government laws and constitutions have affirmed many of these rights.

“Corporations are not human and possess no human traits. They have no inalienable rights. They are entities, chartered by the State, with a purpose to serve the public by providing goods and/or services. They are nothing more than a set of legal documents much like deeds, wills and other warrants.

“Historically, corporations were created to be subordinate to human persons. The State can revoke a corporate charter if it does not follow its terms.

“Despite the recent Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs FEC, granting corporations greater political free speech powers to contribute to political campaigns and despite past Supreme Court decisions granting corporations the same legal status as living, breathing human beings, rights reserved exclusively for human beings under the Bill of Rights and other sections of the US Constitution should not apply to corporations.

Corporations are not persons. Equating the two is not only a perversion of laws and constitutions but a usurpation of self-governance and perversion of life itself.“

February 9

1737 – Birth of Thomas Paine, American revolutionary
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

1944 – Birth of Alice Walker, American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

February 10

1936 – Supreme Court decision declares that newspaper corporations have 1st Amendment free speech rights
A newspaper corporation has a 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech that would be applied to the states through the 14th Amendment, according to Grosjean v. American Press Co., Inc. (297 U.S. 233). The Court ruled that the corporation was free to sell advertising in newspapers without being taxed. This is the first 1st Amendment protection for corporations. What gives a newspaper corporation this free speech right, however, is the fact that it delivers news and opinions, not that it is, per se, a corporation.

1944 – Birth of Frances Moore Lappé, author of 18 books including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet
“Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but by a scarcity of democracy.”

February 11

1812 – Birth of Thomas Welles Bartley, Ohio Supreme Court Justice who defied a US Supreme Court decision by claiming a corporate charter was a democratic law, not a contract protected by the Constitution
Bartley wrote the majority opinion in an 1853 Ohio Supreme Court tax-related case (The Bank of Toledo v. The City of Toledo and John R. Bond) and concurred with the majority in three other tax cases during the same year asserting the right of legislatures to tax the banks, which the banks claimed was a violation of the banks’ franchise. The Ohio Supreme Court decisions directly challenged the 1819 Dartmouth v. Woodward U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“Bartley held the position that the franchise of a private corporation always was subservient to the public welfare and a charter or contract between a private corporation and the state that created the franchise was in reality a law, not a contract, and did not fall under the purview of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. His opinion also stated that the power to tax could not be surrendered by the legislature and that, while the government is bound in good faith to protect contracts and private property, its paramount obligation is to protect the public welfare… The U.S. Supreme Court later that year reversed the Supreme Court of Ohio’s decisions when it ruled in the case of Piqua Branch of The State Bank of Ohio v. Jacob Knoup, Treasurer of Miami County (1853).”
Source: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/SCO/formerjustices/bios/bartley.asp

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: January 29 – February 4

January 29

1936 – First “sit down” strike in Akron, Ohio
A sit-down strike is a form of civil disobedience in which organized workers take over their work site by “sitting down” where they are. More effective than a “picket strike” by workers outside worksites, sit down strikes prevented owners from using violence (since it would destroy property), replace them with “scab” strikebreakers or sometimes from moving production elsewhere. It was a radical tool used effectively to win immediate wage increases and better working conditions and eventually union recognition in many industries across the U.S. — though the first such strikes were organized by workers without the support of their union leadership.

The most well known Flint sit down strike occurred later in 1936. The best description of the Akron strike was in the book Industrial Valley by Ruth McKinney.

January 30

1649 – King Charles I asserts his sovereignty over corporations
In 1629, King Charles I granted a charter to the Massachusetts Bay Company. In 1664, the King sent inspectors to see whether this company had been complying with the terms of the charter. The company heads objected, declaring that such an inspection threatened their rights. On behalf of the King, the inspectors responded:

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

1976 – U.S. Supreme Court declares money is equivalent to speech in Buckley v. Valeo [424 U.S. 1]
U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in landmark decision that political money is equivalent to speech. This major ruling greatly expanded 1st Amendment “”free speech”” protections to include financial contributions to candidates and political parties. The decision opened the door to major increases in political campaign contributions (or investments).

January 31

1865 – 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enacted
Slavery is abolished in the U.S. (except in prisons). This Amendment changed Article 4, Section 2 of the Constitution. People are no longer deemed “property.” Two decades later, however, the court will rule the reverse also to be true — that property organized as a corporation is a legal “person.”

1938 – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in dissent says “person” in the 14th Amendment doesn’t include the corporation
Dissenting in Connecticut General Life Ins. v. Johnson (303 U.S. 77) Justice Black states: “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.”

2001 California legislators oppose North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in an open letter to US Trade Representative
“We are concerned…that as presently administered, the NAFTA and the WTO agreements diminish the sovereignty of states…and…shift decision-making power from elected officials to unelected international trade officials…[W]e, as California legislators, find it problematic to be told by remote and unelected trade officials the paradigms or standards we must apply in writing environmental and public health laws for the people of our state…[S]uch decisions are best made by elected officials in accessible and democratic fora.”
Source: http://constitutioncenter.org/timeline/html/cw04_11998.html

February 1

1872 – Birth of Alexander Meiklejohn, philosopher and educator
The 1st Amendment “does not intend to guarantee men freedom to say what some private interest pays them to say for its own advantage. It intends only to make men free to say what, as citizens, they think, what they believe about the general welfare.”

1902 – Birth of Langston Hughes, American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist
“I swear to the Lord, I still can’t see, why Democracy means everybody but me.”

2016 – Judy Ziewacz becomes first woman to lead the 100 year-old National Cooperative Business Association
The NCBA is the largest U.S. membership organization for cooperatives — businesses that are jointly-owned and democratically-controlled. http://ncba.coop

As of a few years ago, there were more than 29,000 cooperatives operating in every sector of the US economy, sustaining 2 million jobs each year, contributing $652 billion in annual sales and possessing $3 trillion in assets.

February 2

1819- Supreme Court declares a corporate charter is a contract in Dartmouth College v. Woodward (17 U.S. 518), protected by the Contracts Clause of the Constitution
The New Hampshire legislature wished to convert the private Dartmouth College into a public university by changing its charter, or license, which had been originally issued by the King of England. The legislature believed that education was too important to be left to private interests; thus, the school needed to become publicly accountable. The Supreme Court sided with the College’s trustees, stating a corporate charter is a contract, not to be altered under the Constitution’s Contracts Clause.

The word “corporation” does not appear in the Constitution. The Court’s decision transformed a corporate charter issued by a government as a mere privilege into a contract that a government cannot alter. The ruling gave corporations standing in the Constitution. Governments had greater difficulty controlling corporations. States began to include specific limitations into charters they granted.

February 3

1870 – States ratify the 15th Amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race
Black males gain the right to vote. “The right of citizens…to vote shall not be denied or abridged…on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

2016 – “The Conservative Case for Campaign-Finance Reform” by Richard W. Painter published in the New York Times
“Why should conservative voters care? First, big money in politics encourages big government…

“Campaign contributions also breed more regulation…

“Social conservatives and faith-based voters should care about big money in politics because it drowns out their voices on issues from abortion and euthanasia to gambling and pornography…

“Our campaign-finance system is also a national security risk…

“All this is a betrayal of conservative values…

“More important, the system is a betrayal of the vision of participatory democracy embraced by the founders of our country…

February 4

1793 – Passage of the Fugitive Slave Act
The law (as well as a similar one adopted in 1850) was passed to expand constitutionally embedded property rights of slave owners (Art 1, Sec 4). The “return servants clause,” after all, defined people as property. Those Acts paid cash rewards from public funds for each slave captured, prohibited slaves from defending themselves in court, and prevented slaves being tried by juries.

1887 – Formation of the first regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) – a “sheep in wolf’s clothing”
Railroad corporations designed the ICC in response to public demands for fair rates and to prevent rate discrimination. It and subsequent regulatory agencies, however, were established chiefly to protect corporations from the public.

Prominent RR barons supported the ICC’s creation. Charles F. Adams (later President of the Union Pacific Railroad Co.) stated, “What is desired…is something having a good sound, but quite harmless [purpose], which will impress the popular mind with the idea that a great deal is being done, when, in reality, very little is intended to be done.”

So rather than have the public fundamentally control and define corporate actions via charters and/or create or expand public ownership of basic services, regulatory agencies were established. They have become the major target/distraction of activist opposition to corporate actions.

Corporate anthropologist Jane Anne Morris calls them “Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing.” Her excellent description of the history is at http://www.poclad.org/BWA/1998/BWA_1998_FALL.html

 

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: January 22 – 28

January 22

1890 – The United Mine Workers Association (UMWA) was founded in Columbus, Ohio
The UMWA sought to improve the lives of miners through reduced work hours, higher wages, and improved mine safety conditions. In 1894, Ohio Mine Worker president John McBride stated, “All honest, ardent advocates of labor’s cause that corporate power, when aided and abetted by the judicial, executive and military arm of the state and national governments can and will override the rights of our people and oppress wage workers, regardless of the efforts of organized labor, as now constituted and directed, to prevent it… By entering into politics we can free ourselves from the chain of slavery

1973 – Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision
The Supreme Court rules that state statutes against abortion are vague and infringe on a woman’s 9th and 14th Amendment rights (to privacy). Abortion is legalized in the first trimester of pregnancy.

January 23

1964 – 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enacted
Poll taxes, which were used to keep Blacks and others from voting in some states, are abolished. “The right…to vote…shall not be denied…by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”

January 24

1965 – Death of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
“Lobbyists are the touts of protected industries.”

1910 – Birth of “Granny D” — grandmother who walked across the U.S. for campaign finance reform
Doris Haddock achieved national fame when, between the ages of 88 and 90, she walked across the continental United States to advocate for campaign finance reform. Granny D walked over 3200 miles, starting on January 1, 1999 in California and ending in Washington, DC on February 29, 2000. She touched tens of thousands of people — calling on the public and Congress to press for legislation that would curb private and corporate money in elections and to expand public financing of elections.

January 25

2012 – Petaluma, CA City Council passes a resolution calling for a reversal of the Citizens United decision
Concerned democracy activists across the nation worked on such actions following the 2011 Citizens United decision. The lack of real democracy, however, predates Citizens United by more than a century. Modifying or even reversing the Supreme Court decision would not return the country to a democratic nirvana, because that reality did not exist. Creating real democracy will begin with overturning the doctrines of corporate personhood and money as speech that have been in force far longer than Citizens United.

January 26

1907 – Tillman Act enacted, corporate contributions illegal
This was the first legislation passed by Congress in the United States prohibiting monetary contribution to national political campaigns by corporations.

2016 – Washington Ballot Measure Approved for November Election
The Secretary of State’s Office for Washington State Elections certified Initiative 735 for the ballot today. I-735 will ask Washington voters to decide this November whether to join sixteen other states in calling for their state legislature and Congress to propose an amendment that makes clear that constitutional rights belong to human beings only and that money is not protected speech, effectively overturning the controversial decision in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

“We are inspired by the tremendous efforts by our Washington volunteers in the WAmend Coalition and the people of Washington State who made this ballot measure a reality! This represents an overwhelming rejection of the Supreme Court’s expansion of corporate power,” said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. “Voters in Washington have the opportunity to join a growing movement of people from all walks of life rejecting the overwhelming influence of big corporations in politics, and demanding a genuine democracy that is accountable to We the People, not wealthy interests.”
Source: http://movetoamend.org/washington-ballot-measure-approved-november-election

January 27

2010 – Death of Howard Zinn, Historian
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think. When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”

2014 – Release of the documentary “Legalize Democracy” by Move to Amend
“Legalize Democracy” is a documentary film by Dennis Trainor, Jr. about creating real democracy – why the We the People amendment (HJR 48) is needed, how social movements have historically produced fundamental change for justice and how you can get involved.
Watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFsq2WMxhzE

January 28

2010 – “Cold Case Democracy and the Doctrine of ‘Corporate Personhood’” by Vi Ransel article posted on Global Research website
The article begins with this quote by Alex Carey and Andrew Lohrey:
“There have been two principal aspects to the growth of democracy in this century (20th): the extension of the popular franchise (e.g. the right to vote) and the growth of the union movement. These developments have presented corporations with potential threats to their power…”
Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/cold-case-democracy-and-the-doctrine-of-corporate-personhood/17201

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: January 15 – 21

January 15

1929 – Birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

It’s no time to remain silent to injustice, corporate rule, and plutocracy.

Like so much else in society, however, corporations have hijacked part of the legacy of MLK – specifically his memorial in Washington, DC
http://www.counterpunch.org/2010/02/17/the-corporate-hijacking-of-the-martin-luther-king-jr-memorial/

January 16

2017 – Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday (It’s January 15 in 2018)
“In the years before his assassination, King re-shifted his focus on economic justice in northern cities as well as the South. He launched the Poor People’s Campaign and put forth an economic and social bill of rights that espoused ‘a national responsibility to provide work for all.’ King advocated for a jobs guarantee, which would require the government to provide jobs to anyone who could not find one and end unemployment. The bill of rights also included ‘the right of every citizen to a minimum income’ and ‘the right to an adequate education.’”

From: “4 Ways Martin Luther King Was More Radical Than You Thought” http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2014/01/20/3177871/martin-luther-king-radicalism/

January 17

1706 – Birth of Benjamin Franklin – claims bankers primary reason for Revolution
“The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction. The inability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the prime reason for the revolutionary war.”

1893 – Death of former President Rutherford B. Hayes
Hayes lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel Tilden in 1877. Twenty electoral votes were “unresolved.” The (s)election of Hayes as President was determined by a special commission, controlled by the CEO of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and made up of Supreme Court justices and members of Congress. A deal was struck, The Compromise of 1877, that Hayes would receive the 20 electoral votes if he agreed to pull federal troops from the South, what ended Reconstruction and the launch of Jim Crow racist laws. Those same troops were shifted to put down the first national labor strike in 1877, resulting in the death of over 100 strikers.

1961 – Farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower — indicts the “military industrial complex”
“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.”

January 18

2012 – American Sustainable Business Council report: “Small Businesses Reject Role of Money in Politics; View Citizens United Decision as Bad for Business
“Small business owners view the Citizens United decision as bad for small business:
66% of those surveyed said the two-year-old ruling that gives corporations unlimited spending power in elections is bad for small businesses. Only 9% said it was good for small business.”

The Council spans a growing network of business associations across the United States, which in turn represents over 200,000 businesses and 325,000 business executives, owners, investors, and others.
Source: http://asbcouncil.org/sites/default/files/files/poll_results_money_in_politics.pdf

January 19

2000 – Role of Foundations in Social Change — “Letter to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation” by Richard L. Grossman & Ward Morehouse of POCLAD
“Foundation money in general perpetuates the idea that dominion over corporate decisions is not the public’s business, indeed, is well beyond the public’s constitutional authority. With few exceptions, the foundations which demonstrate interest in giant corporations:
1. give money in small dollops to many small citizen groups resisting specific corporate assaults…one at a time, ad infinitum;
2. give larger dollops to trustworthy cultural icons to promote voluntary corporate codes of conduct and encourage ‘cooperation’ between powerful artificial corporate persons and weak natural persons; and
3. give gobs to stagnant think tanks and law professors to explore corporate internal decision-making, efficiency, and transparency, without even lip service to this nation’s ideal that in a democracy, it is civil society’s responsibility to define all institutions.”
Source: Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy by Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy, 2001, p. 228

January 20

1998 – “Oprah Winfrey vs. The Beef People” airs on PBS Newshour
“Texas cattle producers sued Oprah in 1998 for “defaming” hamburgers and beef by discussing mad cow disease on her program. Texas is 1 of 13 states with “food disparagement acts” that make it easier for food corporations to sue their critics, including journalists and authors, for libel. They also allow for punitive damages and attorney fees. Oprah was accused of “whipping up anti-beef ‘lynch mob'” against beef, which resulted in a drop in beef prices. Food libel laws are meant to silence and intimidate — denying human beings first amendment free speech rights.
Oprah won her case in court — no doubt due, in part, to her ability to hire the very best lawyers.
Source: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law-jan-june98-fooddef_1-20/

2012 – Occupy the Courts campaign, organized by Move to Amend
On the 2nd anniversary of the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, Move to Amend affiliate and partner groups connect with local Occupy groups and other organizations to hold mass actions at federal court buildings across the nation, educating about and protesting the Citizens United decision and calling for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood and money as speech.

January 21

2010 – Citizens United v. Federal Elections Committee [558 U.S.310] Supreme Court decision
Supreme Court overturns most provisions of McCain-Feingold legislation that restricts corporate money in federal elections and reverses a hundred-year precedent of Congressional authority to regulate federal elections. The decision merely expands already existing constitutional “rights” to spend money in elections.

2010 – Move to Amend national campaign is launched
Multi-racial and inter-generational outside-the-beltway grassroots organization begins. It seeks a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would abolish all never-intended inalienable constitutional rights for corporate entities (corporate “personhood”) and to end the doctrine that money is equivalent to free speech.

2017 – Women’s March – global marches to promote human rights, etc.
“The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. The rallies were aimed at Donald Trump, immediately following his inauguration as President of the United States, largely due to statements and positions attributed to him regarded by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive. It was the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history.The first planned protest was in Washington, D.C., and is known as the Women’s March on Washington.”  Source: Wikipedia

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: January 8 – 14

January 8

1908 – U.S. Supreme Court grants 4th Amendment rights to corporations
Corporations are granted Bill of Rights protections against “search and seizure” by the U.S. Supreme Court in Consolidated Rendering Co. v. Vermont, 207 U.S. 541. The corporation’s agents asserted and were granted a Constitutional right to privacy.

1870 – Suffragist Lucy Stone’s newspaper The Woman’s Journal published its first issue
“American weekly suffragist periodical, first published on January 8, 1870, by Lucy Stone and her husband, Henry Blackwell, to address a broad segment of middle-class female society interested in women’s rights. As an official publication of the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), it published the views of the AWSA. Because the periodical was ‘devoted to the interests of Woman—to her educational, industrial, legal and political Equality, and especially to her right of Suffrage,’ it printed speeches, debates, and convention notes that pertained to suffrage for women.”
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Womans-Journal

January 9

1893 – US Supreme Court decision grants corporations Bill of Rights protections with the application of the 5th Amendment to a non-human corporate entity
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Nobel v. Union River Logging [147 U.S. 165], granting to corporations for the first time inalienable rights contained in the Bill of Rights. The 5th Amendment says: “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

January 10

1843 – Birth of Lord Acton, English historian, politician, and writer
“The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought, sooner or later, is the people versus the banks.“

1997 – A letter from President Bill Clinton to Mayor of Toledo, Ohio on limits of Presidential power over corporate decisions is referenced in the following:
“The mayor had asked the president for help in getting the Chrysler Corporation to build a new Jeep factory within Toledo city limits to replace the ancient one which Chrysler Corporation was closing.

“The President of the United States, leader of the most powerful nation the world has ever known, elected head of a government always eager to celebrate the uniqueness of its democracy to the point of forcing it upon other nations, wrote:
‘As I am sure you know, my Administration cannot endorse any potential location for the new production site. My Intergovernmental Affairs staff will be happy to work with you once the Chrysler Board of Directors has made its decision.’

“Our president may not have a clue, but We the People did not grant away our sovereignty when we made Chrysler into a corporation. When we gave the Chrysler Corporation authority to manufacture automobiles, we made the people of Toledo not its subjects, nor Chrysler Corporation their supreme authority.”
From “Corporations, Accountability, and Responsibility,” by Richard Grossman in Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy, p. 141

January 11

1755 – Birth of Alexander Hamilton, U.S. “founding father,” first U.S. Treasury Secretary, anti-democrat
Hamilton labeled We the People as the “mob at the gate.” He also said, “Our real disease which is Democracy.” Hamilton was the major proponent of providing a 20-year federal charter to the mis-named First National Bank of the United States, the U.S.’ first private central bank. Seventy-five percent of the bank’s stock was foreign-owned. Federal charters, or licenses, were very unusual at the time, as most corporate charters were issued by the states, which were closer to We the People.

January 12

1729 – Birth of Edmund Burke, Irish Member of Parliament and author – attributed quote
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

We need to speak out and act up for democracy and human rights in all its forms and to end corporate rule and plutocracy.

January 13

2007 – The article, “Who Rules America,” by Professor James Petras is published on Global Research
“Within the financial ruling class…political leaders come from the public and private equity banks, namely Wall Street – especially Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and others. They organize and fund both major parties and their electoral campaigns. They pressure, negotiate and draw up the most comprehensive and favorable legislation on global strategies and sectoral policies…They pressure the government to “bailout” bankrupt and failed speculative firms and to balance the budget by lowering social expenditures instead of raising taxes on speculative “windfall” profits…These private equity banks are involved in every sector of the economy, in every region of the world economy and increasingly speculate in the conglomerates which are acquired. Much of the investment funds now in the hands of the US investment banks, hedge funds and other sectors of the financial ruling class originated in the profits extracted from workers in the manufacturing and service sector.”
Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-rules-america/4441

January 14

1914 – Death in this month of Ambrose Bierce, U.S. editorialist, journalist and writer
“Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”

1938 – Birth of Dorothy Zellner – civil rights activist, feminist
Zellner was co-editor of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s newsletter, the Student Voice. “Zellner was arrested at a CORE demonstration in Miami in 1960 and participated in sit-ins in New Orleans before joining Julian Bond as co-editor of the Student Voice, which built community among SNCC’s widely dispersed field workers. She also became SNCC’s media relations person, helping generate support for the organization and bring it to national attention. She handled fundraising and helped screen volunteers for Freedom Summer. Zellner worked as a nurse for several years before joining the Center for Constitutional Rights in 1984. In 1998, she became director of publications and development for the Queens College School of Law. She lectures and writes frequently about the civil rights movement and co-edited Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. “
https://jwa.org/people/zellner-dorothy

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: January 1-7

January 1

1808 – Congress abolishes African slave trade
While no new slaves were imported to the U.S., existing slaves remained, and of course black children continued to be born into slavery. Slavery would not end in the U.S. for all except prisoners until the abolitionist movement and the Civil War terminated the “peculiar institution” with the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.

1817 – Second National Bank of the U.S. opens
The Second National Bank (like the First National Bank before it) was chartered (or licensed) by Congress, even though most corporations at the time were chartered by the states. Charters defined what corporations could and could not do. As such, they were democratic tools used by the public to control or define corporations.

While called “national,” the Bank was not public but actually a commercial/corporate bank with the power to issue money directly (just like the First National Bank). The Bank issued initially 20 times more money than it had in reserve as loans. This led to financial speculation and large corporate profits. A year later, it stopped issuing loans, resulting in a severe contraction of the money supply, which led to massive bankruptcies, and the Panic of 1819. President Andrew Jackson believed the bank was a political and economic threat to the nation. He vetoed a bill in 1832 renewing the bank’s charter.

January 2

1882- Incorporation of the Standard Oil Trust
John D. Rockefeller, head of the Standard Oil Corporation, and his associates combined their separate but related companies under a single group of “trustees” to form the nation’s first “trust,” a single organization which consolidated economic power, amassed enormous political leverage and granted Rockefeller considerable personal control as the trustee who owned the most shares. The trust model was repeated in other industries. It led to passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890.

January 3

1793 – Birth of Lucretia Mott, Quaker feminist and abolitionist
Mott co-organized the first national Women’s Right Convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. The gathering was advertised as “a convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman.”

1883 – Birth of Clement Attlee, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 and the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955
“Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.”
Democracy requires listening…and hearing…not just talking. That’s real discussion.

January 4

1774 – Birth of William M. Richardson, New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice, who opposed Dartmouth College’s claim to Constitutional protection under the Contracts Clause
Following the American Revolution, democratic legislators in New Hampshire sought to convert private Dartmouth College into Dartmouth University, and thereby make it publicly accountable. The College trustees objected, claiming their charter with the King of England was actually a contract and protected by the Constitution’s Contracts Clause (“No State shall…pass any…Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts….”). The state legislature claimed it was not valid since the King no longer ruled and that legislators had the power to issue and revoke charters.

Writing for the majority in defense of the state legislature, Richardson stated it would not serve the public interest, “…to place the great public institutions, in which all the young men, destined for the liberal professions, are to be educated, within the absolute control of a few individuals, and out of the control of the sovereign power – not consistent with sound policy, because it is a matter of too great moment, too intimately connected with the public welfare and prosperity, to be thus entrusted in the hands of a few. The education of the rising generation is a matter of the highest public concern, and is worthy of the best attention of every legislature…We are therefore clearly of opinion, that the charter of Dartmouth College, is not a contract, within the meaning of this clause in the Constitution of the United States).”

The College appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the College in Dartmouth College v. Woodward in 1819 — the first time corporations are granted constitutional protections.

January 5

1855 – Birth of King Camp Gillette, author of “The Human Drift,” which advocated for one corporation to run all industry
In “The Human Drift,” Gillette presents a futuristic society where all industry should be taken over by a single corporation owned by the public, and where everyone in the US should live in a giant city called Metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. A later book, World Corporation (1910), presented a specific plan for this vision. He offered Theodore Roosevelt the presidency of the company, with a salary of one million dollars.

2012 – The article, “Granting Corporations Bill of Rights Protections Is Not ‘Pro-business'” is posted on the American Independent Business Alliance website
“Two of the three broad-based national business organizations submitting amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in Citizens United v FEC at the U.S. Supreme Court argued against allowing corporations to engage in direct electioneering.

“The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) says such a change would badly harm the majority of America’s independent businesses. AMIBA’s brief to the U.S. Supreme Court…argued that even with present limitations on corporate political power, large corporations have converted their economic power into political favors that consistently harm small businesses. The tendency of powerful corporations to lobby for lawmakers to erect or sustain barriers to entry is another problem acknowledged by conservatives and progressives alike. To enlarge corporate political power further, AMIBA’s brief notes, would both harm the political process and undermine genuine market competition.

“The Committee for Economic Development brief argues giving corporations the ability to dominate electoral campaigns would, in reality, harm many companies by subjecting them to an endless series of shakedowns by politicians. ‘Each corporation,’ states the brief, ‘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.'”
Source: http://www.amiba.net/granting-corporations-bill-of-rights-protections-is-not-pro-business/

January 6

1919 – Death of former US President Theodore Roosevelt, critic of corporate political contributions
In 1905, he stated: “All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law; directors should not be permitted to use stockholders’ money for such purposes; and, moreover, a prohibition of this kind would be, as far as it went, an effective method of stopping the evils aimed at in corrupt practices acts. Not only should both the National and the several State Legislatures forbid any officer of a corporation from using the money of the corporation in or about any election, but they should also forbid such use of money in connection with any legislation save by the employment of counsel in public manner for distinctly legal services.”

January 7

1782 – Bank of North America opens
This was the first private commercial bank of the United States, chartered under the Articles of Confederation. Congress voted to transfer their authority to issue money to the Bank when it approved its charter. Why did Congress willingly give up their money power? The public argument was that the business of finance could not be competently conducted by a public body (Congress) — only by a small number of private financiers. The first head of the Bank was Robert Morris, then the richest merchant in America.

1919 – US Suffragetts organize “Watchfire for Freedom” for 19th Amendment – burn speeches of President Wilson
“The National Woman’s Party devised a new tactic to pressure for the adoption of a suffrage amendment to the Constitution. Members would gather with copies of the president’s speeches on issues relating to democracy and burn them in urns outside public buildings, including the White House. With a banner implying that the resident was a hypocrite, women outside the White House burned a speech Wilson had given on his grand tour of Europe.”
http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/connections/women-protest/history4.html

 

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: December 25 – 31

December 25

2015 – Christmas – Birth of Jesus, who attacked “money changers”
The celebrated birthday of Jesus Christ in the Christian calendar. In his only public act of violence, Jesus drove the “money changers” with a whip of chords out of the sacred Temple in Jerusalem, which he called “my Father’s house.”

Modern-day money changers are banking corporations – the most economically and politically dominant of all corporations. They have captured our most sacred democratic “house” – our government. They, too, along with all other corporations, need to be driven out of our government.

December 26

2015 – Boxing Day – corporate personhood, money equals free speech and U.S. Constitution “boxes” activists into small spaces of what is doable
“Boxing Day” is an annual holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations. Traditionally, it was when servants or employees would receive gifts from their bosses or employers in “Christmas boxes.”

Many Supreme Court decisions anointing corporations as legal “persons” and money as “free speech,” as well as many limitations of the U.S. Constitution (i.e. no direct election of President, no national initiative provision, no definition of economic rights, among many others) have been anything but gifts to individuals striving for real democracy. Rather, they have “boxed” activists into ever-smaller spaces concerning the kind of laws and regulations can be passed. Unable to limit the amount of money donated by individuals and corporate entities in elections and incapable of preventing corporations from asserting Bill of Rights protections, the super wealthy and corporations have captured ever greater portions of public policy and public space, therefore, shrinking these public arenas for the vast majority of citizens.

For background on limitations of and possibilities for a more democratic Constitution, see http://poclad.org/BWA/2007/BWA_2007_DEC.html and
http://poclad.org/BWA/2007/BWA_2007_MAR.html#3

December 27

1907 – Death of John Chandler Bancroft Davis – whose unilateral action yielded first Supreme Court corporate “personhood” decision
Davis played a historical role in the corporate personhood debate. As the court reporter in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (118 U.S. 394, 1886), his responsibility was to prepare ‘a summary-of-the-case commentary.’ He wrote in the headnote to the decision that Chief Justice Morrison Waite began his oral argument of the court’s opinion by stating, ‘The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.”

Davis’ published reports and notes from 1885-1886 contained his views on the Santa Clara case: ‘The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Thom Hartman and other journalists and authors have since charged Davis with a conflict of interest in his role in the Supreme Court ruling as he had previously been President of the Newburgh and New York Railway.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bancroft_Davis

2015 – Published article, “The Illusion of Freedom” by Chris Hedges in TruthDig
“The seizure of political and economic power by corporations is unassailable. Who funds and manages our elections? Who writes our legislation and laws? Who determines our defense policies and vast military expenditures? Who is in charge of the Department of the Interior? The Department of Homeland Security? Our intelligence agencies? The Department of Agriculture? The Food and Drug Administration? The Department of Labor? The Federal Reserve? The mass media? Our systems of entertainment? Our prisons and schools? Who determines our trade and environmental policies? Who imposes austerity on the public while enabling the looting of the U.S. Treasury and the tax boycott by Wall Street? Who criminalizes dissent?…

“This truth, emotionally difficult to accept, violates our conception of ourselves as a free, democratic people. It shatters our vision of ourselves as a nation embodying superior virtues and endowed with the responsibility to serve as a beacon of light to the world. It takes from us the “right” to impose our fictitious virtues on others by violence. It forces us into a new political radicalism. This truth reveals, incontrovertibly, that if real change is to be achieved, if our voices are to be heard, corporate systems of power have to be destroyed. This realization engenders an existential and political crisis. The inability to confront this crisis, to accept this truth, leaves us appealing to centers of power that will never respond and ensures we are crippled by self-delusion.”
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_illusion_of_freedom_20151227

December 28

1856 – Birth of Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States of America – on the need for corporations and government to work together
“There was a time when corporations played a very minor part in our business affairs, but now they play the chief part, and most men are the servants of corporations.”

1947 – Birth of Spencer Bachus, former Republican Chair of the US House Financial Services Committee – who said regulators exist to serve the banks
“In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

December 29

2014 – Article published: Big money breaks out: Top 100 donors give almost as much as 4.75 million small donors combined
“The 100 biggest campaign donors gave $323 million in 2014 — almost as much as the $356 million given by the estimated 4.75 million people who gave $200 or less,” a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance filings found.

‘When 100 big donors give as much almost 5 million small donors, with whom do we expect candidates to spend their time, and whose interests do we think they will represent?’, the author asked. ‘That’s not democracy. That’s oligarchy.’”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/top-political-donors-113833#ixzz3ta7ebjxE

December 30

2011 – Pittsburgh City Council passes resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood
The resolution also called for returning elections to the American people.

December 31

1600 – Founding of the East India Trading Company
The corporation used the English government to enable it to monopolize the tea market in the American colonies. Often cited as the final spark of the Revolutionary War, the Boston Tea Party was the direct result of colonial opposition to this corporate monopoly.

1945 – Birth of Harvey Wasserman – exposes fraudulent electronic voting machines
Wasserman is an anti-nuclear and safe energy activist, journalist and senior editor of the Columbus Free Press. Wasserman has co-authored numerous articles with Bob Fitrakis on election fraud of elections since 2000, with special emphasis on the 2000 and 2004 election results in Ohio.

Wasserman and Fitrakis have written.
“Source codes remain “proprietary,” so the public has no control over the private machines on which our allegedly democratic elections are conducted. There is no usable paper trail, transparency or accountability.
“We are concerned that all voters get fair access to the polls, and all votes are fairly counted, no matter who the candidate. We have no doubt the Democratic Party would be just as willing to flip elections from Republicans as vice versa, and that both have, can and will do the same to the Green Party and other challengers.
“So we support universal hand-counted paper ballots, automatic universal voter registration, a four-day national holiday for voting, major restrictions on campaign spending and a wide range of additional reforms meant to guarantee some kind of democracy in the United States.”
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/31511-why-hillary-can-t-win

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: December 18 – 24

December 18

1882 – Death of Henry James, Sr. – on democracy
“Democracy is not so much a new form of political life as a dissolution and disorganization of the old forms. It is simply a resolution of government into the hands of the people…”

December 19

2009 – Publication this month of article, “People as Property: Criminalizing Color, Dissent and Impoverishment through the Prison-Industrial Complex” by Karen Coulter
“Slavery and involuntary servitude were supposedly abolished by the 13th amendment to the Constitution. However, the amendment reads that slavery and involuntary servitude shall no longer exist in the U.S. ‘except as punishment for crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted’…Then there are the investors in the prison industry: American Express Corporation invested millions in private prison construction in Oklahoma; General Electric Corporation financed prison construction in Tennessee; Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, and other Wall Street investment firms made big profits by underwriting prison construction with the sale of tax-exempt bonds, a 2.3 billion dollar industry as of 1997. Some of the largest Wall Street investment corporations started buying bonds and securities from private prison corporations in the ’90’s and reselling them for profit to individual investors, mutual funds and others, literally speculating in the growth of locking up more and more people. The rise of the prison industrial complex can be accurately seen as part of a profound transformation that restructured U.S. economic development and its forms of social control. Philip Wood identifies corporate colonization of decision-making structures as a key element of the changes in U.S. public policy supporting the expansion and privatization of the prison industry.”

Karen Coulter is a principal of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) http://www.poclad.org/BWA/2009/BWA_2009_DEC.html

December 20

1902 – Birth of Sidney Hook, American philosopher – democracy is like love
“Democracy is like love in this: it cannot be brought to life by others in command.”

December 21

1885 – Corporate lawyers claim railroad corporation’s 14th Amendment rights violated
In San Mateo v. Southern Pacific R. Co., 13 F. 722 (C.C.D. Cal. 1882), corporate lawyers attacked a provision of the California Constitution that assessed higher property taxes against railroad corporations than against non-corporate properties. The attorneys charged that the state violated the railroad’s “rights” under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The parties settled the case before the Supreme Court announced a decision; however, the argument would be used one year later in what would become the very first time corporations were granted 14th Amendment “rights” by the Supreme Court in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 US 394.

December 22

1970 – Birth of Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) – politicians are open to the highest bidder
“Lobbyists and career politicians today make up what I call the Washington Cartel. … [They] on a daily basis are conspiring against the American people. … [C]areer politicians’ ears and wallets are open to the highest bidder.”

December 23

1913 – Congress passes Federal Reserve Act – Creating Federal Reserve System
The Act created a largely corporate controlled national banking and currency system, passed in the House by 298-60 and in the Senate by 43-25 and signed by President Wilson on this day. It was a major coup for banking corporations through the establishment of a private central bank authorized to “monetize” government debt (i.e. to print their own money and exchange it for government securities or I.O.U.’s). The central banking system was composed of 12 regional private/corporate banks owned by participating commercial banks. All national banks were required to join the system. Banking corporations now controlled the issuance and distribution of our national currency. By controlling our national money faucet, they could create inflation and deflation. This corporate monopolization of our currency allowed for public regulation, but not control. It was now banking corporations, not the U.S. government, that controlled the national currency. Congress handed its Constitutional power under Article 1, Section 8 to create our money over to private banking corporations. It’s the ultimate form of “privatization” – more accurately “corporatization” – of what was meant to be, and should be a public function or service.

December 24

1962 – Birth of David Cobb, former Outreach Director of Move to Amend and Principal of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD)
Cobb debated James Bopp in September, 2014 at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN on “Citizens Divided: Corporate Money, Speech, and Politics.” Bopp is General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech and was lead attorney for Citizens United, the group that argued their corporate 1st Amendment “speech rights were violated when prevented from airing a political program just prior to the election.”
The “debate” turned out to be one-sided – with Cobb presenting a much stronger case for why corporations should not be granted “personhood” rights and money should not be equated with “free speech” than Bopp arguing the reverse.
Watch the debate at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijSsZdCatTM

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