2012 — System for Public Financing of Elections Proposal announced
Democracy 21 and the Brennan Center issue a report and propose a new system for financing federal elections. The proposed system is based on empowering citizens in the political process by matching up to $250 of a citizen’s contribution with public funds at a 5 to 1 ratio.
Besides the financial strain on public budgets, this proposal does not address the ongoing constitutional “money equals speech” doctrine, nor does it call for an end to corporate constitutional rights (including the 1st Amendment “free speech” right to make political donations).
2011 – Missoula, MT City Council votes to place a “corporations are not human beings” referendum on the 2011 ballot
Specifically, the referendum urged federal and state lawmakers to amend the U.S. Constitution to clearly state “that corporations are not human beings and do not have the same rights as citizens.”
On November 8, 2011, Missoula voters approved the ballot referendum by a three to one margin.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”