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/
1822 – Birth of President Rutherford B. Hayes
His election in 1877 was determined by a special commission, controlled by the CEO of the Pennsylvania railroad corporation, and composed of Supreme Court justices and members of Congress. A deal was struck that Hayes would be supported if he agreed to pull federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction and the launch of Jim Crow. Those same troops were then used to put down the first national labor strike in 1877 in which over 100 strikers were killed.
For a background piece on this, read Property Picks a President by Mike Ferner http://poclad.org/BWA/2001/BWA_2001_MAR.html
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.”
1917 – Birth of Fannie Lou Hamer, civil rights activist
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
2011 – Psychologists for Social Responsibility Stands Against Harmful Legal Definitions of Corporate Personhood
From their statement, passed on this day:
“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. Operating within these overly expansive legal shields, the prioritization of maximizing profit over human welfare has contributed to a sense of widespread discontent directed toward corporations and the law, and equally toward our government, which is perceived to fall short of a democracy that is ‘of, by, and for the people’…
“From this psychological perspective, PsySR joins the diverse voices calling for change. Corporations have long received sufficient and appropriate legal protections through their status as ‘artificial entities.’ We therefore strongly encourage U.S. lawmakers, from Federal to local levels, to redress the growing damage caused by the destructive fiction of corporate personhood. Together we can work to advance both equality and economic rights, and to better fulfill our democracy’s promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for actual human beings.”
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.”
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.”
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.”