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”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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…
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.]
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.”
1895 – Birth of Maury Maverick, U.S. Representative from Texas
“Democracy to me is liberty plus economic security.”