REAL Democracy History Calendar – December 26 – January 1

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
“Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down.  Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process.“ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/09/usa-sponsored-terrorism-mid-east-since-least-1948.html

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. He 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 recently 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

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.

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