REAL Democracy History Calendar – January 16-22

January 16 

1995 – Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday

“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.

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.

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