REAL Democracy History Calendar – January 23-29

January 23 

1964 – 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enacted

Poll taxes, which were used to keep Blacks and others from voting in some states, are abolished. “The right…to vote…shall not be denied…by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”

January 24

1965 – Death of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“Lobbyists are the touts of protected industries.”

1910 – Birth of “Granny D” — grandmother who walked across the U.S. for campaign finance reform  

Doris Haddock achieved national fame when, between the ages of 88 and 90, she walked across the continental United States to advocate for campaign finance reform. Granny D walked over 3200 miles, starting on January 1, 1999 in California and ending in Washington, DC on February 29, 2000. She touched tens of thousands of people — calling on the public and Congress to press for legislation that would curb private and corporate money in elections and to expand public financing of elections.

January 25 

2012 – Petaluma, CA City Council passes a resolution calling for a reversal of the Citizens United decision

Concerned democracy activists across the nation worked on such actions following the 2011 Citizens United decision. The lack of real democracy, however, predates Citizens United by more than a century. Modifying or even reversing the Supreme Court decision would not return the country to a democratic nirvana, because that reality did not exist. Creating real democracy will begin with overturning the doctrines of corporate personhood and money as speech that have been in force far longer than Citizens United.

January 26

1907 – Tillman Act enacted, corporate contributions illegal

This was the first legislation passed by Congress in the United States prohibiting monetary contribution to national political campaigns by corporations.

2016 –  Washington Ballot Measure Approved for November Election

The Secretary of State’s Office for Washington State Elections certified Initiative 735 for the ballot today. I-735 will ask Washington voters to decide this November whether to join sixteen other states in calling for their state legislature and Congress to propose an amendment that makes clear that constitutional rights belong to human beings only and that money is not protected speech, effectively overturning the controversial decision in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

“We are inspired by the tremendous efforts by our Washington volunteers in the WAmend Coalition and the people of Washington State who made this ballot measure a reality! This represents an overwhelming rejection of the Supreme Court’s expansion of corporate power,” said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. “Voters in Washington have the opportunity to join a growing movement of people from all walks of life rejecting the overwhelming influence of big corporations in politics, and demanding a genuine democracy that is accountable to We the People, not wealthy interests.”


January 27 

2010 – Death of Howard Zinn, Historian

“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think. When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”

2014 – Release of the documentary “Legalize Democracy” by Move to Amend

“Legalize Democracy” is a documentary film by Dennis Trainor, Jr. about creating real democracy – why the We the People amendment (HJR 48) is needed, how social movements have historically produced fundamental change for justice and how you can get involved.

Watch it at

January 28 

2010 – “Cold Case Democracy and the Doctrine of ‘Corporate Personhood’” by Vi Ransel article posted on Global Research website

The article begins with this quote by Alex Carey and Andrew Lohrey:

“There have been two principal aspects to the growth of democracy in this century (20th): the extension of the popular franchise (e.g. the right to vote) and the growth of the union movement.  These developments have presented corporations with potential threats to their power…”


January 29 

1936 – First “sit down” strike in Akron, Ohio

A sit-down strike is a form of civil disobedience in which organized workers take over their work site by “sitting down” where they are. More effective than a “picket strike” by workers outside worksites, sit down strikes prevented owners from using violence (since it would destroy property), replace them with “scab” strikebreakers or sometimes from moving production elsewhere. It was a radical tool used effectively to win immediate wage increases and better working conditions and eventually union recognition in many industries across the U.S. — though the first such strikes were organized by workers without the support of their union leadership.

The most well-known Flint sit down strike occurred later in 1936. The best description of the Akron strike was in the book Industrial Valley by Ruth McKinney.

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