1857 – US. Supreme Court decides Dred Scott v. Sanford (60 U.S. 393) – affirming slaves are property
Supreme Court affirms Article 2, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution (the Return Servants clause). Slaves are property and Congress cannot deprive citizens of their property. Slaves are “not citizens of any state” and “have no rights a court must respect.”
Observation: Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property while corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.
322 BC – Death of Aristotle – Greek philosopher, educator
“Democracy arose from men’s thinking that if they are equal in any respect, they are equal absolutely.” Women too!
1976 – Death of John William Wright Patman, Democratic Congressman 1938-1978, Committee Chairman on Banking & Currency
“In the United States today, we have two governments. We have the duly constituted government and then we have an independent, uncontrolled and uncoordinated government in the Federal Reserve System operating the money powers which are reserved for Congress by the Constitution.”
2011 – Publication this month of the article “This isn’t about peace. It’s about democracy,” by Mike Ferner, POCLAD principal
“And so we return to the too-familiar, difficult question of what to do?…Few still believe the answer is taking warm clothing and hand-knit caps to the people in Kabul’s camps — although I took along an extra suitcase of just those things. Few still believe that marching with placards past empty offices in the nation’s capital is much of an answer — although I participate in as many of those as I can. Few believe that having hundreds arrested in Washington or in government offices back home will bring change — although it is certainly critical to keep alive the spirit of protest…But how do we move from a relative handful of committed believers, to emulating Tahrir Square in every nation’s capital, to halting and dismembering Empire?…
That means something more than fixing the wrongs. It means making the rules, defining the terms, running the show — in a word: governing ourselves…
I believe the messages of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) and Move to Amend, arguing the case for a self-governing citizenry, make good sense, no matter the audience.”
1839 – Supreme Court affirms corporations are “creatures of the state” in Bank of Augusta v. Earle (38 US 519)
The United States Supreme Court has reaffirmed the principle that corporations are “creatures of the state” in at least thirty-six different rulings. This is one of them. It means that corporations are created by We the People through our government and should be subordinate, not equal to, the People under law. Government has the right and authority to define its creations.
1997 – Sermon “We the People: Building a Truly Democratic Society” by Ward Morehouse, POCLAD principal, at the UU Fellowship, Frederick, Maryland
“Establishing our democracy must begin with citizens prepared to devote themselves to challenging the status quo, and to disrupting the contours of power. But the ultimate task, William Greider reminds us, is much more difficult—creating something that does not now exist—the basis for politics as a shared enterprise…My modest hope for the time we are together is, as I suggested at the outset, to persuade you to launch what Greider calls a ‘democratic insurgency,’ individually and collectively.
This insurgency will not begin with abstract ideas or charismatic political leaders. Its origins will lie among ordinary people who have the will to engage themselves with their surrounding reality and to act on the conflict between what they are told and what they experience—thus disrupting existing structures of power and opening up paths for renewal.”
1899 – State of Delaware adopts general incorporation law
“Delaware acquired its status as a corporate haven in the early 20th century. Following the example of New Jersey, which enacted corporate-friendly laws at the end of the 19th century to attract businesses from New York, Delaware adopted on March 10, 1899, a general incorporation act aimed at attracting more businesses. The group that pushed for this legislation was not acting entirely from altruism, as they intended to establish a corporation that would help other businesses incorporate in Delaware. Before the rise of general incorporation acts, forming a corporation required a special act of the state legislature. General incorporation allowed anyone to form a corporation by simply raising money and filing articles of incorporation with the state’s Secretary of State. Over 50% of publicly traded corporations in the United States and 60% of the Fortune 500 are incorporated in the state.”
1989 – Death of Philip D. Reed, CEO of General Electric Corporation
“If small business goes, big business does not have any future except to become the economic arm of a totalitarian state.”
1888 – Former U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes on corporate power
“The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations. — How is this?” From his diary on this day.
2012 – Freedom, Maine residents pass resolution calling for a constitutional amendment ending corporate “personhood”
Gotta love the name of the town! The resolution was passed by a majority of residents at a Town Hall meeting.
1906 – US. Supreme Court grants 4th Amendment “search and seizure” rights for first time in Hale v. Henkel (201 U.S. 43)
Corporations are granted 4th Amendment “search and seizure” protection for the first time. The Bill of Rights was intended to apply solely to human beings, not corporate entities.
1912 – Speech of former Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan before 1912 Ohio Constitutional Convention
“The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person called a corporation. They differ in the purpose for which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the restraints under which they act. Man is the handiwork of God and was placed upon earth to carry out a Divine purpose; the corporation is the handiwork of man and created to carry out a money-making policy. There is comparatively little difference in the strength of men; a corporation may be one hundred, one thousand, or even one million times stronger than the average man. Man acts under the restraints of conscience, and is influenced also by a belief in a future life. A corporation has no soul and cares nothing about the hereafter.”
1932 – Birth of Andrew Young, civil rights leader, Mayor, Congressperson, UN Ambassador and pastor
“Nothing is illegal if 100 businessmen decide to do it.”