REAL Democracy History Calendar: May 8 – 14

May 8

1899 – Birth of Friedrich A. Hayek – economist, social theorist and political philosopher

“Nowhere has democracy ever worked well without a great measure of local self-government.”

May 9

2010 – Mother’s Day (it’s May 14 this year)

Anna Jarvis held the first “Mother’s Day” in 1908, a memorial for her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Ann Reeves Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to address public health issues.

Although Jarvis successfully founded Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Source: Wikipedia.

May 10

1823 – Birth of John Sherman, US Senator of Ohio on Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890.

The federal law trumped much stronger anti-trust laws that had already been passed by many states.

His 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.”

1886 – Yick Wo v. Hopkins [118 U.S 356] Supreme Court decision

The Court ruled that aliens (persons living in the U.S. who are not citizens) are protected by the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment

1886 – Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad [118 U.S. 394] – corporations first granted corporate “rights”

“The Court does not wish to hear argument on the question of whether the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.”

This statement by the Court before the hearing meant “corporations” were included in the word “person” in the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The case was ultimately decided on other grounds. The U.S. Supreme Court reiterated and reinforced the Santa Clara “corporate personhood” ruling in more than twenty different cases.

May 11

1935 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order creating the Rural Electrification Administration (REA)

The REA was created to supply electricity to rural areas of the country that private electricity corporations ignored since it wasn’t profitable. Neighbors joined together in rural areas to create cooperatives that borrowed money from the REA to build electrical systems.

As late as the mid-1930s, nine out of 10 rural homes were without electric service. By the mid-1950’s, more than 90% of U.S. farms had electricity. About 99% of our nation’s farms today have electricity thanks to locally owned rural electric cooperatives sparked by REA loans.

May 12

1937 – Birth of comedian George Carlin

Carlin on the American Dream:

“Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice! You have owners! They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls.

“They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying, to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want: They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests…

“It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” http://shoqvalue.com/george-carlin-on-the-american-dream-with-transcript/

May 13

1819 – Birth of Walt Whitman, American poet “

Did you … suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name? I say democracy is only of use there that it may pass on and come to its flower and fruit in manners, in the highest forms of interaction … in religion, literature, colleges and schools: Democracy in all public and private life.”

May 14

1940 – Death of Emma Goldman, anarchist and feminist

“Democracy must first be safe for America before it can be safe for the world.” “The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul.”

2015 – “Oldest Person in the World Turns 129″ Mike Ferner and Virginia Rasmussen, POCLAD principals, published this month

“The ins and outs of this story…make two things perfectly clear: 1) the conflict between public and private interests has been ongoing since the nation was founded and 2) ‘The law’ is not something handed to us on stone tablets, but is an evolving interpretation serving the interests of those who have the power to make it stick.

“That’s why this democracy business is so damn important.” http://www.poclad.org/BWA/2015/BWA_2015_May.html

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