REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 23 – 29

July 23

1879 – Birth of Simeon Strunsky
“If you want to understand democracy, spend less time in the library with Plato and more time in the buses with people.”

1943 – Birth of Randall Caroline Forsberg, Nuclear Weapons Freeze movement founder
Forsberg was a leading researcher and advocate for nuclear disarmament, military spending reduction and democracy. She was one of the founders of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign in 1981. The FREEZE was a mass movement calling for a mutual freeze on the testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons and missiles between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Local and state chapters educated, lobbied and organized. Hundreds of resolutions by villages, towns, cities and states were passed. The FREEZE organized massive public demonstrations. The campaign was initiated by Forsberg’s famous written call to “freeze and reverse the nuclear arms race.”

July 24

1998 – “Rethinking the Corporation” talk by Virginia Rasmussen, Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) principal
Rasmussen’s talk, during Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom conference, July 24-31, Baltimore, MD, included the following:

“I think we would agree to describe the reality that flows from this corporate power as anti-democratic, anti-community, anti-worker, anti-person and anti-planet…Given our relative consensus on this situation, what should we be asking and doing about the corporation?…To effectively begin the work of countering what amounts to global corporate tyranny, we’ll need to do two kinds of defining: what we wish to see in the future, and what we are seeing in the present…We’ll never move these corporate behemoths out of our way with the poking sticks and thin willow reeds available to us through regulatory action…Nor will we gain their everlasting mercy with pleas for social responsibility or requests to sign a corporate ‘code of conduct,’ or the pitiful pleading for side agreements on free-trade pacts…Our colonized minds make it difficult to cut through our experience and envision real democracy. We’ve got a ‘cop in our head,’ and the cop comes from corporate headquarters…What must be done?

“When those of us who believe in an empowered citizenship see corporations spewing excrement and oppression with ever greater reach, we need to ask, ‘By what authority can corporations do that? They have no authority to do that. We never gave them authority.’ And we must work strategically to challenge their claims to authority…”

July 25

1876 – Birth of Congressman Lois T. McFadden (R-PA), Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee
“We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are U.S. government institutions. They are private credit monopolies; domestic swindlers, rich and predatory money lenders which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers…The truth is the Federal Reserve Board has usurped the Government of the United States by the arrogant credit monopoly which operates the Federal Reserve Board.”

2001 — “Statement in support of Rainforest Action Network” by Mike Ferner
“We come to Chicago to declare that we support free speech rights for real people and their organizations, not for corporate persons and their organizations like the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise—and to warn that we can not have both. For when corporations wield the Bill of Rights, their sheer size and economic power assures they will crowd out the legitimate voices of people until only corporate images and corporate values define what life is all about and the “company line” occupies every waking moment of our lives.” –Ferner made his statement at a protest at the Boise-Cascade Corp.’s office.
http://poclad.org/BWA/2001/BWA_2001_JUL.html

July 26

1788 – New York becomes a state
From New York State Business Corporation Law, Section 101:
(a) The attorney-general may bring an action for the dissolution of a corporation upon one or more of the following grounds: (1) That the corporation procured its formation through fraudulent misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact. (2) That the corporation has exceeded the authority conferred upon it by law, or has violated any provision of law whereby it has forfeited its charter, or carried on, conducted or transacted its business in a persistently fraudulent or illegal manner, or by the abuse of its powers contrary to the public policy of the state has become liable to be dissolved. (b) An action under this section is triable by jury as a matter of right. http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/BSC/11/1101#sthash.s8K47JBS.dpuf

1990 – Americans with Disabilities Act goes into effect
The Act made discrimination based on disability illegal. Unlike the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the law also mandated employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities and established accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

July 27

1869 – Death of William Sylvis, labor organizer and President of the National Labor Union
An ironworker from Pennsylvania, Sylvis organized 21 local iron moulder union locals to form the Iron Moulders’ International Union. Maybe his most important contribution in labor history was his insistence in telling workers not to be divided by racial, political or religious differences. Along with other trade reformers, he formed the National Labor Union and was elected its President.
http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Sylvis__William_H.html

July 28

2003 – Publication of John A. Bingham and the Story of American Liberty: The Lost Cause Meets the ‘Lost Cause’” by Michael Kent Curtis, in The Akron Law Review
John Bingham was a Republican Congressman from Ohio and principal framer of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted due process and equal protection under the law to freed slaves.

“What did he [Bingham] think about the conversion of the Fourteenth Amendment from a protection of all constitutional rights for all citizens to a bulwark of corporate power against the protests of farmers and workers? Here we have a bit more information. Bingham later wrote that the amendment had been designed to protect natural persons, not corporations.

“That seems quite reasonable, particularly since the first sentence of Section one refers to persons ‘born or naturalized in the United States.’”
https://www.uakron.edu/dotAsset/727381.pdf

July 29

1805 – Birth of Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America
“Without power and independence, a town may contain good subjects, but it can contain no citizens.”

1883 – Birth of Benito Mussolini, Italian Dictator
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

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