REAL Democracy History Calendar: November 12 – 18

November 12

1999 — Enactment of Financial Services Modernization Act (also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act)
The law removed many barriers contained in the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, including those that separated banking, securities and insurance corporations. The result was massive combination and consolidation within the financial sector – creating enormously powerful institutions. The bill was pushed by leading Republicans in Congress, including Phil Gramm, and signed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

November 13

1849 — Trenton (N.J) True American and Emporium newspapers merge
The paper resulting from the merger offered this prophetic analogy on corporate power in an editorial: “the Legislature ought cautiously to refrain from increasing the irresponsible power of any existing corporations, or from chartering new ones,” or else people would become “mere hewers of wood and drawers of water to jobbers, banks and stockbrokers.”

1856 — Birth of Louis Brandeis, US Supreme Court Justice
He stated in the case Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Lee 288 U.S. 517 (1933) that corporations are “the Frankenstein monster which States have created by their corporations laws.”

2000 — “Publication of The Santa Clara Blues: Corporate Personhood versus Democracy,” by William Myers
One of the earliest modern publications in the US describing how corporations acquired never-intended constitutional rights by perverting the 14th Amendment which was intended to apply solely to freed slaves.
http://www.iiipublishing.com/afd/santaclara.html

November 14

1889 — Birth of Jawaharlal Nehru, leader of Indian independence movement and nation’s first Prime Minister
“Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse.”

November 15

1882 — Birth of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter
The history of constitutional law is “the history of the impact of the modern corporation upon the American scene.”

1998 – Passage of National Labor Party resolution – supports the rights of workers and opposes corporate rights
Among the resolution’s “Whereas Clauses” were the following:
“• The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution does not protect us against the denial of our rights by private concentrations of power and wealth; and
• Whereas, we have wrongly come to accept that at work we are not entitled to the rights and privileges we normally enjoy as citizens; and
• Whereas, private wealth has made sure to convince the Supreme Court that although a corporation is not a living person it is afforded the protections and rights of the Bill of Rights, while living persons at work are denied these same protections; and
• Whereas, we therefore find that the corporations and Congress through current law have turned democracy exactly backward…”

Among the sections under “Therefore be it resolved” were the following:
“1. The Labor Party rejects the status quo of today’s workplace where workers are forced to abandon their Constitutional Rights in order to earn their living, and are as a consequence subject to the tyranny of the corporation.
2. The Labor Party demands that workers have the actual right to concerted activity, free from employer involvement or interference, and that any number of interested workers in a workplace must have the right to form a union and bargain with their employer.”

“A Workplace Bill of Rights’ – which reframes the rights of workers to include worker (i.e. citizen) authority over their subordinate corporate institutions.”

November 16

2010 — Published article, “Pittsburgh Bans Natural Gas Drilling” by Mari Margil & Ben Price in Yes Magazine
The subtitle of the article is: “A historic new ordinance bans natural gas drilling while elevating community decision making and the rights of nature over the “rights” associated with corporate personhood.”

“Drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), Pittsburgh’s ordinance includes provisions that eliminate corporate “personhood” rights for corporations seeking to drill within the city, and remove the ability of corporations to override community decision-making.”
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/pittsburg-bans-natural-gas-drilling

November 17

1904 — Birth of William Henry Hastie, Jr., American, lawyer, judge, educator, public official, and advocate for the civil rights of African Americans
“Democracy is a process, not a static condition. It is becoming, rather than being. It can be easily lost, but is never finally won.”

1993 — US House of Representatives passes NAFTA
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) required the removal of most tariffs and restrictions on trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Under the ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) provisions of NAFTA, a corporation can sue a foreign government and can also force the taxpayers of the defendant nation to pay the corporation for any profits it might have earned if the nation had not passed laws that “restricted free trade.”

The Senate passed NAFTA on November 20. The power of ISDS provisions in so-called “free trade” agreements has been strengthened and extended in all such agreements since, including CAFTA, TPP, TTIP and TISA.

November 18

2010 – Published article this month “Why Abolish All Corporate Constitutional Rights”
“Corporations are creations of the state. As we documented in many resources over many years, they couldn’t exist in any form without the legal sanctioning of government. Since citizens are the source of all legitimate power in any representative democracy, We the People have the power to define corporations any way we see fit. We the People have rights and authority. Originally, corporations only possessed privileges bestowed by the state.

“The appointed-for-life US Supreme Court “found” corporations in numerous places in the US Constitution over the past 124 years. These “findings” gave rights to corporations, including many of those in the Bill of Rights. In other words, illegitimate corporate power didn’t begin in 2010. The corporate perversion of rights and the Constitution has resulted in the destruction of our communities, economy, politics and natural world in many ways for a very long time.

“POCLAD believes ALL corporate constitutional rights should be abolished. These include at least the following…”
Complete article at http://poclad.org/BWA/2010/BWA_2010_NOV.html

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