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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-12 02:29 AM
Original message
The Powell Memo
Yesday, Rick Smith, who was publicizing his new book (Who Stole the American Dream), mentioned the Powell memo.

I was not familiar with the Powell memo, so I googled.

Turns out, it was a confidential memo written to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by Attorney Lewis Powell, Jr. (born in Virginia in 1907). The memo described how business could defend and further capitalism against---wait for it--- socialist, communist, and fascist cultural trends.<2> Among these cultural trends were the usual suspects, minorities and women.


Nixon later nominated Powell to the Supreme Court (hmmmm, not likely a coincidence). Powell turn down the job at first, because he made a lot more at his law firm. Eventually, he accepted. (hmmm, wonder how his financial concerns were allayed).

I found a brief summary of the Powell memo in Justice Powell's wiki.




Based in part on his experiences as a corporate lawyer and as a representative for the tobacco industry with the Virginia legislature, he wrote the Powell Memorandum to a friend at the US Chamber of Commerce. The memo called for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding politics and law in the US and may have sparked the formation of several influential right-wing think tanks.<5>, as well as inspiring the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to become far more politically active.

In August 1971, prior to accepting President Nixon's request to become Associate Justice of Supreme Court, Lewis Powell sent the "Confidential Memorandum" with the title, "Attack on the American Free Enterprise System." Powell argued, "The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism came from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians." In the memorandum, Powell advocated "constant surveillance" of textbook and television content, as well as a purge of left-wing elements.

This memo foreshadowed a number of Powell's most notable court opinions, especially First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, which shifted the direction of First Amendment law by declaring that corporate financial influence of elections through independent expenditures should be protected with the same vigor as individual political speech. Much of the future Court opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission relied on the same arguments raised in Bellotti.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_F._Powell,_Jr .



I also found info about it on the website of Moyers & Company (as in Bill Moyers), from a show Moyers did in September 2012.



Here's a taste:

The Powell Memo: A Call-to-Arms for Corporations
September 14, 2012
1 2 Next

In this excerpt from Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, authors Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson explain the significance of the Powell Memorandum, a call-to-arms for American corporations written by Virginia lawyer (and future U.S. Supreme Court justice) Lewis Powell to a neighbor working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
'Winner-Take-All Politics' Book jacketIn the fall of 1972, the venerable National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) made a surprising announcement: It planned to move its main offices from New York to Washington, D.C. As its chief, Burt Raynes, observed:

We have been in New York since before the turn of the century, because
we regarded this city as the center of business and industry.
But the thing that affects business most today is government. The
interrelationship of business with business is no longer so important
as the interrelationship of business with government. In the last several
years, that has become very apparent to us.<1>

To be more precise, what had become very apparent to the business community was that it was getting its clock cleaned. Used to having broad sway, employers faced a series of surprising defeats in the 1960s and early 1970s. As we have seen, these defeats continued unabated when Richard Nixon won the White House. Despite electoral setbacks, the liberalism of the Great Society had surprising political momentum. From 1969 to 1972, as the political scientist David Vogel summarizes in one of the best books on the political role of business, virtually the entire American business community experienced a series of political setbacks without parallel in the postwar period. In particular, Washington undertook a vast expansion of its regulatory power, introducing tough and extensive restrictions and requirements on business in areas from the environment to occupational safety to consumer protection.<2>

In corporate circles, this pronounced and sustained shift was met with disbelief and then alarm. By 1971, future Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell felt compelled to assert, in a memo that was to help galvanize business circles, that the American economic system is under broad attack. This attack, Powell maintained, required mobilization for political combat: Business must learn the lesson . . . that political power is necessary; that such power must be assiduously cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determinationwithout embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business. Moreover, Powell stressed, the critical ingredient for success would be organization: Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.<3>

Powell was just one of many who pushed to reinvigorate the political clout of employers. Before the policy winds shifted in the 60s, business had seen little need to mobilize anything more than a network of trade associations. It relied mostly on personal contacts, and the main role of lobbyists in Washington was to troll for government contracts and tax breaks. The explosion of policy activism, and rise of public interest groups like those affiliated with Ralph Nader, created a fundamental challenge. And as the 1970s progressed, the problems seemed to be getting worse. Powell wrote in 1971, but even after Nixon swept to a landslide reelection the following year, the legislative tide continued to come in. With Watergate leading to Nixons humiliating resignation and a spectacular Democratic victory in 1974, the situation grew even more dire. The danger had suddenly escalated, Bryce Harlow, senior Washington representative for Procter & Gamble and one of the engineers of the corporate political revival was to say later. We had to prevent business from being rolled up and put in the trash can by that Congress.<4>


I urge you to learn more: http://billmoyers.com/content/the-powell-memo-a-call-to... /


While googling, I also learned that another Lewis Powell, who was born in Alabama, but got to Virginia during the civil war, was killed at age 21 because was allegedly a co-conspirator in the assassination of President Lincoln. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Powell_%28assassin%2...

I wonder if there is any connection between the two Lewis Powells, other than Virginia?

Anyway, it is not enough for us to vote. We have to be organized and aggressive. Again, though, I wonder if it is too late?
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-12 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
1. Unbelievable!
I'm glad you Googled Powell. It is obvious that there has been a coordinated effort to undermine democracy and there you have it. This also explains the newly invigorated war on women and unions. I guess they "hate us for our freedom(s)".
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-12 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes. I had previously attributed the exponential growth of lobbyists in Washington
Edited on Sat Nov-17-12 11:01 AM by No Elephants
after 1980 to (a) Reagan, (b) a memo from the DLC to Democrats in Congress, circa 1980, asking them it they couldn't get them some of that nice lobbyist money the Republicans in Congress were getting and (c) formal formation of the Democratic Leadership Council.

And all those things played a role, no doubt. But the Powell Memo preceded all of them. The things you find out half listening to the TV!
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-12 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. Does anyone know where he's buried?
I'd like to put pissing on his Grave on my Bucket List.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-19-12 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Funeral service was held at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Va.
While you're there pissing, you can spit for me.
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-12 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
4. Wiki article on Powell nolonger exists
Edited on Sat Nov-17-12 07:25 PM by formercia
Is someone erasing the evidence?

This link works, though:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_F._Powell,_Jr.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-18-12 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I broke wikepedia?
I have no idea why the article has a new URL.

I wonder if it still reads the same. I have not checked yet.

Weird. Thanks, though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_F._Powell,_Jr.
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-18-12 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. You might find these links interesting:
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-19-12 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Thanks. What is it with these people and their secret societies?
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-19-12 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Power and Control.
If you need a favor, call a fellow frat-rat. Personally, I think that anyone who seeks public office should publicly disavow any allegiance to any Secret Society to which they have been a member. If you banned them, it would get rid of a majority of Congress.
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-24-12 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
10. Me depressed today.
Edited on Sat Nov-24-12 11:54 AM by Leopolds Ghost
Can't take any more sad neews storyies

On Edit: I read a much more infuriating news clipping that I kept. I probably couldn't post it on DU3 because it's implicitly critical of Obama. Obama declared at a press conference that global warming was "not a priority" for his administration.
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-24-12 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Sorry to hear you're depressed.
I guess we will find out who the real Obama is this Term. Who knows, it may turn out well after all.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-25-12 06:27 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. I bet you feel better now that Notre Dame beat USC.
I kid.

I know what you mean about sad news stories. I hope you feel better.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-25-12 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Wasn't that obvious?
I am sorry that you are depressed, Leo.
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