Imagine If — ‘The Great Turning’ meets ‘Community Rights’ (319)

pm319_640Community rights educator Paul Cienfuegos reads his inspiring short declaration inspired by Joanna Macy’s notion of “The Great Turning,” a total change in how we govern ourselves. Paul writes, “The Community Rights movement has been spreading across the United States — one city, town and county at a time. Since 1999, 200 communities have passed new-paradigm laws that strip corporations of all of their so-called constitutional “rights”, ban a variety of corporate activities which are fully legal but considered harmful by the local residents, and enshrine the inherent right of a community to govern itself. These laws are a direct challenge to a variety of structures of law that have made it literally illegal for local communities to protect their own health and welfare. Thus, each of these local ordinances is in itself an act of municipal civil disobedience.” Full text below. [PaulCienfuegos.comCELDF.org and Community Rights TV channel.

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Imagine if….‘The Great Turning’ meets ‘Community Rights’ –

by Paul Cienfuegos, with thanks to Joanna Macy for her notion of “The Great Turning.”

Since 1999, the Community Rights movement has been spreading across the United States, – one city, town and county at a time. 200 communities have passed new-paradigm laws that strip corporations of all of their so-called constitutional “rights”, ban a variety of corporate activities which are fully legal but considered harmful by the local residents, and enshrine the inherent right of a community to govern itself. These laws are a direct challenge to a variety of structures of law that have made it literally illegal for local communities to protect their own health and welfare. Thus, each of these local ordinances is in itself an act of municipal civil disobedience.

* We Change the Ground Rules

No more playing on a corporate playing field with corporate rules (such as regulatory law & agencies).
No more battling one corporate harm at a time, endlessly, into the future.
We no longer allow corporations to operate if they cause significant harm to people and nature.

* We Learn Our History

For our first century after the American Revolution it was once legal for states and local communities to pass laws that protected themselves from harmful corporate activities, because corporations were considered subordinate institutions. What can we learn from the American revolutionaries, the Abolitionists, the Suffragists, the Populists?

* We Define Ourselves

We are not merely consumers and workers. We are ‘We the People’. We are the sovereign people. We are guardians of life for present and future generations. It’s not what do we think we can get. It’s what do we want!

Corporations are not “good corporate citizens”. They are merely private property – legal fictions – business structures – and we must again define how they are allowed to operate, as we once did for a century after the American Revolution, in order to protect the health and welfare of our communities and of nature. To do this, we must also reclaim our language from corporate culture.

* We Govern Ourselves

Corporations have become a cancer on the body politic. They have to be removed from all political participation. No corporate money in politics. No lobbying. No corporate “educating” of citizens. No funding of non-profit organizations, or of scientific research. We the People have an inherent right of self-government.

* We Meet Our Collective Needs Democratically

We don’t need Safeway Corp to feed us. We don’t need Fox Corp and MSNBC Corp and PBS Corp to tell us the news. We don’t need Disney Corp to entertain us. We can provide all of our necessities through democratized and accountable business structures, and through a citizen-controlled media.

We the People must reclaim our self-governing authority – allowing the creation of business institutions only if their directors agree to protect our communities, working people, and nature.

* We Define What We Want & Prohibit (Rather Than Regulate) What We Don’t

Most environmental and labor regulations are written by the industries being “regulated”. Corporations haven’t “captured” these agencies – they didn’t have to – they helped design them! And corporate leaders are then chosen (by our presidents and governors) to run the very agencies that are being regulated. You can’t make this stuff up!

The primary purpose of environmental regulations is to regulate environmentalists.

The primary purpose of labor regulations is to regulate working people.

Let’s stop playing the regulatory law game, and instead start defining what we want and prohibiting what we don’t. We the People once exercised this very authority after the American Revolution. We can do it again!

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