Community Rights: Building democratic muscle.

Community Rights is the idea that ‘we the people’ in a local, a city, county, bio-regional area, have the right to make policies that serve the social needs of the people to live in dignity, and that policies should serve the ecological needs of nature to be respected and used sustainably.

However state preemption power, based on legal precedents, holds that corporate power trumps the rights of a community to influence policy and ultimately create law.

Community Rights holds that grass roots democracy will have to contend with a history of legal jurisprudence that favors corporations and commerce over community and the ecology. In my opinion, the Green Party is a natural trumpet for community rights.

Implicit in the Green Party pillar for grass-roots democracy is that ‘we the people’ will organize to engage in the democratic process of pushing ideas into actual policy, be it through the assembly, in the form of street protests, rallies; or petitioning grievances and advancing media messaging, or engage in more complicated and concerted projects involving ballot initiative drives, lobbying our representatives, or running candidates for elected office; even engaging in a general strike. All of these activities qualify as muscles within our civic body.

 

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Community Rights and the Rights of Nature: a noble proposition.

The idea of community rights and the rights of nature proposes that local communities should have the legal capacity for self-determination on social and economic issues, and have the ability to put nature first.

In solidarity, Greens have a natural affinity for community rights based on our value for grassroots democracy. In Oregon Pacific Green Party principles call on us to “work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.” This ambition for “grass-roots democracy” can be achieved from an Oregon Community Rights Network constitutional amendment, which would empower the grass-roots.

The Oregon Community Rights Network is seeking from the Oregon legislature a ballot referral for a constitutional amendment that would enshrine community rights and the rights of nature in Oregon’s constitution. https://orcrn.org/legislation/3949-2/ aka, Legalize Local Democracy. The Oregon Community Rights Network is seeking legislative sponsors to help advance this request.

 

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Howie Hawkins decries Democratic Party surrender to climate collapse in Scaled-Down “Build Back Better” Reconciliation Bill

(Syracuse, NY – October 3, 2021) Howie Hawkins, the Green Party’s 2020 presidential candidate, blasted Democrats today for accepting token climate measures in the shrinking Build Back Better reconciliation bill.

“Biden’s original climate proposals in his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan last March were inadequate to begin with. Only about $100 billion a year in that proposal were climate- and energy-related spending. Its policies included counter-productive measures like further natural gas development,” said Hawkins who made a detailed critique of the plan’s climate provisions at the time.

“As the Democrats keep cutting the Build Back Better reconciliation bill, they are surrendering to climate collapse as the global climate summit prepares to convene in Glasgow at the end of this month. The climate movement needs to recognize this reality and demand an emergency Green New Deal to really deal with this existential crisis,” Hawkins said.

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Democrats should accept a bill that spends around $2 trillion, which is down from the 10-year $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that Congress agreed to in August. The $3.5 trillion plan was itself down from the $6.1 trillion that Biden had proposed in the spring in his American Jobs Plan for physical infrastructure, including climate measures, and his American Families Plan to expand the social safety net.

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We need immediate action on Climate Justice

Let's stand in solidarity with the legislative call to institute a carbon fee, or price on carbon.

The NY Times reports Senator Wyden has been tasked with crafting carbon fee legislation, which is an encouraging sign that some kind of carbon tax will be included in upcoming legislation.

A carbon tax is a market driven means to “internalize” the cost of the carbon effluence, the ‘externality,’ in the cost of the product or service. Though it may make the polluter pay for the cost of carbon emissions, it is still the consumer that will bear the weight of the fee.

Progressive groups have opposed a carbon fee on grounds the financial impact will be most sorely felt by the low and moderate income strata of society.

Senator Wyden will have to navigate demands from President Biden to not raise taxes on families earning under $400,000.00, so in the final legislation a carbon fee may include a ‘dividend’ payment to offset the increased costs of fossil fuel based goods.

We need action now; send email messages to Senators Wyden and Merkely, and your representatives to support a Carbon Fee; I also call for economic equity to the LMI community.

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Why end the death penalty in Oregon

I recently learned Oregon still has the death penalty, right after reading an outstanding update in The Atlantic on the case of Emmet Till, a tortured 14 year old boy who helped spark the Civil Rights movement.  Yet, his murder is already being forgotten (not taught) even though some of those responsible are still alive.

The very next day, I heard an expose on the execution of Troy Davis, in GA.  He was killed in spite of the fact that 7/9 witnesses recanted their testimony, with prosecutors also asking for a stay.  The week prior a social media post shared the history of the attack on Black soldiers in Europe, after WWII, by white soldiers who did not want Blacks to enjoy the freedoms afforded to all in Europe.

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Should Greens stand in solidarity with petition to ban gain of function technology?

Scientist in bio-safety facility

I stand in solidarity with the Organic Consumers Association in its  petition to ban gain of function technology in naturally occurring viruses and other organisms. "Gain of function" is a term used by scientists to genetically alter a natural organism so it gains the function of being pathogenic, and then subject to study.

The Organic Consumer’s Association petition banning gain of function research is consistent with Green Party values based on the precautionary principle, Green concern with the deployment of nano-technology, and the Pacific Green Party plank which holds the risks of 'gain of function' research exceed the benefits to society.

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Campaign Finance Reform - KBOO Interview

KBOO June 2nd 2021 Interview on Campaign Finance Reform

Christina Nieves, Associate Director of Common Cause Oregon
Nathalie Paravicini, Steering Committee, Pacific Green Party
Beth Rotman, Director of Money in Politics & Ethics, Common Cause.
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