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.


Community rights is the collective muscle of people working together to make society a better place. If we accept the metaphor that community rights is grass roots muscle in the civic body of our democracy, then we have to ask, how are we doing with building muscle mass, and how strong do we want to become? A muscular community rights body is necessary to build the community rights movement and drive society toward ecological sanity.

Community Rights calls on members of a community, be it in a city, and up to a whole state, to consider how we might organize ourselves to press for important changes. At bottom in the community rights struggle is the need to contend with state preemption authority. In the end, it will take a state constitutional amendment to clear the way for we the people to be able to engage meaningfully in grass-roots democracy. But along the way, we need to show the desire to hold community rights and the wisdom to define important projects.

Community rights is a lever for exercising the will of neighbors, workers, families who share a common area / region; community rights enables those who join together to advance rights precluded by corporate power and state authority. For example, corporate propaganda has conditioned human kind to accept a heavy carbon / chemical based, non-organic society to the detriment of our health. Community Right to breathe clean air could be a rallying cry within the climate justice movement. Everyone understands corporations have been irresponsible and should pay for their pollution.

Interestingly, corporations and state agencies are not out front calling for a repeal of cancer causing glyphosate and other chemicals, genetically engineered food; nor are corporations getting out front on advancing healthy food and clean water and air; the heavy influence from Big Oil corporations has driven a chemical industry that no one in the established power structure opposes. Big Oil / Big Chemical releases effluence, much unknown, with impunity.

it is ‘we the people’ suffering the toxins released into our air and water and food that must contend with corporate malfeasance which involves putting profits first and social and ecological well being last. This of course needs to be resisted and countered with a muscular civic response.

The Community Rights Network of Oregon, an activist wing of the Community Environmental Legal Defense group, an educational / legal organization, is dedicated to empowering communities to exercise community rights and secure the rights of nature.

To advance an understanding of the legal hurdles necessary to overcome corporate hegemony on community and society, the Community Rights Network encourage attending Democracy School. It is an educational cornerstone of the Community Rights project; it is foundational instruction that reviews how the United States legal system and constitution were designed to serve the propertied and banking, commercial class. The curriculum covers how the ruling elites stacked the legal deck from colonial times, and this enabled the rise of corporate domination.

Building an intersection of activism is what will make a difference. Let's make a case for more democracy and restoration of the earth.


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published this page in Green Perspectives Entries 2021-10-17 14:28:04 -0700
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