How American Corporations Had A 'Hidden' Civil Rights Movement
March 26, 20182:35 PM ET
Heard on Fresh Air with DAVE DAVIES
Law professor Adam Winkler says that in the past 200 years, businesses have gone to court claiming constitutional rights that were originally intended for people. His new book is We the Corporations.
NHCRN Quarterly Newsletter
Volume 4 / Issue 1
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HELP PROTECT RIGHTS OF PEOPLE & NATURE
Your DONATION helps protect rights for human and natural communities in New England. Help protect our human and natural communities from social, economic and environmental injustice. Thank you!
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This January 2018, Plymouth voters overwhelmingly adopted a rights-based ordinance (RBO) banning unsustainable energy projects--like Northern Pass--and protecting their right to a sustainable energy future. The ordinance asserts their right to clean air, pure water, and local community self-government, and bans land acquisition for the construction or operation of unsustainable energy projects as a violation of those rights.
Ashland residents worked hard to do the same. With a late start and a concerted opposition campaign from their town officials, their March RBO vote showed encouraging support for their proposed ordinance, but not enough for it to pass. The townspeople now have community rights experience to grow from and put toward a new effort in the future.
Finally, Nottingham residents proposed a new RBO to proactively ban toxic waste dumping and sludge application in town. Their March Town Meeting vote resulted in a tabling of the RBO. While not passing, the effort drew interest from new residents wanting to learn more about community rights.
Although not all of the local RBO efforts passed this winter, they inspired a growing support for the NH Community Rights Amendment to recognize the need to empower people in their communities with the authority to enact local, common sense laws to protect their economic, social, and environmental well-being from corporate harm.
The Community Rights Movement to the NH House:
Let the People Decide What's Best
GRANITE BRIDGE PIPELINE PROJECT PROPOSED
Liberty Utilities has proposed the Granite Bridge pipeline project, a 27 mile, 16-diameter, high pressure natural gas pipeline to span state land along Route 101 between Manchester and Stratham. Its currently proposed route will run within 100s of feet of local water sources and could include crossing the Lamprey River twice in Raymond. Liberty Utilities also chose Epping to host a 200 billion cubic foot (160 feet high, 200 feet wide) liquified natural gas storage tank and a plant for reliquification and regasification to move from pipe to distribution.
According to Liberty Utilities, the pipeline's distribution potential will meet the current and growing need of Granite Staters, though research from UNH's Carsey School of Public Policy shows that NH's current pipeline infrastructure is adequate to fulfill energy needs in the state. Interestingly, the proposed pipeline could connect currently existing pipelines in the state and beyond that lead up to a new gas export center being built in Nova Scotia.
The cost of the pipeline sits at $340 million, a price tag for NH taxpayers to foot over the next 76 years. With projections showing fossil fuel consumption as unsustainable within 50 years, this is a price tag NH residents could be paying long after any benefit they may or may not get from the proposed energy infrastructure.
NH's Public Utilities Commission began hearings on the Granite Bridge project early in March 2018, and a project decision from NH's Site Evaluation Committee is anticipated some time in 2019.
1/3 of the NH House
The NH Community Rights Amendment seeks to become
Article 40. Right of Local, Community Self-Government
of our NH Bill of Rights.
Although it is disappointing that the resulting vote of the NH House denied a People’s vote on the NH Community Rights Amendment - CACR19, Community Rights supporters are encouraged by the strong advocacy the amendment received from Representative Ellen Read and her colleagues, and that 1/3 of the House supported elevating the right of NH people to use their local governing process to pass local laws protecting health, safety, and welfare of individuals, their communities, and natural environments above corporate activities that harm them.
CACR19 received first-in-the-nation support from a legislative subcommittee with a recommendation of OTP, and in spite of the committee chair ignoring that recommendation and allowing a motion of ITL to stand and move to the House floor, 112 Representatives heard the need for rights-based local decision-making authority in the Granite State.
As New Hampshire communities are continually forced to host special interest projects such as Northern Pass, oil and gas infrastructure, water withdrawals for resale, landfills, and other harms, they face a structure of government and law that allows corporations to force these harmful projects into NH communities against the will of the people due to corporate claimed “rights” and state preemption.
In response to these democratic and environmental injustices, a growing number of NH communities are adopting local rights-based ordinances (RBOs). The RBOs elevate communities’ rights to clean air, water, and self-determination above corporate claimed “rights.” CACR19 would have provided protection for local RBOs.
Nearly a dozen NH communities have adopted RBOs over the past decade because the right of local, community self-determination is an inherent and unalienable right, not because they were expecting the Legislature to agree with them.
We know from prior people’s movements that fundamental change comes from persistent, unrelenting pressure. As corporate threats grow in the Granite State, more communities are inspired to join the NH Community Rights Movement. The NH Community Rights Amendment will be reintroduced in the future because our quality of life, indeed our very lives and those of our children and future generations, depend on it.
WHAT CACR19 WOULD DO
The NH Community Rights Amendment would become
Article 40. Right of Local, Community Self-Government
of our NH Bill of Rights.
BRING A NHCRN FUNDRAISER &
EDUCATIONAL EVENT TO YOUR COMMUNITY!
This March, Alliance for Newmarket Citizen & Ecosystem Rights (ANCER) partnered with NH folk trio Oak & Ivy for a fundraising event to benefit NHCRN's work educating elected officials and communities about the right of local community self-government. The show includedtwo great sets from the trio with a brief presentation on NHCRN's work in between. It
was a great event for people, planet, our local ability to protect both, and NHCRN's efforts to
help mobilize this people's movement.
If you'd like to bring a NHCRN fundraiser
and educational event to your community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHCRN Community Rights Awareness Campaign
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HOST A DEMOCRACY SCHOOL
Democracy School explores the limits of conventional regulatory organizing and offers a new organizing model that helps citizens confront the usurpation by corporations of the rights of communities, people, and earth. Lectures cover the history of people’s movements and corporate power, and the dramatic organizing over the last decade in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon by communities confronting agribusiness, the oil and gas industry, corporate hegemony over worker rights, and others. Included with enrollment in the Democracy School is a 300 plus-page book of background reading material.
Amend to Protect NH People, Places and Principles!
NH State Representative Ellen Read - Why we must amend the NH Constitution to recognize the right of local,
community self-government. January 30, 2018.
The NH Community Rights Amendment - CACR19
18-2547.1 06/05 STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION [CACR19] PROPOSING CONSITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
RELATING TO: right to govern.
PROVIDING THAT: the people of the state may enact local laws that protect health, safety and welfare.
Be it Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring, that the Constitution of
New Hampshire be amended as follows:
I. That the first part of the constitution be amended by inserting after article 39 the following new article:
[Art.] 40. [Right of Local Community Self-Government.] All government of right originates from the people, is founded in their consent, and instituted for the general good; the people have the right and the duty to reform governments when those governments manifestly endanger public liberty; and sustainable environmental and economic development can be achieved only when the people affected by governing decisions are the ones who make them; therefore, the people of New Hampshire have an inherent and inalienable right of local, community self-government in each county, municipality, city, and town to enact local laws that protect health, safety, and welfare by recognizing or establishing rights of natural persons, their local communities, and nature; and by securing those rights using prohibitions and other means deemed necessary by the community, including measures to establish, define, alter, or eliminate competing rights, powers, privileges, immunities, or duties of corporations and other business entities operating, or seeking to operate, in the community. Local laws adopted pursuant to this article shall not weaken existing protections for, or constrict the fundamental rights of, natural persons, or their local communities, or nature, as those protections and rights are secured by local, state, federal, or international law.
II. That the above amendment proposed to the constitution be submitted to the qualified voters of the state at the state general election to be held in November, 2018.
III. That the selectmen of all towns, cities, wards and places in the state are directed to insert in their warrants for the said 2018 election an article to the following effect: To decide whether the amendments of the constitution proposed by the 2018 session of the general court shall be approved.
IV. That the wording of the question put to the qualified voters shall be:
“Are you in favor of amending the first part of the constitution by inserting after article 39 a new article to read as follows:
[Art.] 40. [Right of Local Community Self-Government.] All government of right originates from the people, is founded in their consent, and instituted for the general good; the people have the right and the duty to reform governments when those governments manifestly endanger public liberty; and sustainable environmental and economic development can be achieved only when the people affected by governing decisions are the ones who make them; therefore, the people of New Hampshire have an inherent and inalienable right of local, community self-government in each county, municipality, city, and town to enact local laws that protect health, safety, and welfare by recognizing or establishing rights of natural persons, their local communities, and nature; and by securing those rights using prohibitions and other means deemed necessary by the community, including measures to establish, define, alter, or eliminate competing rights, powers, privileges, immunities, or duties of corporations and other business entities operating, or seeking to operate, in the community. Local laws adopted pursuant to this article shall not weaken existing protections for, or constrict the fundamental rights of, natural persons, or their local communities, or nature, as those protections and rights are secured by local, state, federal, or international law."
V. That the secretary of state shall print the question to be submitted on a separate ballot or on the same ballot with other constitutional questions. The ballot containing the question shall include 2 squares next to the question allowing the voter to vote “Yes” or “No.” If no cross is made in either of the squares, the ballot shall not be counted on the question. The outside of the ballot shall be the same as the regular official ballot except that the words “Questions Relating to Constitutional Amendments proposed by the 2018 General Court” shall be printed in bold type at the top of the ballot.
VI. That if the proposed amendment is approved by 2/3 of those voting on the amendment, it becomes effective when the governor proclaims its adoption
Thomas Linzey in Ohio
April 2017 Community Rising Tour, Defying The Corporate State. Community Rights organizers gathered in Ohio and Pennsylvania to speak about how local municipalities are working to stop harmful industrial enterprise from coming into their communities are how they are taking control of their future.
Tell Me a Story: Community Activist
Community Rights Lane County founder Michelle Holman talks about the importance of fighting for the health, safety and welfare of Lane County residents. (Kelly Lyon/The Register-Guard)
Corporations are taking more and more of our commons, even to the point of taking our water. Thomas Linzey Esq joins us to talk about how we can take back control.
CELDF @ Millersville University
Chad Nicholson speaking at Millersville University in PA.
We the People 2.0
As part of our grassroots organizing, Community Rights Awareness Campaign, the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) is proud to co-sponsor a film showing of We the People 2.0 – The Second American Revolution.
NH! Your Democracy is at Risk
The people of New Hampshire are awakening to the reality of corporate control of state government. The corporate-state’s attacks upon this last vestige of direct democracy is indeed eye-opening. It reveals how the government of, by and for the elite minority is threatened by the possibility of local, democratic self-government of, by and for the majority.