To the Editor,
A year ago, I was a NH parent worried about how to address our statewide problem with PFCs—persistent synthetic chemicals that don’t leave the environment or our bodies and that are especially consequential for those in utero, like the child I am carrying.
A year ago, I would have lauded Governor Sununu for signing into law a pathway for lowering PFC standards to reduce NH water contamination. But I’ve evolved from concerned parent to community rights activist. Today I see the law as a potentially dangerous lateral move toward complacency.
Before I continue, the mothers of Testing for Pease and Greenland SafeWater Action — and NH Representative and now NH Congressional candidate Mindi Messmer — deserve copious praise for making NH’s PFC issue so public and officially recognized. My criticism is not for these tireless advocates, but for our institutionalized minds.
We’re conditioned to celebrate lowered levels of toxic chemicals even when we know that no amount is good for us. To be fair, I’ve heard NHDES scientists genuinely concerned about PFCs state the impracticality of setting a zero standard because of the ubiquitous nature of PFCs. I respectfully can’t accept this.
The CDC just reported that NH has the nation’s highest rate of pediatric cancer. Our children are being poisoned and dying. We must go beyond standards and reductions to elevate people’s and ecosystems’ rights by wholly preventing future contamination by disallowing it.
Problematically, NH and its permitting agencies abide by a regulatory system standardizing “safe” chemical levels, thereby legalizing the claimed “right” of corporations to harm us, favoring corporate profit and toxic consumer choice over health of people and planet.
I believe we rely on this system because we’re not awoken with outrage that we have such little democratic pathway to directly protect ourselves in a state functioning under Dillon’s Rule, meaning that NH is the parent and its municipalities are the children who must obey even if the parent allows harm to come to them.
Enter community rights, a people’s movement of rights-based ordinances. RBOs are local laws NH residents adopt to protect themselves and their ecosystems from corporate harm while not limiting already protected state and federal rights of individuals. Since 2006, RBOs have been adopted in NH towns by individual residents collectively exercising their right to vote yes or no in a town vote on the RBO.
Residents adopting and enforcing RBOs reference a number of NH Bill of Rights Articles, namely Article 1 — all government of right originates from the people, is founded in their consent, and instituted for the general good; and Article 10 — people have the right and duty to reform governments when those governments manifestly endanger public liberty.
This year, a people’s movement of supporters brought forth the NH Community Rights Amendment to recognize and secure the right of NH residents to adopt RBOs, so long as they always expand, not limit, established rights of NH residents. As a constitutional amendment, it needs 2/3 the NH people’s vote, but we can’t cast this vote unless our legislators allow us to by giving the amendment at least 3/5 support in both House and Senate. This year it earned 1/3 House support and will be back. You can learn more from the NH Community Rights Network, a statewide, grassroots non-profit that informs citizens and legislators about their inalienable right to local self-government.
In the meantime, NH towns continue adopting and organizing RBOs, including my town where I co-founded Alliance for Newmarket Citizen & Ecosystem Rights. We’re so new we’ve yet to make a website or Facebook page, but we invite you to these upcoming public events.
Monday July 30, from 7 to 9 p.m., ANCER will host an all-ages fundraiser at Newmarket’s Stone Church, with a brief informational presentation between two sets by local blue-grass duo Green Heron. $5 suggested door donation.
Friday, Aug. 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., ANCER will host Daniel Pennock Democracy School at The Loft in the Newmarket Mills. Given by the nonprofit, public interest Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Democracy School explores how corporations have hijacked democracy and how NH residents can push back against legalized unsustainable activities that violate the rights of residents, our communities, and nature. Registration is due Aug. 10 on a sliding scale: $30-$50 (scholarships available). Please email email@example.com for more information.
To The Daily Sun,
Inalienable rights are the rights that all people are born with through the understanding God or our Creator endowed us with. This right and taking this knowledge explains and defines the word of personhood and the meaning of person and personification confirmed in the truth that all of humankind were created equal under the law of right, human rights.
It should be said of course, We the People are all persons, but then to apply that concept that a corporation has personhood, personhood is applied to the plural of persons individual in the corporation. Corporation on the other hand is not a God given right but is man-made and it is unseemly to give the power of individual to a plural separate from the whole of individual citizens. The “Bill of Rights” was written for the protection of the rights of a sovereign individual or state, not a special class of men unified against the whole affording special privilege. Quoting “a house divided against itself will fall,” not maybe.
Personhood of the corporation takes away the sovereignty of the citizen’s public good who are termed as the body, not incorporated though “through the consent of the governed,” citizens of the incorporated, “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” The Bill of Rights was written to secure and define and in addition, to strengthen these rights to be self-evident that “All men are created equal.” This is a very founding building block of a “democracy with a republican form of government.”
Putting all this aside, now ponder what is an authoritarian structure of rule. This comes by the contractual agreement not through the usurpation of inalienable rights pretext to all human rights and rights amended to the Constitution.
The Supreme Court decision of 1886, State of California vs. Southern Pacific Railroad created a ruling to a civil law suit in the structuring of language to argue a suite of back taxes on fences that the State of California was seeking to recover from the Southern Union Pacific Corporation. In this case, Article 14 from the U.S. Bill of Rights was used to grant the corporation personhood rights. There was dissent amongst the justices of the 9th district court taking Article 14 that was written to amend Article 13, the rights of freed slaves to uphold the protection of property rights of a disenfranchised people but it was Justice Waite presiding on the district court who stated, “we all agree in this court that corporations are guaranteed the property right written in the 14th Amendment” and was never opened to discussion or debate.
Ever since that time corporate law has empowered itself with private property rights that followed many other corporate privileges like state pre-emption and Dillon’s Rule. Corporations now have equal standing with the power of the state. We the People stand to lose in civil suits in the judicial court to protect ourselves from corporate projects that harm and undermine our rights as a collective body politic of our municipalities in which we live.
Since 2006, starting with Barnstead’s first-in-the-nation Water Rights & Self-Government local law, a growing number of New Hampshire communities have pushed back with rights-based ordinances (RBOs) affirming their inalienable right to self-govern and calling for state constitutional change recognizing local authority to afford greater protections for people and planet where higher government is not doing so. Almost a dozen communities have adopted RBOs, elevating the rights of people and natural environments above corporate claimed “rights” to harm them and use them as resource colonies for profit.
Corporate lobbyists are still seeking to press their corporate privilege against the people for their own profit, backed by a contingent of representatives and senators of an authoritarian ideal of state control over our municipalities. They exert this control by passing bills that infringe upon our sovereign rights as peoples of community, whittling away to create the path for corporate rights over real people — otherwise called the corporate-state.
We the people can’t remain stolid with a laissez-faire attitude. People are needed and to be heard in a civil exchange of ideas that are not innovative but are based on the original principal foundations of our governing body from the American Revolution In New Hampshire we say, “live free or die.” This is not brutish reasoning, it is transcendental.
To understand more about these issues and how to legalize a sustainable vision for your community contact the NHCRN at firstname.lastname@example.org and visitwww.nhcommunityrights.org. NHCRN is non-profit-volunteer organization educating communities and electeds in how to protect our right to self-determination, empowering them with authority to legalize the vision they have, free from private corporate controls and government overreach.
NHCRN Board Member