The Community Doesn’t Have the Legal
Authority to Say “No”!
The existing structure of law ensures that people are blocked from advancing their rights, governing their own communities and acting as stewards of the environment, while protecting corporate “rights” and interests over those of communities and nature.
Community Rights work is a paradigm shift. It moves away from unsustainable practices that harm communities by moving towards local self-government.
Today, policy-makers have told communities across the country that they don’t have the right to make critical decisions for themselves. They’re told they cannot say “no” to GMOs or aerial spraying. They’re told they cannot say “yes” to sustainable food or energy systems.
Through the Community Rights Movement, communities are working with CELDF to create a structure of law and government of the people, by the people, and for the people. That structure recognizes and protects the inalienable rights of natural and human communities.
Community Rights Include
Right to Shelter
Such as the fundamental right to rest, shelter and accept free food in a non-obstructive manner.
Such as the right to living wages and equal pay for equal work.
Rights of Nature
Such as the right of ecosystems to flourish and evolve.
Such as the right of local community self-government, and the right to free and fair elections.
Community Rights Fight
State and Federal Preemption
One of the first things an elected official does upon taking office is to swear an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately for local communities and the environment, the Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states …” is an integral part of that constitution. According to the Cornell School of Law, “Congress has often used the Commerce Clause to justify exercising legislative power over the activities of states and their citizens, leading to significant and ongoing controversy regarding the balance of power between the federal government and the states. The Commerce Clause has historically been viewed as both a grant of congressional authority and as a restriction on the regulatory authority of the States.”
Imploring Oregon Governor Kate Brown to say “NO” the aerial spraying or to Jordan Cove’s LNG project is literally asking her to violate her oath of office and assumes she has plenary authority (or the balls) to stand up to federal preemption. She does not.
All Current Campaigns
Fight for a more democratic
Our governor can do nothing more than enforce regulatory guidelines designed specifically to permit projects like Jordan Cove, and permit the practice of aerial spraying, rather than to protect local communities from non-sustainable and environmentally damaging projects. Until we change the system sustainability will continue to be illegal in the US.
We can help our governor, however, by enacting local rights of nature ordinances and community bills of rights to shift the dispute away from the Commerce Clause and toward constitutional protections of fundamental human right to protect ourselves to higher standards than the environmental regulatory system allows.
Challenging & Changing the System
Not that there haven’t been brave elected officials willing to stand up to federal overreach and to violate unjust laws in our history. If not for such intrepid souls, we may never have abolished slavery and women may still not have the right to vote. Clearly, Oregon elected officials aren’t cut from the same cloth.
Like peoples movements of the past, the Community Rights movement is serving the function of both challenging and changing the legal system, directly confronting the devastating effects of climate change, standing up to corporate power, and charting a new course in how – culturally, economically, legally – people associate themselves to the places that sustain them.