Corvallis Declaration of Community Rights

By the authority of the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes that governments are instituted to secure the rights of people and derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and of the Constitution of the State of Oregon, Article I, Section 1 Natural Rights Inherent in People, which states,

We declare that all [people] when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.”Print

Therefore, as all power of governance is inherent in the people, we the people of Oregon, gathered in Corvallis, Oregon, this 12th day of September 2013 declare:

We the people recognize that our communities are under siege from the corporations that cause economic, cultural, environmental, and public harm;

We the people recognize our confinement in a system of laws that grants greater rights to corporations than to residents of our communities;

We the people recognize that this system grants corporate minorities the legal authority to override the community majority right to choose that which secures its health, safety, and welfare;

We the people recognize that the legal system has conferred unequal power on the basis of property ownership so that those holding the most property obtain and wield superior rights;

We the people recognize that this system of law hinders and obstructs our ability to adapt to economic, cultural, and environmental change;

We the people recognize that corporate control of legislation and governance denies our right to an authentically democratic local, state, and federal representation necessary to protect our communities from corporate harms;

We the people recognize that our health, safety, welfare, and survival of our local businesses, farms, ecosystems, and neighborhoods depend on restructuring the current system of governance, because it favors corporations over community-based, democratic decision-making;

We the people recognize that, because democracy means “governance of, by, and for the people” and “consent of the governed”, democracy does not exist in our communities or in the state of Oregon;

Therefore, we now exercise our inherent and inalienable right to create authentic democracy in our communities, municipalities, and counties within our State; and

We the People call on communities across the State of Oregon to:

  • Enact local laws and adopt charter amendments that recognize community rights for residents of Oregon and preserve the inherent rights of natural ecosystems to exist and flourish;
  • Include in those local laws and charter amendments direct challenges to the system of laws and legal doctrines that secure greater rights for corporations than for residents of our communities or natural ecosystems;
  • Build a statewide network of local rights-asserting communities involved in changing our state constitution to incorporate the inherent self-governing authority of the people.
  • Join together with other state community rights networks in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Washington, Colorado and all other states demanding changes to the federal Constitution that will elevate the rights of people, communities, and nature above the illegitimate “rights” of corporations and the governing authorities they control.

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