Community Rights Background

Who makes the decisions in your community?

The rights-based model of community action is being called the new frontier of the civil rights struggle, because it is our own state and federal laws that are standing in the way of our right to determine what happens to us in the places where we live. The biggest threat posed by corporations is not the illegal stuff of headlines. The real danger is what big corporations are empowered to do legally, every day, in every community across the country. From water withdrawal to polluting refineries, toxic sludge spreading, GMOs and more, the corporate few wield the law against our communities, endangering our health, safety and the environment.

State and federal law says that corporations don't need community permission to drop pesticides overhead, or to site a toxic dump next to the school grounds. So who does decide? State agencies issue corporations "permits" and state legislatures routinely "preempt" (usurp) community lawmaking authority on behalf of those corporations. When corporate executives decide to site an unwanted project in our communities, we are told we cannot say "no," because that would be a violation of the corporation's Constitutional rights. But we can change that.

This program is providing a framework to transform grassroots organizing to protect people and planet.

  • Rights of nature – We cannot truly protect the environment if the law continues to see nature as mere property to be exploited at will. Slaves were once property, until we changed unjust law to recognize their rights. We’re at the forefront of a commonsense global revolution for nature’s rights.
  • Corporate Power & Personhood – Corporations are not people, and should not have the same “rights" afforded to people. Our Community Rights Program seeks to strip corporations of the legal powers and protections (including personhood) used to override the will of the people in our communities.
  • Restoring Democracy – It’s time to put the “we the people" back into the democratic process. This program provides a legal framework and organizing model for the public to assert their inalienable rights in the place it matters most -- where they live. Organizing for Community Rights is the current chapter in the struggle for civil rights.


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