Natural Allies: Alliance for a 28th Amendment

This category of ally seems to revolve around what Move to Amend has popularized as a national movement with local components to amend our constitution and explicitly ban corporate personhood and participation in (and corruption of) local, state and national politics.

WolfPAC seems Move to Amend-ish in focus and strategy on eliminating corporate influence in politics (someone please correct me if they have different strategic focuses).  Here’s their Oregon organizing group: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups#!forum/wolfpac-oregon/join

Other state groups can be accessed through their website.

The different goals of rights assertion and elevation (the community rights movement) and an explicit ban on corporate personhood (both community rights and 28th Amendment movements) are complementary and mutually reinforcing ways to protect the health, safety and welfare of communities.  The elevation of the rights of people, communities and nature to acheive democratic sovereignty over the interests of a privileged, corporatized minority works alongside an explicit ban of corporate personhood to protect nature, people and communities from corporate trespass and exploitation.

Strategically-speaking, if the community rights work gains a foothold first, then it paves the way for the needed 28th amendment to happen much more easily and quickly from that point on (constitutional amendments in democratic governments aren’t actually that big of a deal).  If the 28th Amendment happens first, it rests on precarious foundations until we acheive the democratic sovereignty of the people (the Commerce Clause, Supreme Court and authoritarian pre-emption still remain, and can and will corrupt any amendment toward serving the purposes of an elite minority — no matter how well-written the language seems to be).  Strategic collaboration with these groups can help ensure that the work doesn’t stop at the amendment, and we follow it all the way through.

The Alliance for Democracy seems to recognize this broader point, in that it looks beyond the issue of corporate personhood at the structure and function of American government stating that

The issue is not the issues, it’s the system.

It aims for democratic sovereignty of the people as well as ending corporate influence in politics.  It is populist in nature, which indicates an honest stance on true democratic sovereignty.  It’s promising to see them as members of a larger alliance in partnership with more focused groups such as WolfPAC and Move to Amend.

Common Cause is based in Portland, Oregon, and seems to be focused on lobby efforts.  Again, a post-community rights society still needs an engaged citizens’ lobby — it just becomes easier to lobby on the behalf of the inherent and inalienable rights of nature, communities and people when the system is structured explicitly to democratically recognize and protect those rights.  So there maybe be potential there, as well.  At least, if I were a Director of Common Cause, I would want to see the Community Rights movement succeed to make my efforts to give citizens an empowered voice in their government more effective!

All these groups seem to be part of a larger alliance that recognizes a general problem in our democracy.  This alliance has common cause with Community Rights in its recognition of the current state of corporatocracy.  I see two difference in analysis:

  1. They seem to view the current predicament as a corruption of our system rather than its intended, designed purpose as a “limited monarchy” of aristocratic rule from day-one.  We might engage them with J. Allen Smith’s Spirit of American Government to provide historical context for the structural, designed-origin of systemic corruption.   In other words, the system actually works incredibly well with regard to the Framer’s intended design.
  2. There seems to be an absence of the discussion of the origin of rights, which implies that they originate from the constitution rather than being inherent and inalienable.  We might engage them with Cormac Cullinan’s Wild Law (specifically Chapter 8 discussion of rights) or Thomas Berry’s work on the “Origin, Differentiation and Role of Rights.”

The second point above seems to be a philosophical and strategic stumbling block and a source of cognitive dissonance.  We simply cannot acheive democratic sovereignty until the people recognize that rights originate with them, and that neither constitution nor court reigns Supreme in a Democracy.  In Democracies, constitutions and governments and courts exist only to recognize and protect the inherent and inalienable rights of people, communities and nature.  Neither our current Constitution nor our Courts, nor governments, corporations or any other fiction of our current system of law reflect our national values of democratic republicanism, yet so many of us still consider them the source of the supreme law of the land to which we must adhere, even in the process of changing them to reflect our actual values.  In reality, we, the people and nature are that source of Supreme Law.  When we recognize this, our path forward becomes a bit more clear (not necessarily any more simple or easier):  We replace the corrupt system with one structured to make the will of the people sovereign for the purpose of protecting the inherent and inalienable rights of people, nature and communities.  And our work doesn’t stop there, either.

We could say that what others are doing is “not enough,” but the truth is, nothing anyone does (including the community rights work) is enough.  Hopefully everything together will be enough.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Josie Koehne <josephine.koehne@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 10:15 PM
Subject: Join us this Sunday: Overturn Citizens United with a 28th Amendment

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It’s time to take our country back from big money and corporate interests!

The 28th Amendment National Roadshow:

Money is not speech and corporations are not people!

Sunday, May 4th, 12 noon 5 PM

Portland State University – Hoffman Hall

1833 SW 11th Ave, Portland OR

Suggested ticket price:  $12.00|Free for students

with the documentary film preview of “Pay 2 Play”

Hosted by OSPIRG
Sponsored by Oregon Democracy Coalition

Confirmed Speakers:

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