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Organizing for Community Rights

Greetings!  Welcome to the rights-based organizing list-serve from Global Exchange!

You've received this e-mail because of your interest in Global Exchange's community rights campaign and/or Democracy Schools!  This is the launch of a bi-monthly list-serve, where we will be sending out updates on what is currently happening with rights-based organizing in California and elsewhere no more than two times a month.  Including updates on the campaign at Global Exchange, articles and information related to this work, announcements of upcoming Democracy Schools and other news.  Please invite others you know that are interested in community organizing or Democracy Schools to also join this list-serve by referring them to the community organizing webpage:

In this issue:

-  Special, 1-day Democracy School in San Francisco!

-  Recent articles and information on rights-based organizing

-  Updates on current campaigns in California

-  New community rights DVD. Reclaiming Democracy is now available!

Upcoming November Democracy School!


-  Ben Price: Project Director for CELDF. Community organizer based in PA.

-  Shannon Biggs: Rights Based Campaign director for Global Exchange and co-author of "Building the Green Economy: Success stories from the grassroots" 

- School covered in 1 day instead of 3!

-  Classes limited to 30 people of all interests and occupations.

-  Total Cost for this empowering training is $65.

-  We are offering a $15 early bird discount if fully registered prior to September 1st, 2009! (Total early bird cost $50)

- 150-page curriculum mailed 2 weeks before course.
-  Snacks and breakfast provided.

To register:
Please contact Shannon Biggs: shannon@globalexchange.org and at 415.575.5540 or,

Kylie Nealis: kylie@globalexchange.org

***For more information on Democracy School at Global Exchange and to read testimonies from past participants, click on the link below!
Recent articles and information on rights-based organizing

In the past few months, there have been some excellent articles appearing on rights-based organizing work and the origins of corporate personhood as well on the rights of nature.  Please, if you'd like, take some time to check out the following articles.  We enjoyed reading them and hope you will too!

On rights-based organizing and corporate power:

I) Who Decides if Corporations Can Pollute or Drive Out Local Business?

  By Shannon Biggs

--> http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/greenrights/6220.html

II)  1886 - When the American Experiment Died, by OpEdNews


On the rights of nature:

III)  (Natural) History in the Making:  Ecuador and U.S. Communities Recognize Nature has Rights, by Shannon Biggs

--> http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/greenrights/rtsofnaturef2.pdf

***For more articles related to rights-based organizing and the rights of nature, please visit our news updates page by clicking on the link below!

Global Exchange's current rights-based organizing campaigns in California:

Mt. Shasta, CA -->

                  In Mt. Shasta, CA, citizens want to stop corporate weather manipulation (cloud seeding) and they don't want their aquifer drained by water bottlers either.  This past spring, Global Exchange assisted folks in Mt. Shasta to craft a local ordinance to protect natural water cycles and the community's right to water.  The ordinance will prohibit water withdrawal by large corporations as well as prohibit corporate cloud seeding.  The ordinance also recognizes the rights of nature by asserting natures right to natural water cycles.

                  This summer, residents in Mt. Shasta are gathering signatures from 15% of the registered voter population to have their ordinance passed by the city council in October, making them the first municipality in California to pass a rights-based ordinance.  To learn more or to get involved in the campaign, please contact Shannon Biggs at Global Exchange: (shannon@globalexchange.org)

Santa Cruz, CA --> 

                  In 2007, Santa Cruz and Monterey were both subject to aerial application of a synthetic pheromone by the CDFA despite community protest. The synthetic pheromone was the state's response to the "threat" of the Light Brown Apple Moth. The aerial application of the pheromone did not just occur over agricultural land, but over residential areas as well. In response to the harms that the spray brought on their community, citizen groups formed to protest the spraying, anti-spray petitions were signed, health complaints were documented post-spray and yet the state continues to refuse to abort plans to continue spraying these communities and many others in California.

Global Exchange has been working closely with organizers in Santa Cruz to craft a local ordinance that asserts the rights of the people of Santa Cruz to be the ones to make decisions about the mass application of chemicals and pesticides in their community. They now have an ordinance drafted and are moving into the process of gathering the support of the local community.

Nevada City, CA -->

                  In November of last year, Synergia Learning Ventures and South Yuba River Citizen's League (SYRCL) hosted a Democracy School in Nevada City.  Democracy School empowered residents in the community to stand up to the threats of developers and unsustainable practices in their community, specifically surrounding the region's Yuba River and its watersheds.  Folks in Nevada City are planning on hosting another Democracy School there this upcoming August or September.  In the meantime, residents in Nevada City are working to determine a clear purpose and direction for their ordinance as well as taking time for outreach events regarding the importance of protecting the Yuba River watersheds in their community.  They are also working to educate fellow community members more on the groundwork in the rights-based organizing approach itself, which is less to stop a direct threat, and more to answer the question of "Who Decides?" and by so doing, to claim the right to community self-governance.

Get the full story! Community Rights DVD

Reclaiming Democracy:  How Communities are saying "NO" to Corporate Rights and Recognizing the Rights of Nature --> 

In November 2008, speaking before residents of Grass Valley and Nevada City, CA, Thomas Linzey of CELDF and Shannon Biggs of Global Exchange made inspiring pubic presentations before teaching a Democracy School.  The DVD, Reclaiming Democracy, covers Biggs and Linzey as they describe how more than 100 communities have enacted laws that place the rights of communities and nature over the claimed "rights" of corporations. They describe how rights-based organizing stems from a new understanding of the origins of corporate power and how it works as a radical and inspiring approach that brings decision-making back to communities.

The entire DVD, Reclaiming Democracy: How Communities are saying "NO" to Corporate Rights and Recognizing the Rights of Nature is available as follows:

·       S. Biggs presents "Who Decides" 18 min.

·       T. Linzey, co founder of Community Enviromental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) presents "The PA Story", "Challenging the Mythology" and "Democracy Schools" 72 min.

·       Q&A 35 minutes.

***You can purchase the entire DVD directly online for $20 by clicking on the link below.  There, you can also watch an 8-minute clip from Shannon's longer presentation!

Give us your feedback!

What would you like to see on this list-serve? Please give us your comments and feedback; we'd love to hear it!  Please feel free to contact us:

Shannon Biggs
(415) 575 - 5540
Kylie Nealis
(415) 575 - 5540

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