Corporate Domination and Community Rights


We the People not Them the Corporations

On February 1 and 2, the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and several local conservation and human rights organizations again gratefully welcome to Moscow Kai Huschke, the Spokane-based Northwest organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and an Envision Spokane activist.  Everyone is invited to participate in his public presentation and meeting in the 1912 Center Fiske Room, 412 East Third Street in Moscow.  On Friday evening, February 1, at 7 pm, Kai will talk about When the Law is on Their Side: What Communities are Doing Differently to Change the Game Against Corporate Domination, describing the legal background and necessity of the 150 community bills of rights codified by cities, counties, and townships as local “declarations of independence” from harmful corporate activities and their government facilitation.

Over the last 150 years, the few people who own and run corporations have perfectly constructed and patented a structure of law seldom understood in its practical applications.  These legal doctrines insulate corporations from community control, grant them greater legal and constitutional rights than community majorities, and routinely preempt and nullify resistance in targeted communities, who almost never win against corporations.  Communities predictably respond by focusing solely on the state-sanctioned destruction wrought by a corporate activity and by trying to convince other people of the need to ban, rather than merely regulate or allow, corporate actions and harms.  But by instead structurally changing the ground rules, people across the country have successfully joined together to organize and use their collective lawmaking powers and non-violent civil disobedience, directly challenging and ultimately liberating themselves from centuries-old corporate domination in everything from factory farms to water privatization to dirty energy, while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of communities and ecosystems.  Moscow and Latah County citizens could similarly offer important leadership and linkage in attaining more critical mass of this authentic democracy.

On Saturday morning, February 2, between 9 am and 12:30 pm, Kai Huschke will host a gathering of community members and organizational leaders who would have ideally, but not necessarily, attended the Friday talk and would like to advance a community bell of rights.  Kai will discuss Moving Away from What We Can Get to What We Want for Moscow and Latah County, exploring the regulatory world and community remedies for critical issues in the region and state.  The current legal system has conditioned citizen organizing and lobbying efforts to think and act upon ‘what we can get,’ which usually only remotely resembles ‘what we truly want,’ for the environments, land uses, and wellbeing of our communities.  As people confront the structural control of legal doctrines instituted by corporations and federal and state governments, they realize that communities lack any real power over corporate practices, even while bearing their impacts.  The workshop will consider why Americans have a corporate-dominated, state-assisted legal structure, how citizens typically cannot find resolutions through that system, and what communities are doing to effectively, pro-actively change the rules for the sake of sustainability, democracy, and nature.  Participants will have adequate opportunities within the following agenda to brainstorm and design an emerging community bill of rights for Moscow and/or Latah County:

1. Welcome and introductions

2. The evolution of corporate-shaped/state-supported legal doctrines and regulations

3. Community rights organizing

4. State-level organizing

5. Internationally enacted rights of nature

6. Moving from what we can get to what we want

Envision Spokane is also providing a timely, free presentation and question-and-answer session, entitled Slaves, Suffragists, and Civil Rights: Changing the Law through Disobedience to the Law, on Tuesday, January 29, between 6 and 8 pm in the Community Building lobby at 35 West Main Street in Spokane (see the facebook link Envision Spokane).  The talk will address how communities are kicking corporate bullies to the curb by refusing to play by their rules: 1) Why the law favors corporations over people, 2) Moving from defensive to offensive activism, and 3) Reframing problems through community bills of rights.

For more event and issue information, contact Helen Yost of WIRT at wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com or 208-301-8039 or reach Kai Huschke at kai@celdf.org or 509-607-5034.  Reference the WIRT website for basic but comprehensive, pertinent articles about community rights.

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