Here's the latest news from across the US and beyond, from communities which are stripping corporations of their so-called Constitutional "rights" and exercising their inherent right to govern themselves 



Greetings to my rapidly growing list of blog subscribers,

Oh my! Have I been busy this past month, almost entirely on the road teaching in rural Wisconsin and Iowa communities. Thus the delay again in getting this Update out. My goal continues to be a twice-monthly publication, but sometimes my travel and teaching schedule will interfere in such worthy intentions. So thank you for your patience! The wait will have been well worth it, as there are some quite juicy stories, below. As well as a wonderful new video of Wisconsinites discussing Community Rights (details just below in the last paragraph of my intro letter).

On October 17, I led a short introductory workshop for 50 folks near Iowa City, sponsored by 100Grannies for a Livable Future. I will be heading back there to lead a full weekend workshop for them November 13-15. Then on October 18, I led a short intro workshop for close to 70 folks in Fairfield, Iowa, sponsored by Jefferson County Community Rights Network. In attendance were 12 Republicans, including the chairperson of the county Republican Party, who was thrilled to have attended, and wants very much to become active in their local group. Proving once again that this truly is a trans-partisan social movement! 

Fairfield is the national HQ of the Transcendental Meditation movement, and the location of Maharishi University (with a very impressive campus and curriculum). 30% of the 10,000 townsfolk are TM meditators. A very trippy place to visit as you might well imagine!  I hope I can return there one day soon to offer them additional support in their efforts,

On October 23-25, I led my weekend intensive in Washburn, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior, for about 35 folks, organized by an ad hoc group of long-time residents who are intent on stopping the first-ever CAFO (factory farm) from being sited there. The Friday evening session's attendees included three local mayors, the chairman of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, and a state senator! The day after my workshop, videographer (and workshop attendee) Barbara With set up an informal round table conversation with six of us, about the workshop and the CR work that is about to unfold in Bayfield and Ashland counties. Click HERE to check out this compelling two-hour video in multiple short segments. And please forward this link to others, as it makes a wonderful informal intro to what our Community Rights work is all about!

All the best!

Paul Cienfuegos 

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"We the People Standing Together to Protect Our Climate: Lessons from the Community Rights Movement"

In February in Minneapolis, and again in May in Portland, Oregon, I presented a comprehensive original speech before a live audience. It was titled "We the People Standing Together to Protect Our Climate: Lessons from the Community Rights Movement". David Barsamian's nationally broadcast show, 'Alternative Radio', produced a 52-minute audio version of the Minneapolis event. Here finally is an uncut broadcast-quality video of the Portland event. It's almost two hours long (speech + extensive Q&A).

Are you part of a climate protection group? I urge you to copy and share this visionary speech with your listserv or facebook community. Thank you! (And if you happen to know Naomi Klein personally, please also help me get this into her hands.)

* Part One - Speech - "We the People Standing Together to Protect Our Climate: Lessons from the Community Rights Movement"

* Part Two - Q&A with the Audience


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The Supreme Court: From the Doctrine of Discovery to corporate constitutional "rights" (Part 1)

Paul's Weekly Commentary/Podcast for October 13, 2015

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The Supreme Court begins to overrule the other branches of government (Part 2)

Paul's Weekly Commentary/Podcast for October 22, 2015


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The Supreme Court begins to grant Personhood & Commerce Clause "rights" to corporations (Part 3)

Paul's Weekly Commentary/Podcast for October 27, 2015

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The Supreme Court grants 1st, 5th, & 7th Amendment "rights" to the Corporation (Part 4)

Paul's Weekly Commentary/Podcast for November 3, 2015

Listen to the podcast...

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Ho-Chunk Nation adds “Rights of Nature” to their Constitution

I was thrilled to have been invited to lead my weekend workshop on the land of the Ho-Chunk Native Nation in Wisconsin in the Spring of 2014. At that event, I made contact with some of the leading Native activists in the community. I like to imagine that my workshop played some part in the Ho-Chunk Nation amending their Constitution this past September and adding Rights of Nature language to it, when 1900 tribal members gathered in Madison, Wisconsin to discuss and vote on major issues. Click HERE  to find out more about this historic event, on the website of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.

And HERE is a 22-minute video on the history of global organizing for the Rights of Nature.


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The Latest on the Spokane Worker Bill of Rights campaign, which was just DEFEATED this week

The Spokane, Washington Community Rights group has more stamina than perhaps any other Community Rights group in the country! They have attempted to run Community Rights ordinances every second year since 2009, and they move closer each time to winning at the ballot box. But the forces of the 1% are well mobilized, so sadly, the Worker Bill of Rights went down to defeat this past Tuesday by a vote of 38% Yes to 62% No. Not surprisingly, the campaign was massively outspent, with their opponents having raised $244,420, while the campaign raised just $26,795 (a 9 to 1 funding disadvantage). Virtually all of that oppositional money was from corporations and business associations, which is just one more reason why we need to end all corporate "rights", including interference in OUR elections. If this had been a publicly funded election, we would have won big!

Here are some key documents about their campaign from this past month:

* An Open Letter to Spokane Voters and Small Businesses
From the Envision Worker Rights campaign

* "Spokane voters reject worker bill of rights
A local newspaper article on Election Day (November 3, 2015)

* "A Bill of Rights That Puts Workers Above Corporations: It’s up to the voters of Spokane, Washington"
by Simon Davis-Cohen, in the newspaper In These Times

* Spokane, WA Advances Worker Rights 
From Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund - A brief history of worker's rights

* "ALEC Forces the Question: Will Labor Really Go Local?
by Simon Davis-Cohen, in TruthOut - an older but directly relevant article from January 2015


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Lots of News from the Grant Township, Pennsylvania battle to protect the rights of nature and local communities from fracking-related activities

It's a big story with lots of twists and turns! So if you're impatient, and want to get straight to the hopeful and exciting developments from this past week, just read the last entry, below.

* "Green group's unconventional fight against fracking"
A well-written background piece about many of our movement's Community Rights campaigns, including this one, & some opposing views - from Reuters

* "Grant Township, PA: The People Left Out of Court Decision"
From a 10/15/2015 press release

* "Grant Township, PA Asserts Rights in a People's Municipal Charter"
From a 11/3/2015 press release
Here's an excerpt from the above press release:

"Last night, the people of Grant Township adopted the country’s first municipal charter establishing a local bill of rights. The Grant Bill of Rights codifies environmental and democratic rights, and bans frack wastewater injection wells as a violation of those rights. Grant joins a growing numbers of communities across Pennsylvania and the U.S. that are coming together in a Community Rights Movement, to stand up to a system of law that forces frack waste wells and other practices into communities, and protects corporations over people, communities, and nature. The passage of the Grant charter comes fourteen months after the Township was sued by Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA). PGE proposed a frack wastewater injection well for the community, against the wishes of Township residents. Injection wells have polluted drinking water and triggered earthquakes in several states. In June 2014, the elected officials of Grant Township adopted a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance, which prohibited the injection well as a violation of the community’s rights to clean air and water, and local self-government. In its lawsuit, PGE claimed that it had a “right” to inject wastewater into the Township.  PIOGA has also declared that there is “no constitutional right to local self-government” or to be free from the harms associated with oil and gas production. Although a recent ruling in mid-October invalidated a portion of the Ordinance, the people of Grant Township have now reinstated the ban that the judge overturned. Transformation of the community into a home rule Township now invalidates most of that court ruling. ..."


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The Latest from 'Coloradans for Community Rights'

* "Communities Push for Legal Rights to Regain Power Over Fracking Companies"

A Colorado group with concerns about the environmental impacts of fracking are pushing for a fundamental change to the state's legal system to give communities greater power over corporations. Coloradans for Community Rights has set its sights on dismantling the legal system where state laws take precedence over local rules. This system where local authorities must fall back on state law instead of forming their own makes it nearly impossible to raise minimum wages, set environmental protections, or even strengthen tenant rights and set rent controls. ...

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More Community Rights Election News

* "West Chester, PA Adopts Community Rights Frack Ban"
From a 11/4/2015 press release

The people of West Chester overwhelmingly adopt a rights-based charter amendment, protecting their right to a healthy environment and to democratic, local self-government. ...

* "Youngstown: Just Shy of Victory"
From a 11/4/2015 press release

Advocating for community rights and fighting to protect their clean air and water for 2 1/2 years, last night Youngstown, Ohio, came closer than ever to codifying their rights. ...


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More Corporate Rule vs Democracy stories.....

* "Evolution of the US Solidarity Economy: Laura Flanders on the Rising Visibility of Cooperative Economics"
from The Transnational Institute

* "Science by the Chemical Industry, for the Chemical Industry Must Stop"
by Michael Green, Executive Director of Center for Environmental Health

* "Preempting Democracy: What's Not Being Voted on This November Is Sinister: From minimum wage increases to anti-fracking measures, the right of local citizens to vote on key issues is now in the crosshairs"
by Simon Davis-Cohen, Common Dreams (October 30, 2015)

* "Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show"
by Eric Lipton, New York Times (September 5, 2015)

* "Death by Fracking"
by Chris Hedges, on TruthDig (October 18, 2015)


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Thanks for your good attention to these important issues!

The stories you have read here are mostly not to be found in any of our nation's media, even in the independent media. So it's important that YOU help get these stories circulating. You can do so by clicking on the facebook or twitter links to the right, or by forwarding this email to your friends and colleagues. Thank you! 

You can make a tax-deductable donation towards my work HERE.

Have you recently read a story about corporate "rights" vs the rights of people and nature? Please consider forwarding it to me so I can share it with a wider audience. Thanks!

All of my current and previous e-newsletters are mirrored HERE. See you again in a few weeks!

Paul Cienfuegos

Upcoming Events

My teaching schedule these next few months takes me back to Iowa City next week, and a number of events at home in Portland. I have no other big travel plans until early 2016. My workshops in Mendocino & Lake County CA, have been postponed till Winter or Spring, as well as a visit to Kansas City KS. For full schedule details, click HERE.

To enquire about me visiting your community, please email me at


About Paul Cienfuegos

I have been doing grassroots community organizing on a wide variety of topics since my first year of college in 1977. I have been laser-focused on educating and organizing to dismantle corporate rule since 1995. Please visit my website for lots more info about my background and my work.

Since August 2014, I've been doing a weekly radio commentary/podcast on the KBOO Evening News in Portland, Oregon. You can review the entire archive or subscribe HERE.

I would be honored to travel to YOUR community to help you to begin the necessary steep learning curve towards eventually launching a Community Rights-based campaign. I offer introductory and full-weekend workshops, as well as giving public talks to audiences of any size. Please view My Endorsements and a list of My Workshop Offerings. Many previous participants have observed that my workshops are an excellent and significant first step towards launching a functional Community Rights ordinance campaign in YOUR community. This is what I do full-time, and I would love to assist YOU!

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