Community Rights VS Corporate Power: What Would Rosa Parks Do?


OK…technically, Rosa Parks took a seat for rights, but when it comes to corporations citing unwanted and dangerous projects, communities are taking a stand for rights.  A stand for their right to determine what happens in the place where we live. A stand for the right not to be a sacrifice zone for corporate profits.

After all, who else but the people directly affected should decide what happens to them where they live and raise their families?  Currently, 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. We are told we cannot say “no,” to the unwanted project because that would be a violation of the corporation’s Constitutional rights.

That’s where Rosa Parks comes in. And not just Rosa, but Susan B. Anthony and the suffragettes, the abolitionists, and every other movement for rights in this country that challenged the law when those laws denied the rights of people.  Hard as it is to believe now, slavery was once legal and constitutional…but illegitimate and unjust… because it was depriving the rights of affected human beings.

According to the Declaration of Independence, the purpose of law and government is to uphold rights of citizens; and if laws fail to do just that, they must be changed.  The growing movement for local control is merely the new frontier for the assertion of rights.

Global Exchange and our partner the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund assist communities in passing cutting-edge laws that put residents’ interests above corporate profits.

In Mt Shasta residents concerned about water bottling and toxic chemical corporate cloud seeding formed the Mt. Shasta Community Rights project specifically to put decision making about water  under local – not corporate – control.  We helped them craft the ordinance and write the report “Mt Shasta Water Rights: Who Decides?

If passed in November by the people, their RIGHTS-based ordinance will be the first of its kind in California.  I think Rosa Parks would be proud to take a stand.

Keep updated: Follow Communityrights on Twitter:  and join the listserve.

For more info on the ordinance, cloud seeding and the Mt. Shasta campaign, see Jeff Conant’s recent in depth article on alternet:

Outrage as PG&E Plans to Spray Clouds With Toxic Chemical to Increase Rainfall