OverviewWe the People offers powerful portraits of communities across the United States that have faced threats from environmentally destructive corporate projects and responded by successfully banning those projects at a local level. We hear the inspiring voices of ordinary citizens and activists practicing a cutting-edge form of organizing developed by the nonprofit law firm, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Their methodology is an answer for the frustrations of untold numbers of activists who have been defeated time and again by corporate political power and legal entitlement. Instead of fighting against what we don't want, this book can teach us to create from the ground up what we do want, basing our vision in local control and law. This work is about finishing the American Revolution by giving up the illusion of democracy and forging a system of true self-governance. In addition, this is about recognizing in law, for the first time in history, that nature possesses legally enforceable rights of its own.
Reviews"These stories from the front lines of the community rights movement remind us of how corporate 'rights' supersede the rights of 'we the people' at the local level, and how we can never build the democracy we want unless a grassroots rebellion arises from below to challenge corporate supremacy. Every community fighting a corporate goliath should take the lessons from these pages to heart." —Thom Hartmann, author, host, The Thom Hartmann Program
"For thousands of years, the law of human beings was to keep the covenant with the natural world. Greed, the rise of empire and the modern corporate state have undermined this covenant and placed communities, human health, and the natural world in peril. The work on restoration of the rights of nature, and the rights of those who live there, or community rights, is essential to the transformation of our legal and policy system into one which is sustainable, and one which will serve the needs of the natural world and the seven generations ahead. This book is not only the concept, it is most importantly the practice of the hard work of making change." —Winona LaDuke, executive director, Honor the Earth
"As we scan the landscape of cataclysmic destruction, both environmental and social, behind the curtain in most cases is an economic motive. The rhinoceros in the room today is corporate power, the inevitable logic of a system that relentlessly concentrates wealth, distributes poverty, and leaves in its terrible wake a democracy deficit. This powerful book is a field guide to nonviolent revolution. It tells the story of how courageous communities are using innovative legal and political strategies to restore nature, communities, and democracy. It's some of the most important work in the world today. Read it and act." —Kenny Ausubel, CEO and founder, Bioneers
"Tireless, brilliant, and courageous, Thomas Linzey and all the other great people at CELDF have long been my heroes. If democracy--and the planet--have any chance of survival, it is through the work of wonderful people such as these, who both teach us and inspire us to action." —Derrick Jensen, author, Endgame
"There is no sustainability without the rule of law: a constitution that respects the laws of nature and fundamental human rights. Thomas Linzey is on the right path." —Spencer B. Beebe, Executive Chair, Ecotrust
"From the Hellbenders of Pennsylvania to the councils of Spokane to the rainforests of Ecuador – We the People invites us to meet the courageous and persistent people on the front lines of the struggle for community rights and the rights of nature." —Charlie Cray, Senior Research Specialist, Greenpeace, Center for Corporate Policy
"Nature's right to gloriously carry forth is as inalienable as the sun rising each morning. Tom Linzey and Anneke Campbell's remarkable book helps to revolutionize our thinking and our plan to enact and sustain this deep common sense." —Randy Hayes, founder, Rainforest Action Network; Executive Director, Foundation Earth
"We the People provides those involved in reclaiming their democratic rights, bestowed upon Americans by the Constitution, to affect change in their communities and improve the quality of life for community members and the ecosystems in which they live." —Edward Wells, Professor, Environmental Studies, Division of Integrated Sciences, Wilson College
Author BiographyAnneke Campbell is a writer and documentary filmmaker who has worked for many years to advance the causes of justice and respect for all humanity and the environment. She is the coauthor of Moonrise. Thomas Linzey is an attorney and the executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. He is the coauthor of YES! magazine's "This Changes Everything."