CELDF

Join the Movement

CELDF is spearheading a movement at the local, state, national and international level to establish rights for humans and nature over the systems that control them. 

Join the Movement Now!

There are many opportunities to get involved at CELDF, from hosting a Democracy School, to volunteering in a community, to helping organize a campaign. Check out the opportunities below.

What is a People’s Movement?

In spite of the legendary belief that the United States Constitution established a government of, by and for the people, it is the people themselves who have long been struggling to straighten the crooked bough of American law. In 1789 state conventions run by the wealthy members of society ratified a constitution that legalized chattel and debt slavery, denied the vote to all but white men, meaning women, Native Americans, African Americans, and white men who didn’t meet wealth qualifications in their states. The Bill of Rights offered no constitutional protections to these disenfranchised people; in fact those first ten amendments promised only to guard the rights of white men with property from government interference.

That the property status of African Americans has been ended, that women can vote, that gays and lesbians can now marry, and that land ownership is not a requirement for the franchise – these changes from the original intent of the constitutional framers (the “founding fathers”) are all due to people’s movements.

We can understand the nature of people’s movements by reviewing their goals: in each case it was the securing and protecting of fundamental rights for those whose rights have been denied and violated under color of law. Unless a systemic change in law and governance is being pursued,  there is no people’s movement. Hence we can say unequivocally that there has never been a true “environmental movement” in the U.S. until recently, since there has not been an attempt to do more than regulate the rate of nature’s destruction. Only now are small enclaves of people organizing to recognize constitutionally protected rights for nature. Similarly, we can say without prevarication that today there is no “labor movement” in the U.S., since people are not currently organized to secure and enforce the inalienable rights of workers on the job.

A people’s movement requires four things:

  1. The collective effort of many people
  2.  The end of begging for reform and the uncompromising exertion of community power
  3. The unerring goal of securing and enforcing fundamental rights
  4. The removal of systemic violations of those rights

 

CELDF has a plan

Step 1: Help communities stop threats, building a movement at the grassroots level. We’ve already helped nearly 200 communities sign legislation to protect their rights, hosted hundreds of Democracy Schools and are constantly working on education, organizing and providing legal services at the local level. We work diligently with communities every day.

Step 2: Bring communities together in coalitions to drive change at the state level. We’ve already helped build several independent state level coalitions in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Washington, New Hampshire, Oregon, Ohio and Colorado. And we’re working towards more every day.

Step 3: Bring states together to drive change at the federal level.

Step 4: Use our model to help international Community Rights and the Right’s of Nature efforts. We’ve helped Ecuador recognize the Rights of Nature in its constitution, and are working in other countries, including India, Nepal, Australia, and the European Union.

Timeline of Results