“The environmental movement is a failure. Whether it’s climate change or the health of our oceans, air, and soil, the planet is worse off now than it was 40 years ago, and rapidly declining. Yet corporations have more rights than our communities or ecosystems, and are doing just fine. This film is about how we fix this situation.” – Thomas Linzey, Executive Director, CELDF.

Communities across the country are confronted with a barrage of corporate activities such as mining, drilling and fracking, factory farming, sludging, and water extraction. When residents try to stop these threats, they learn that they do not have legal authority to say “no.” Some of these communities begin to explore why they can’t say “no,” and realize, “If we aren’t able to make critical decisions about the places where we live, do we have democracy? If not, why not? And what are we going to do about it?”

This film will help people break out of the box of conventional, traditional activism to make fundamental change that elevates the rights of people, communities, and nature over the interests of property and commerce. These communities have reached the shared conclusion that without replacing the complex web of law and governance that subordinates communities to higher levels of government and corporate decision making, they will never have democracy and will be unable to protect their communities, the environment, the local economy, local agriculture, or quality of life.

In the footsteps of the Abolitionists and the Suffragists, these communities are frontally challenging an illegitimate structure of law and governance – what many have described as a “corporate state” – which protects and empowers a minority of wealthy interests over the majority. Through local lawmaking, they are taking on nearly 200 years of jurisprudence that clothes private corporations in the protection of the U.S. Constitution and that has resulted in a very small number of people making decisions that have decimated the natural environment and local economies; commodified nature, workers, and people; and undermined the ability of communities to self-govern.

To learn more about the four elements that make up our legal framework and prohibit communities from saying “no” to sludging and other threats, forming a barrier to local self-government, click here.

Thomas Linzey, co-founder and Executive Director of CELDF, will make these four issues accessible through a recounting of the history of community rights and telling the story of how this work has evolved and where it’s heading, drawing parallels with past people’s movements such as the Abolitionists and Suffragists. Linzey will also lay out what the promise of our democracy really means in practice and how we can, as citizens, practice democracy. He will show how past people’s movement, when faced with an illegitimate structure of law, understood that nothing would truly change unless they frontally challenged that structure.

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