We the People 2.0
Directed by Leila Conners (2018)
This documentary is about the community rights movement. It profiles grassroots groups all over the US fighting federal and state laws that usurp the ability of local government to protect the citizens they represent against the toxic and environmentally destructive activities of corporations.
Close to 10,000 US communities have established grassroots community rights groups. Two hundred local jurisdictions have passed community rights ordinances that allow them to restrict toxic and environmentally destructive corporate activities. Examples include fracking (near schools and homes), strip mining, toxic sludge disposal, fly ash* dumping, giant hog factories and mountain top removal.
Pittsburgh City Council was the first local authority to pass a community rights ordinance in 2010. In addition to guaranteeing all Pittsburgh residents the right to clean air, fresh water, freedom from chemical trespass,* and the right to local self-governance, the ordinance also prohibits oil and gas extraction within Pittsburgh city limits.
The national Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has been assisting local communities in starting community rights organizations since 1995. Where local residents can’t persuade officials who supposedly represent them to pass community rights laws, they campaign to vote them out of office or enact community rights ordinances through ballot initiative
Their International Law Center (see https://celdf.org/law-library/international-law-center/) assisted Ecuador, the first country to recognize the rights of nature, in amending their constitution in 2008. They are also helping NGOs in India to pass a national Ganga River Rights Act.
CELDF is among a growing number of grassroots groups calling for a peoples constitutional convention to amend the US Constitution. They believe the 1789 Constitution has allowed the US to become a corporate state as opposed to a republic. See https://celdf.org/2017/05/blog-us-constitution-1789-time-serious-overhaul/
*Fly Ash – is a toxic byproduct of coal combustion in electric power plants.
**Chemical trespass – is a legal term for the involuntary exposure of human beings to toxic chemicals.
The film can be viewed via most public libraries at Beamafilm