Editor’s Introduction: October 2013

by: Posted on: October 08, 2013

Welcome to our October 2013 Editor’s Introduction—published on the 8th of every month.

Join us in continuing the conversation. Send op-eds and leads to info@readthedirt.org.

Coming Soon (Book): Read the Dirt: Best of the Early Years, A Sign of Things to Come—Read the Dirt Press 2013. Email info@readthedirt.org to secure a first edition copy.


The Articles:

When The State Pushes Back: We speak with Kai Huschke, the NW and Hawaii Organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund—working to pass Community Bills of Rights that elevate local law and rights above corporate rights. Local initiatives he advised have recently received state-level push-backs. The backlash in Washington State, for example, overturned over 100 years of Washington State legal precedent.

The People Know Best, Should We Listen?: Willmeng, actively working to pass a Lafayette, CO Community Rights Act to prohibit all new oil and gas extraction, asks questions of the movement in opposition to hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking). Specifically, Willmeng responds to a Denver Post op-ed written by a local Congressman and questions the movements’ awareness of public opinion.

“I am submitting these questions because I feel that the public, over the last year, has become increasingly sophisticated about the oil and gas industry, and about the corporations that claim that mineral rights are superior to either human or civil rights… I believe that the public is already ahead of us as a movement in terms of the role of corporate power and the need for a direct challenge to that… Something needs to change fundamentally, profoundly, and urgently about how the environmental leaders discuss, conceptualize, and formulate the challenges we now face.” -Cliff Willmeng


This Crow Won’t Fly: Continuing our coverage of the Homeless Rights Movement. See here for an introduction to the movement by one of its most outspoken leaders.

Also, in a recent San Fransisco police newsletter the insulting language used to describe the homeless was made plain and clear. See it here(.pdf).

Sacred Democracy-Democracy: a Work in Progress: In Philip Damon’s sixth Sacred Democracy column he provides an antidote to the mainstream media’s high-frequency buzz. For links to Phil’s previous columns visit his contributor page by clicking here.

A New County Constitution: On Nov.5 citizens of Jefferson County, WA will vote on if they want to “charter” their county. To charter is tantamount to writing a county constitution. The Jefferson County Community Rights Coalition is supporting the effort, along with an unlikely bedfellow: the county’s Republicans. Democrats have come out in opposition. If the county votes ‘yes’ to chartering, the battle over what to put in it will proceed.

Dispatches from Denmark-Ærø: Sarah Vaira, a former EarthFix intern, is studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark–a world leader in clean energy and environmental planning. She will be sending Read the Dirt dispatches from her adventure. Her first appears below.

Questions for a County Council Could-Be: Rud Browne, running for Whatcom County Council this November, was the only candidate for Council willing to respond to our questionnaire. Read his responses below.

Naomi Klein Addresses New ‘Mega Union’ (Video): On September 1, 2013 Naomi Klein gave the following speech at the founding convention of UNIFOR, a new mega union created by the Canadian Autoworkers and the Canadian Energy and Paper Workers Union. She speaks to the power narrative and argues that climate change can provide a narrative that unites our many social causes.

Disco may be the only way to stop Monsanto (Video): This is Label GMO Disco (parody of Village People YMCA)–in support of Washington’s I-522 to label GMOs.

Protect The Local Initiative Process-Why Support WA Initiative 517: Envision Spokane offers a preface to their support for I-517: “Eyman [who backs I-517] is no friend of [Envision Spokane’s] Community Bill of Rights and Envision Spokane is no friend of Eyman initiatives. Both parties are very clear on that.” However, they agree on one point…


Reprints: (We were given explicit permission to reprint the below articles.)

(Ohio) Frack-Backers Launch Preemptive Strikes against Democracy Attempt to Block Community Bills of Rights from Voters: By Tish O’Dell, via Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

The California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Speaks to the Need for Wise Immigration Reform: This is the first installment of Read the Dirt’s coverage of Domestic Workers Bills of Rights. via American Immigration Council

Support Local Food Rights Will Not Be Deterred by Legislature’s Blow to Democracy: via Community Rights Lane County

Economic Sovereignty At Stake: via Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources

Sangerville, Maine Adopts Community Bill Of Rights Ordinance to Reject Transportation and Distribution Corridors: By Gail Darrell, via Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Sacred Headwaters: By David Suzuki, via David Suzuki Foundation

Oregon Communities Launch Statewide Network for Community Rights: By Kai Huschke, via Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

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