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View Full Version : Maine town asserts self rule and neuters corporations




susano
03-13-2009, 12:21 PM
Today the citizens of Shapleigh, Maine voted at a special town meeting to
pass a groundbreaking Rights-Based Ordinance, 114 for and 66 against. This
revolutionary ordinance give its citizens the right to local
self-governance and gives rights to ecosystems but denies the rights of
personhood to corporations. This ordinance allows the citizens to protect
their groundwater resources, putting it in a common trust to be used for
the benefit of its residents.

Shapleigh is the first community in Maine to pass such an ordinance, which
extends rights to nature, however, the Ordinance Review Committee in Wells,
Maine is considering passing one in their town. These communities have been
under attack by Nestle Waters, N.A., a multi-national water miner that
sells bottled water under such labels as Poland Springs.

Communities have opposed the expansion by Nestle Waters, but the
corporation will not take no for an answer. The town of Fryeburg, Maine has
been in litigation with Nestle for six years. Nestle wants to expand and
the town's people say no to the tanker trunk traffic which has disrupted
their quiet scenic beauty, so Nestle's tactic is to wear them down, and
break their bank.

Nestle is the world's largest food and beverage company and has very deep
pockets. However, we won't back down, we are the stewards of this most
precious resource water, and we want to protect it for future generations.

Activists in Maine are well aware that the Nestle Corporation is not just
interested in expanding for the purpose of filling their Poland Springs
bottles today, they are interested in the control of Maine's abundant water
resources for the future. They are expanding in many parts of this country
from McCloud, California to Maine. Nestle is positioning themselves to
capitalize on the emerging crisis of global water scarcity.

The right to water is a social justice issue and we believe that it should
not be sold to those who can afford it, leaving the world's poorest
citizens thirsty. Citizens will do a much better job of protecting this
resource than a for-profit corporation.

The concept of a rights-based ordinance was pioneered by environmental
attorney Thomas Linzey, founder of the Community Environmental Legal
Defense Fund of Gettysburg, PA. Linzey has assisted the town of Barnstead,
New Hampshire with their rights-based ordinance, which was passed in 2006
and with another in Nottingham, New Hampshire, which passed in 2008.

To date there have been no legal challenges to these ordinances. Linzey
also crafted Ecuador's new Constitution, which also gives the ecosystem
rights. Ecuador is the first country in the world to protect its natural
resources from corporate exploitation.

Activists have learned the hard way that trying to protect their
communities and the environment by going the route of fighting a typical
regulatory ordinance, which is written by corporate lobbyists, will fail to
protect communities from harms done.

The multi-national corporation's allegiance is never to the communities
where they do business, as that could conflict with their fiduciary
responsibility to make a profit for stockholders.

People throughout the country are saying "enough is enough, large
corporations have too much power." Constitutional Rights were granted to
corporations from the bench in the 1800's and it is time to rectify a
wrong! People are saying let's dismantle the neo-colonial corporate power
by starting with their right to personhood.

In Maine, we are tired of Nestle behaving as if they are a Colonial power
with a right to our water resources. We decided that we will behave as if
we have the power and ignore the naysayers who said that people will never
vote to take rights away from corporations or to give rights to nature. We
want to encourage other communities join us. The time is now!

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/40335

Aratus
03-22-2009, 08:27 AM
zoning at the local level hath a libertarian logic.

LibertyEagle
03-22-2009, 08:38 AM
I wonder if this town will sing the same tune, when and if Nestle moves out and their people are then mostly unemployed.

torchbearer
03-22-2009, 08:40 AM
I wonder if this town will sing the same tune, when and if Nestle moves out and their people are then mostly unemployed.

A lack of union would be a reason to stay.
each person negotiating their own work contracts would be a benefit to nestle.

LittleLightShining
03-22-2009, 08:41 AM
This ordinance allows the citizens to protect
their groundwater resources, putting it in a common trust to be used for
the benefit of its residents.This is a very dangerous precedent. What about private property rights?

donnay
03-22-2009, 09:29 AM
I think this is a step in the right direction. These people are collectively gathering and telling Nestle to pound salt and that Nestle is beholden to the citizens not the other way around.

LibertyEagle
03-22-2009, 09:33 AM
I think this is a step in the right direction. These people are collectively gathering and telling Nestle to pound salt and that Nestle is beholden to the citizens not the other way around.

Neither should be "beholden" to the other.

LibertyEagle
03-22-2009, 09:34 AM
A lack of union would be a reason to stay.
each person negotiating their own work contracts would be a benefit to nestle.

Agreed, but how is what Maine is doing here, going to cause that?

donnay
03-22-2009, 09:48 AM
Neither should be "beholden" to the other.

Point taken, but we need to start somewhere. The corporations have, as the article points out "deep pockets" and we know what happens when money is shifted around to buy up people and property.

Athan
03-22-2009, 11:54 AM
This is actually good. Corporations are not individuals and shouldn't have the same rights as one because some bonehead voted to give them that power without realizing the consequences. Nestle is abusing its legal power and should be treated just like any other business. If they pull their company from Maine, so be it. They wore out their welcome.

danberkeley
03-22-2009, 01:13 PM
"... putting it in a common trust to be used for
the benefit of its residents."

Tragedy of of the commons.