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"Community Rights: We the People Are More Powerful Than We Dare to Believe" with Paul Cienfuegos

  • Carnegie Hall, Room 05 90 South Macalester Street Saint Paul, MN, 55105 United States (map)

Across the nation, local communities are struggling to protect themselves from harms created by industry, agribusiness, forestry and retail corporations. Two anti-democratic barriers stifling the ability of communities to act on their own behalf are:

  • Pre-emption laws that have made it illegal for local communities to protect water and air quality, create publicly-owned internet utilities, expand tenant protections, raise wages, prevent unsafe pesticide use, prevent unsustainable infrastructure, and more.
  • The Constitutional “rights” of corporations to trump the rights of the people, such as the private Canadian pipeline company granted use of private lands via “eminent domain.”

The Community Rights movement helps people and communities reclaim their Constitutional right of self governance. It has helped more than 200 communities in eight states to pass legally binding and locally enforceable ordinances (laws) that have:

  • Banned fracking and polluting factory farms,
  • Prevented local water withdrawal for bottling and resale elsewhere,
  • Prevented the dumping of toxic sludge on farmland,
  • Prevented the building of unsustainable energy projects, and more.

95% of those communities have never had their laws challenged in court. Every one of these laws is written in the form of a Community Bill of Rights, and is based on the unique protections that that community chooses for itself.

This one-day workshop will provide a solid introduction to:

  • The history of the Community Rights movement,
  • The barriers that communities face in their attempts to protect themselves and to define their own futures, and
  • How your community can use this culture-shifting and legal strategy to reclaim real decision-making authority for the people who live there.

This intensive is designed for community organizers, environment and climate activists, and community members concerned about health, safety, pollution and the political process.

For more information about this topic, please click here to read "When the Transition Movement & the Community Rights Movement Start Collaborating, Watch Out!" This is a transcript of a speech Paul gave to Transition PDX in Portland, Oregon in January 2012.

Paul Cienfuegos

Paul Cienfuegos is a nationally prominent workshop leader and community organizer in the Community Rights movement, which works to dismantle corporate constitutional “rights” and assert peoples' inherent ability to govern themselves and protect their community’s health and welfare. Paul has some very provocative ideas about how Transition could rapidly expand its impact across the US by teaming up with the Community Rights movement and its ongoing success in helping more than 200 communities to successfully pass locally-enforceable laws that transition us away from unsustainable energy and resource depletion and towards our RIGHT as We the People to a sustainable future. Paul recently co-founded Community Rights US to further this work nationally. More info about Paul is available at and