DeForest-Windsor Area Grassroots (DWAG) meeting notes for February 27, 2017

DeForest-Windsor Area Grassroots (DWAG)

Meeting Notes

February 27, 2017

Next meeting: Monday, March 27, 2017, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the DeForest Public Library, 203 Library Street, DeForest.

(I know these notes are out of sequence with the next meeting notice.  I’ve been derelict in my meeting notes duties lately; sorry.)


We had a couple of dozen (I roughly counted about 20 at one point during the presentation) at our special meeting on February 27, 2017 – “Introduction to Community Rights.”  This was the presentation on community rights by Paul Cienfuegos held at the Jefferson Square Clubhouse, 717 DeForest Street, DeForest, Wisconsin.  Prior to the meeting, we had some good fellowship during the potluck dinner and LOTS of good food.  Thank you, Marcia, for making the arrangements with Paul; and thank you everyone for bringing the feast!  And, thank me J for reserving the clubhouse; it worked out well, and maybe we can use it again sometime for some non-political events (fyi, the Jefferson Square rules forbid use of the clubhouse for “political” activities).


Our speaker/instructor, Paul Cienfuegos,* is a nationally acclaimed educator and community rights organizer.  Marcia and Karen have both attended some of his educational events before.  Paul said that virtually all applications for permits from government regulatory agencies that are “administratively complete” are approved.  Regulation seems to mean legal permission to do harm in the permitted way.


Paul elaborated on these three legal structures of law:


Corporate constitutional rights that the Supreme Court of the United States has created in historical rulings more and more favorable to the corporation as a being having status similar to flesh and blood human beings: an example is the ruling that granted religious freedom to the Hobby Lobby company.


State government pre-emption of authority over local governments


Dillon’s Rule: state government is to local government as a parent is to a child.  “The theory of state preeminence over local governments was expressed as Dillon's Rule in an 1868 case….” (Wikipedia)


There is a growing movement to define the rights of nature: like the right of a river to flow or the right of air to be pollution free, similar to human rights to breathe clean air and drink pure water.


We should pay attention to states that are “home rule” states, that is, where local governments can pass local charters that function as sort of mini-constitutions.  (See, “Municipal Home Rule in Wisconsin” by the League of Municipalities.)


*For more information about Paul and his work (thanks to Marcia for this list):


  •  (dismantling corporate rule work)
  • (local group he co-founded & Archive of his weekly KBOO radio commentary/podcast since August 2014)
  • (his online bookstore)

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