May 11 - May 13

We the People Are More Powerful Than We Dare to Believe: First Steps in Dismantling Corporate Rule
Paul Cienfuegos

This program has already happened. Please see our current schedule or call us at 413-339-4954 to find out when this presenter will next be at Rowe Center.

“There is nobody I respect more on breaking corporate rule using the approach of community rights. He was the person who first took my work to Europe in 1983.”
-Joanna Macy

Since large corporations (falsely) won the "rights" of persons well over a century ago, We the People have been slowly forgetting who We are. The Founding Fathers designed corporations and chartered them to serve a specific public need and to cause no harm. If we relearn our history and understand again that corporations in this democratic republic are here to serve us, not to rule us, we can reclaim our sovereignty and establish real democracy.

More than 150 communities in PA, NH, Mass, NY, MD, and Maine have reigned in corporate constitutional "rights”. We can get back to governing ourselves, collectively determining what a majority of us want, in this nation founded on the principle of majority rule. What would this look like at the local, the county, the state, and the national level? What does the majority want regarding water, land use, cell towers, fracking, and economic development? Local residents can shift their activism toward tactics and strategies that rein in corporate constitutional "rights," which are one of the primary barriers against citizens getting what they want for their communities.

This will be the focus of this transformative, hands-on workshop:

  • You will understand the history of the rise of corporate power and how it usurps our democratic authority to govern ourselves.
  • You will examine how citizens are challenging corporations locally, and how these efforts could be more effective.
  • You will decolonize your minds and your language from the grip of corporate culture.
  • You will express and feel your sorrow, anger, and despair about living in a society drenched in corporate culture.
  • You will learn the art of democratic conversation.
  • You will craft strategies to recover democracy from corporate rule, with a specific focus on existing local campaigns.

Paul Cienfuegos was inspired by Joanna Macy and Chellis Glendinning,and in the early 1980s he led dozens of “Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age” workshops across Britain, Holland, and France. In the 1990s, he discovered the pioneering work of Richard Grossman and POCLAD (the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy), when he realized that almost every issue he had ever worked on was a mere symptom of corporate rule. He founded Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County and codirected Citizens Concerned About Corporations, which ran and won a ballot initiative in Arcata, California that created the first City Council committee of its kind in US history, working to “ensure democratic control over corporations conducting business within the city.” He also launched a social-change oriented bookstore,, built his own home, then moved to Portland, Oregon, to create the possibility of real democracy in the United States.

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