On July 28, 2012 citizens and activists from Bellingham, Port Angeles, Seattle, and Spokane gathered in Spokane to make the call for a new movement in Washington that would recognize the rights of people, communities, and nature above powers and privileges wielded by corporations. The goal is to make sure that people decide what is best for their community not corporate interests, in order protect and advance health, safety, and welfare. The declaration below explains why the time is ripe and what communities must embark upon to shift the balance of power.
The Spokane Declaration
We, the residents of Washington State and of our communities, gathering in Spokane, Washington, this 28th day of July, 2012, declare:
Whereas, our communities are under siege from corporations exploiting our communities for resource extraction and a variety of other uses harmful to us and the natural environment;
Whereas, our communities are under siege from a structure of law that has bestowed greater rights on those corporations than the communities in which they operate;
Whereas, we recognize that such a system grants a corporate minority the legal authority to override our community majorities;
Whereas, we recognize that this system of law renders economic and environmental sustainability illegal and impossible;
Whereas, we have given up hope that our local, state, or federal government will protect us from these harms;
Therefore, we declare that if democracy means “consent of the governed,” a democracy does not exist in our communities or in Washington State, and that we must now create democracy in our municipalities and within the State; and
We now call on communities across the State of Washington to:
- Adopt local laws that recognize community rights for residents of Washington municipalities and the natural environment;
- Include in those local laws direct challenges to the legal doctrines that currently mandate that corporations have greater rights than residents of our communities or the natural environment;
- Build a statewide coalition of communities to change the State Constitution to recognize our right to local self-government eliminating these legal doctrines at the State level, to protect the local laws adopted within our municipalities; and
- Join together with other statewide movements to change the federal Constitution to elevate the rights of people, communities, and nature above the claimed rights of corporations.