Democracy School Report

5/10/2005

Conceived, Designed, and Run by:
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (Pennsylvania) and the
Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy (Massachusetts)
Hosted by the Green Institute

Date: Friday, May 27th to Sunday, May 29th

Report:
The Green Institute hosted the first Daniel Pennock
Democracy School in Washington, DC, on the weekend of May 27-29. Daniel
Pennock is a boy who died as the result of exposure to toxic chemical
pollution. The school was designed by Thomas Linzey of the Community
Environmental Legal Defense Fund (www.celdf.org) and Richard Grossman of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (www.poclad.org). Linzey and Grossman taught the DC school.

The Green Institute is looking into hosting more Democracy Schools in the Washington, DC area in the near future.

 

Theme:
"Why Democratic Self-Government is Impossible When
Corporations Wield Constitutional Rights Against Communities to Deny
the Rights of People"
Feature of School: Interfering with Democratic
Rights in Saint Thomas Township, Franklin County, Penn.: A Community
Confronts a Quarry Corporation

Instructors:
Thomas Linzey, Executive Director, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
Richard Grossman, Executive Director, Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Note: All attendees receive a 185 page background reading packet two
weeks prior to the School, which contains curriculum materials for the
School.

Location:
The school will be held at 2211 14th St. NW,
Washington, DC at the office of the American Friends Service Committee
(AFSC). This is three blocks from the U St/Cardozo station of the Green
Line Metro station. Hotel and hostel recommendations available on
request.

Schedule:

Friday, May 27th

Arrival of Attendees
Introductions of Attendees
Discussion:
"What is Our Concept of Democracy?"
"What is Our History of Regulatory Activism?"
"Does Our Work Vindicate Our Concept of Democracy?"
How We Got Here: A Brief Overview of the School and the Evolution of POCLAD/CELDF
A Case History: Traditional Organizing and Corporate Power - Factory Farms

Saturday, May 28th

The Historical Role and Nature of Corporations in the United States
-The Role of Corporate Charters
-The Conferral of Corporate Constitutional Rights
A History of Peoples' Movements in the United States
-The American Revolution
-The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
-The Anti-Federalists
-The Populists
-The Abolitionists and the Fourteenth Amendment
-Womens' Rights and the Nineteenth Amendment
-The Labor Movement
What Have We Learned from These Movements?
Common Theories, Strategies, and Actions
Theory of the Constitution
Theory of the Corporation
Theory of Democracy
Building on the Lessons of Prior Movements

Building New Models of Organizing (The Pennsylvania Model)
The "Single Issue" Model: From Reframing to Winning
Driving into Local Governing Arenas
-Challenging and Contesting Corporations
-Contesting Government Actions Empowering Corporations to
Usurp Community Control
From Reframing to Drawing the Corporate Response
To Building New Constituencies
To Winning
Altering the Odds: Directly Challenging Corporate Rights
-The Porter and Licking Township, Clarion County Experience: Using Law to Eliminate Legal Privileges Claimed by Corporations
Building a Legal Framework to Support Elimination of Corporate Rights
-The Legal Defense Fund's Model Legal Brief to Eliminate Corporate Rights
FROST v. St. Thomas Development, Inc.: A Rural South-Central Pennsylvania
Community Organization Takes on the Constitutional "Rights" of
a Quarry Corporation

Sunday, May 29th

Building the Connections Amongst All Single Issues
-Our History of Collaterally Challenging Illegitimate Corporate Authority
Breakout: Reframing Single Issues by Rethinking Several Issues
An Exploration of Jurisdictions and Arenas
Other Constituencies
Critical Mass: Doing it Together and Building a Movement
This is the Work: Groups Across the United States Applying New Models

Discussion: How Do We Make Real the Promises of Democracy?