Democracy at Risk
We interviewed Michelle Sanborn, Community Environmental Defense Fund New Hampshire State Coordinator and New Hampshire Community Rights Network member. Michelle reports on the inception of the Right to Free and Fair Elections Community Bill of Rights campaign in her state. She describes the historic precedent of local, community self-government in New Hampshire. That story begins when the first settlers arrived in the colony and governed themselves. That right to local self government was initially challenged by the King of England. Challenges against local community self-government have persisted throughout history. Presently the New Hampshire legislation has re-defined local control as the state’s near absolute control over towns, cities and counties.
Legislators Move to Further Invalidate Local Town Meeting Elections
The New Hampshire state government intensifies its efforts to pass statutes for regulating town meeting elections. Efforts are now underway which give the state authority to invalidate these elections. The people of New Hampshire are awakening to the reality of corporate control of state government. The corporate-state’s attacks upon this last vestige of direct democracy is indeed eye-opening. It reveals how the government of, by and for the elite minority is threatened by the possibility of local, democratic self-government of, by and for the majority.
Shock Doctrine Used by State to Attack Local Electoral Authority
Recently, dangerous election-day weather conditions led local officials throughout New Hampshire to exercise their constitutional authority to postpone that election. Their concerns for the health and safety of their constituents outraged state officials and incited them into reactionary legislative actions. It appears the corporate-state is bent upon voter suppression and anticipated lower voter turnouts.
Community Bills of Rights
These reactionary legislative acts oppose the people of New Hampshire’s constitutional authority to adopt their own local laws. Local New Hampshire communities may vote at town meetings to adopt Community Bills of Rights to protect their people and surrounding nature from harmful corporate projects. These projects include commercial water extraction and gravel mining, industrial wind farming, massive electrical transmission corridors and pipelines.
Join the grassroots movement to save and expand this tradition of local lawmaking. Learn together the principles and benefits of local self-government. See how community self-determination is opposed by all centralized top-down forms of government. Protect this right by using it. Expand and protect this right through rights-based local law-making which drives systemic constitutional change.
You may contact Michelle Sanborn at: [email protected] or go to CELDF.org and NHCommunityRights.org for more information. Michelle and the New Hampshire Community Rights Network will be happy to help you get informed and become involved in the community rights movement.