COCRN Declaration

Declaration of the Colorado Community Rights Network

We, the undersigned residents of Colorado, and the communities, in which we live, hereby declare the following:

Whereas, our communities, both incorporated and unincorporated, are under siege from oil and gas, giant agribusiness, and other corporations;

Whereas, our communities are under siege from a structure of law that has bestowed greater rights on corporations than on the communities in which they operate;

Whereas, we recognize that such a system — which grants a corporate few the legal authority to override our community majorities — constitutes tyranny and usurpation, we are therefore duty bound to oppose such tyranny and usurpation;

Whereas, the survival of our communities depends on replacing this system of governance by the privileged with new community-based democratic decision-making systems;

Whereas, environmental and economic sustainability can be achieved only when the people affected by governing decisions are the ones who make them;

Whereas, two centuries worth of laboring under the existing minority-rule system has not produced economic and environmental sustainability;

Whereas, reformers and activists have failed to recognize the absence of democracy as the root of the problem;

Whereas, reformers and activists have not focused on replacing the current system of elite decision-making with a democratic one, but have concentrated merely on lobbying the factions in power to make better decisions;

Whereas, reformers and activists have not halted the destruction of our human or natural communities because they have viewed economic and environmental ills as isolated problems, rather than as symptoms produced by the absence of democracy;

Whereas, we recognize that economic and environmental sustainability have been rendered illegal under this system of law, that nature is treated as property and as having no rights, and that this system is not democratic;

Whereas, given the control by large corporations over our elected representatives, we have given up hope that either our state government or the federal government will help protect us from these corporations;

Whereas, we declare that if democracy means “majority rule” and “consent of the governed,” that a democracy does not exist in our communities or in the State of Colorado, and that we must now create democracy in our municipalities and counties within the State of Colorado;

We therefore call on communities across the State of Colorado to join together and create a peoples’ movement to:

  • Revoke the authority of the corporate minority to impose political, legal, and economic systems that endanger our human and natural communities;
  • Adopt local laws that elevate the rights of Colorado residents and communities above the rights of the State of Colorado, including legal rights for the natural environment;
  • Include in those local laws direct challenges to the legal doctrines that currently mandate that corporations have greater rights than living, breathing residents of our communities;
  • Amend the Colorado Constitution to recognize the right to local self-government, to protect the local laws adopted within our municipalities and counties, and eliminate legal doctrines such as preemption, subordination of municipal governments (Dillon’s Law), bestowing constitutional rights upon corporations, and relegating ecosystems to the status of property — at the State level;
  • Join together with other statewide movements to amend the federal Constitution to elevate the rights of people and communities above the claimed rights of corporations, create legal rights for natural ecosystems, eliminate the commerce clause, and other impediments to local community self-governance.