Join a group discussion and Community Rights Reading group. We are calling on all people of the Newport community to get together and decide what we want for our community. This starts with understanding how we get what we want. Our group is inviting all of you to join us in a ten-week reading course. We will try to get together every week or every other week and talk about the course. This reading group will bring us to together to study before we embark on defining the community we want.
Before we can start defining that, we need more people involved (going to church groups, other groups, etc.), with a presentation, a radio show, etc. We need to know how to talk to them, how to emphasize what is wrong with our community and with the country at this stage. The course offers each of us three or four articles a week to read. Paul Cienfuegos (Portland-based social/economic/political activist) recommends that this course be the introduction to the important work being done across America.
The study group, Democracy School, workshops, etc. are to make us good, convincing speakers for a new community. If we don´t do this we will probably define a community in a “myopic” way. We need to be far-sighted. We really hope to be able to get as many people together on this as we can. Our next meeting is on Wednesday April 17th at the Visual Arts center at 6:30pm.
Please remember that the Democracy school is scheduled for May 10th and 11th in Mcminnville.
The course is titled “Challenge Corporate Power, Assert the People’s Rights, A Campaign of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section”
You can access the course at
I – Introduction Session I – Historical Overview of the Corporate Taking of Our Authority to Govern Session III – Corporate Personhood Session IV – The Regulatory State V – Private Property and the Recovery of the Commons VI – People’s and Workers’ Resistance Movements Session VII – Economic Development and Militarism Session IX – What Does Democracy Look Like? Session X – Where Do We Go From Here: Local Campaign Development Appendix –
Along with receiving the official Lincoln County vote tally from the November 4th general election, County Commissioner Bill Hall also reported that the overwhelmingly passed Anti-Citizens United advisory measure will be forwarded to Governor John Kitzhaber, state lawmakers and Oregon’s Congressional Delegation. The proclamation is to declare that 70% of Lincoln County voters oppose the heavy influence of corporate money pouring into state and national elections that was made possible by the infamous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says corporations are actual people, thereby citizens of the United States; and therefore no limits can be placed on how much election campaign money they can spend.
The Occupy Newport group who proposed the advisory measure to the commissioners, who in turn put it on the ballot, said they will now investigate teaming up with other Occupy groups throughout Oregon to press top state and federal officials to pressure the Congress to launch a Constitutional Amendment process to declare that corporations are not people in the legal sense of the word and that they be stripped of the ability to make unlimited campaign contributions.
A few Occupy members attended the commissioners meeting and the reading of the advisory measure. Occupy member Stephen Farish reminded the commissioners of the importance of what Lincoln County voters said on the issue – 70% voting in favor of overruling the Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations are people with all the rights of a natural person. Co-supporter Steve Myers echoed Farish’s statements adding that America’s democracy is under attack by well healed political operatives whose own interests do not align with the vast majority of the American people.
Commissioner Terry Thompson agreed that the country faces a great political challenge which has fostered much arguing between Democrats and Republicans. But he add, “Citizens United is not a partisan issue; it’s an American issue.” Commissioner Doug Hunt, like Thompson, was initially reluctant to place the issue on the ballot which they saw as a national issue, not a local one. But like Thompson he eventually saw that it would be worthwhile to give Lincoln County voters a voice that would be heard around the county, the state capital and in Washington D.C. Hunt said “It’s nice to take part in a positive effect in the midst of a strong political dispute. The will of the people has been expressed to elected officials; they’ll have that thought in mind.” Commissioner Bill Hall, the first to express his strong support for putting the issue on the Lincoln County ballot said that indeed the people have spoken and that our country’s political leaders will hopefully heed the message. County Counsel Wayne Belmont said about 100 similar anti-Citizens United ballot issues passed nationwide.
The Constitution Amendment Process
There are essentially two ways spelled out in the Constitution on how to propose an amendment.
The first method is for a bill (proposed amendment) to pass both houses of the Congress, by a two-thirds majority in each. Once the bill has passed both houses, it is forwarded to the 50 state legislatures for ratification or denial. This is the route that has been taken by all Constitutional Amendments. Because of several long-pending amendments, such as the 27th, Congress will normally put a time limit (typically seven years) for the bill to be approved as an amendment. If it isn’t, it remains “pending.”
Of the thousands of proposals that have been offered to amend the Constitution, only 33 have won a two-thirds vote in Congress. Of those, only 27 have been ratified by three-quarters of the states’ legislatures.
The second method is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures among the states, and for the Convention to draw up one or more amendments. The amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. This option has never been exercised.
Because the amendment process is so cumbersome, many political pragmatists predict that it might be faster to wait for three expected Supreme Court Justice retirements to be announced and have President Obama appoint their replacements. Then the Court could take up Citizens United again and possibly overturn the earlier ruling.
County Commission (top)
Occupy Newport members supporting
Rio Davidson, Occupy Newport
Bill Montgomery, Occupy Newport
Ann Miller, Occupy Newport
Stephen Farish, Occupy Newport
Occupy Newport members asked the Lincoln County Commission today to put an advisory issue on the November ballot, one that calls for the end of U.S. Supreme Court declared “Corporate Personhood” and an end to what they term an obscene amount of money entering America’s election campaign races.
Occupy members Rio Davidson, Bill Montgomery, Ann Miller, and Stephen Farish shared their thoughts that mostly centered around the rise of corporate political influence in the country and its success at reducing government regulations in general and certainly in the area of campaign finance; the Citizens United case in which the high court determined that corporations are people and that their money is their protected free speech. Occupiers decried corporations hamstringing environmental regulation enforcement and how corporations have exhibited destructive economic tendencies throughout America’s history which has been the subject of stark warnings against corporate over-reaching, written by former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
County Commissioners asked how all that might relate to the Lincoln County Commission finding such a topic as being a legitimate interest to the commission and to the voters of Lincoln County. All Occupiers attributed some less-than-optimal aspects of Lincoln County life and government status to the collapse of Wall Street, the crashing of the economy, the near halt of timber production, rising poverty in Lincoln County and shrinking school budgets for starters, all attributable they claimed as coming from the rise of American Corporatism as the expense of the American middle and worker classes.
County commissioners were also told that Occupy has already collected 300 county voter signatures in support of putting an advisory issue on the November ballot. County Counsel Wayne Belmont said whether it goes on the ballot lies strictly in the hands of the commissioners, and that only the commissioners can put the issue to a county-wide vote. Even collecting over a thousand voter signatures won’t get it on the ballot without the permission of the commission.
County commissioners said they would review the materials presented by Occupy Newport and hopefully decide next Wednesday, June 20th, as to whether they’ll go along with Occupy’s request. Belmont reminded Occupy that they could ask the commission for a Resolution of Support to call attention to the issue. A resolution is only a statement about the position of the commission, a sort of “sense of the board,” which of course does not involve the voters.
As a run-up to what is predicted to be a pretty busy protest season this Spring, if not through the Summer, some of those who identify with the Occupy 99’er movement will be holding training sessions across the country in order to give the protest movement greater impact on all who read, watch or experience it first hand.
One Occupy training session in Lincoln County is set for April 14th, 12 noon, at the corner of SE 51st and Schooner Creek Road (house number 4415). The following is how the movement describes the training sessions and the reason for them:
99% Spring Action Training
We’re at a crossroads as a country. In recent years, millions have lost their jobs, homes have been foreclosed, and an unconscionable number of children live in poverty. We have to stand up to the people who caused of all this and confront the rampant greed and deliberate manipulation of our democracy and our economy by a tiny minority in the 1%.
Inspired by Occupy Wall Street and the fight for workers in Madison, Wisconsin, the 99% will rise up this spring. In the span of just one week, from April 9-15, 100,000 people will be trained to tell the story of what happened to our economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action on our own campaigns to win change.
We’ll gather for trainings in homes, community centers, places of worship, campuses, and public spaces nationwide to learn how to join together in the work of reclaiming our country through sustained non-violent action.
Note the General Assembly will be moving to a different location for the next two weeks.
Time for the GA is 6pm-9pm Wednesday the 7th of Dec. at the Newport Public Library.
The Library meeting room is on the lower level of the Library. Please enter through the door on the north side of the Building down the stairwell. Join our community congress (or general assembly) every Wednesday evening 6pm in Newport. Everyone has a voice. Come and be heard. We need more energy at these meetings. It feels so great to be part of a true democracy. These meetings will inform you and give you a hope for the future. We all need to work together to come up with ideas for making our world a better place.
For the minutes of GA meetings and other important info click here.
Occupy Newport (top), Depoe Bay (bottom) holds its first occupy event between Newport and Lincoln City
Click photos to enlarge
Occupy Newport organizers report that they are conducting a protest Saturday, the 19th, at Highway 101 and 20 (Coast @ Olive) in Newport between 11am and 1pm. Organizers say they have signs for people who don’t bring their own. In a call for a single payer medical care system, a number of protesters plan to walk from 101 @ 20 down to Pacific Communities Hospital at Noon, and then walk back to 101 @ 20. Protesters will contend that it’s time to take Wall Street out of the nation’s health care industry. They claim 45,000 Americans die every year for lack of affordable health insurance, and that “surely we can do better. We’re the greatest country in the world, right?”
The Occupy Newport group says they will be helping to serve people turkey dinners at the American Legion Hall during their annual Thanksgiving dinner. Organizers say such volunteerism demonstrates Occupy Newport’s desire “to reach out to our community, educate them and offer our service to show our true intent to be a caring group; a true compassionate people willing to do whatever it takes to bring about change in America” said organizer Rio Davidson.
The Occupy website also acknowledges the emergence of an “Occupy” demonstration Thursday in Depoe Bay. Participants said that there were hundreds of people honking as they drove past, giving the “thumbs up” at the demonstrators although a small number of driver stuck their finger up with a different message in mind.