Paul gives rousing speech at concert/rally in solidarity with Occupy PDX. Workshops continuing - to enthusiastic and growing crowds.

On Friday, October 28th, 2011, at the Pink Martini concert and rally in Pioneer Square, in solidarity with Occupy Portland, I was invited (at the last minute) to give a rousing 4-minute speech to a very energetic and responsive crowd estimated at 5000 people. It was quite a thrill and a privilege to have been able to reach so many people with the critical message that... 

* corporate "rights" are not inevitable,

* corporate "rights" are being extinguished in town after town across six NE states

* community rights are beginning to take their place via local ordinances

* we can do this here in Portland and everywhere, if only we DARE to exercise our right of self-government, guaranteed to us by our state constitutions.


(The full text of my speech is reprinted below. Or you can watch it on grainy video at the 3:50 point in the recording HERE.)


At the end of my speech, I invited anyone excited about these ideas to meet me and my colleagues back at Pioneer Square on Tuesday, November 1 at 5pm, rain or shine, to continue this critical conversation. Literally dozens of attendees told me they would definitely attend, and in fact they did!  About 40 folks returned on a cold evening for another 90 minutes of small and large group discussions. To watch the 15-minute presentation I gave there, click HERE.


I have been leading two-hour introductory workshops on corporate "rights" vs community rights for the past few weeks at Occupy Portland. The response has been tremendous. My goal is to lead enough workshops there to have a significant impact on the official Occupy Portland vision, goals, and strategic planning, so that they can become more effective in actually dismantling corporate "rights" in this city once and for all. Yes, my personal goal is BIG, and I'm on fire to get the job done here and across the state of Oregon.


My next 2-hour workshops - at Occupy Portland's library workshop tent - will be taking place on the following dates, all from 2 to 4pm: 

Monday, November 7

Tuesday, November 15

Tuesday, November 22.

If you can't attend one of these day-time sessions, please arrange with me for another time and place, with the understanding that you will guarantee an audience of at least 15 folks hungry to learn. (I ask that participants make a donation of any size towards my expenses, if you can afford to do so.)


I am also continuing to lead two-day intensive workshops on this topic. The next two are  in Eugene, OR on November 19/20, and in Portland on January 14/15.


For details about my workshops, an up-to-date calendar, my writings, interviews and speeches, and to sign up for my blog, please click HERE. I also encourage visitors to friend me on my new facebook page.




Here's the text of my speech:



Hello there 99%!!!


I'm an educator and community organizer focusing my time on helping communities to REIGN IN CORPORATE POWER. I've been leading workshops at Occupy Portland for the last few weeks that have stimulated a LOT of excitement, and I'm here to share some VERY HOPEFUL NEWS with you.


In six states on the east coast, more than ONE HUNDRED FORTY COMMUNITIES have now passed LEGALLY BINDING LAWS that strip corporations of their so-called constitutional "rights", and which put an end to all sorts of harms that corporations cause.


Communities across Pennsylvania have BANNED large corporations from farming, in order to protect their family farm economies. 


Communities in Maine have banned corporations from pumping their groundwater and selling it in plastic bottles.


Last November, the City Council of Pittsburgh voted nine to zero to PROHIBIT ALL CORPORATE FRACKING for natural gas; and to strip corporations of constitutional "rights". The Council declared that it wasn't enough to merely REGULATE fracking, because regulating is, by definition, ALLOWING fracking. 


In towns that have been fracked, you can light local creeks and tap water on fire!  The Council understood it was their DUTY to protect the safety of their drinking water!  So they banned fracking. IT WAS A NO-BRAINER!


What's going on in these communities? The folks who live there got SICK AND TIRED OF BEGGING AND PLEADING with their state and federal officials to PROTECT them from all of the totally legal damage that large corporations do to their communities, to local ECONOMIES, to WORKING PEOPLE, to local rivers and streams and hillsides. They figured out that CORPORATIONS WIELD MORE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS THAN WE DO!  More FREE SPEECH rights. More PROPERTY rights. And that that's WHY governmental officials were ignoring their pleas for help.


They began to do something most of us NO LONGER REMEMBER how to do - EXERCISING THEIR RIGHT TO GOVERN THEMSELVES


Couldn't we be doing this in Portland too?


Here is the first sentence of the Oregon State Constitution:


Article 1: Bill of Rights

Section 1: Natural rights inherent in people


(quote)    We declare that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper. (unquote)


We have ALL THE LEGAL POWER WE NEED to win our society back from control by large corporations, IF we get organized and mobilized to END corporate constitutional "rights" ONCE AND FOR ALL!


What does it LOOK like and FEEL like when we ACT AS A SELF-GOVERNING PEOPLE in our own communities? Wouldn't you like to experience that?




We're so used to fighting one corporate harm at a time, that it doesn't even OCCUR to most of us anymore to ask ourselves WHAT DO WE WANT FOR OUR COMMUNITY? 




NOT what are we trying to STOP, but WHAT DO WE WANT? That's the question a self-governing people asks.


* Do we WANT manufacturing corporations sending living wage jobs to sweatshops overseas?




* Do we WANT agriculture corporations putting genetically engineered organisms in the food we eat?




* Do we WANT health insurance corporations interfering in our right to affordable health care for everyone?








.......Then what DO we want?!


It's time to join our brothers and sisters on the other coast. So let's figure this out - together!  We ARE the 99%, RIGHT?




We the People of THIS place could be passing local laws that DEFEND the rights of working people, of a healthy environment and a truly sustainable economy. THAT'S the good news I bring to you today. 


I URGE you to get involved. Please grab one of the fliers that are being circulated through the crowd. And meet us right here at Pioneer Square this coming Tuesday at 5pm to continue this critical conversation.


Corporate control of our society MUST be stopped. WE CAN DO THIS!


I thank you SO much!

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