Posted by Lilly from ? (220.127.116.11) on Monday, November 25, 2002 at 4:29PM :
of a bunch of jerks??? Click the link below!
Not unlike Martha Stewart serving up a tastey pretty treat, I enthusiastically present the following to you!
What you can do locally to combat corporate power
1) Get Your Local Government to Buy from Local Businesses
Governments should use their purchasing power to support locally-owned businesses instead of chain stores and other corporations controlled by outside speculators. Your taxes should support the economic vitality of the community and reinforce local character and culture against the onslaught of corporate homogenization.
For a model ordinance establishing preferential purchasing from locally-owned businesses see the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund's web site: http://www.celdf.org/scm/ord/ord11.asp;
For more information: New Rules Project: www.newrules.org; Institute for Local Self-Reliance: www.ilsr.org; Reclaim Democracy: www.reclaimdemocracy.org; American Independent Business Alliance: www.amiba.net/.
2) Pass a Living Wage Law
Living wage campaigns seek to require private businesses that benefit from public money to pay their workers a living wage (usually defined as at least enough to bring a family of four to the federal poverty line, defined as $8.20 an hour as of 2000). The ordinances can cover employers who hold large city or county service contracts or benefit from public tax dollars in the form of tax abatements or other economic development subsidies. These employers are required to pay employees a living wage as a condition of receiving government contracts or benefits.
More than 50 cities and counties have passed some kind of living wage law. Unions, churches and community groups like ACORN have led most of the campaigns to pass these laws.
For more information: ACORN www.livingwagecampaign.org/LivingWageWins3-01.htm; the Institute for Local Self-Reliance: www.newrules.org/equity/wage.html
3) Ban Corporate Criminals from Your Town
A "bad boy" law is any ordinance that says companies or individuals convicted of certain crimes cannot get public contracts or licenses to do business in your town (or your county, or your state; there is even a proposed federal debarment law).
For more information see: RACHEL's Environment and Health Weekly # 288: "New Tools For Citizens: Bad Boy Laws. Available at www.rachel.org; See the Fort Wayne, Indiana Dumpbusters: www.stopwmx.org/howbad.html
4) Reassert Democratic Control Over Local Utilities and Services: Municipalize Your Electrical Utilities and Resist Privatization of Water
California's energy crisis hit consumers and businesses in towns and cities across the state with high electricity rates. But some cities and towns that controlled their utilities, including Sacramento and Los Angeles, were not hit as hard. Not only does asserting local control through community electric franchising benefit consumers, but in the long run, local control also facilitates community efforts to accelerate the introduction of renewable forms of energy, including wind, solar and hydrogen.
For more information: American Local Power Project: www.local.org; New Rules: www.newrules.org/electricity/index.html; Center for Neighborhood Technology: www.cnt.org; Citizens Energy Plan by the Citizens Advisory Panel (Long Island): www.energymatters.org; Rocky Mountain Institute: www.rmi.org; Power Shift: www.powershift.org
Corporations increasingly look at expanding their reach by privatizing public services such as water delivery. Communities are beginning to resist this trend. For more information see Public Citizen's Water For All campaign: www.citizen.org/cmep/Water
5) Start a Local Currency
Also known as scrip experiments or time dollars, the issuance of local currency was common during the Great Depression. Local currencies have recently been reintroduced in several communities around the country. Because the scrip must be used locally and have local community business backing, it supports local community development. It is also pegged to the value of a commodity or service that is traditionally produced locally. It is a tangible initiative in reversing the trend towards economic systems that primarily benefit absentee speculators and corporations.
For a list of groups that have local currencies see the E.F. Schumacher Society's web site; www.schumachersociety.org/frameset_local_currencies.html
6) Strengthen Local Sunshine Laws
Sunshine is the best of disinfectants. The more open a government is, the less prone it is to corrupting influences, and the more average citizens will find it easy to participate in decisions affecting their lives. Local governments should be encouraged to expand citizen access to documents related to government business and contracting, and government meetings should be opened up for broader citizen participation.
For a model local sunshine law (written to comply with Pennsylvania state law) see:
7) Get Corporations Out of the Schools
For the Commercial-Free Schools Act and other ideas about what you can do to get corporate predators from marketing junk food and junk news like Channel One in your local schools contact:
Commercial Alert: www.commercialalert.org; Center for Commercial-Free Public Education: www.commercialfree.org.
8) Research and Expose Local Corporate Crime and Abuse
Do you know the 10 worst corporations in your area? Has anyone ever issued such a list?
If not, maybe you should. You can use the Multinational Monitor's top ten worst list as a model. See the December annual issues of the Monitor, available online at www.essential.org/monitor. A good example of a local list was compiled by one citizen for Oshkosh, Wisconsin (see multinationalmonitor.org/mm2002/02jan-feb/jan-feb02letters.html)
Questions to help you get started:
a) Who are the biggest polluters in your area? (www.scorecard.org)
b) What corporations get the biggest tax breaks and subsidies from your state and local governments?
(See No More Candy Store, by Good Jobs First, available at www.goodjobsfirst.org/research.htm)
c) What companies in your area have violated work safety rules the most often?
d) Do the executives at the publicly-traded companies in your area make an obscene amount?
(Look up the company's form DEF14A on the SEC's EDGAR system:
e) What politician in your area has taken the most money from large corporations? Why?
9) Bring the Movement Against Corporate Globalization Home: Have Your Town Join the World Bank Bonds Boycott!
Modeled on the campaign to divest from apartheid-era South Africa, the World Bank Bonds Boycott is an international grassroots campaign that is building moral, political, and financial pressure on the World Bank through a boycott of its principal source of outside financial support. The World Bank raises most of its funds by issuing bonds. It then uses the money to promote environmentally and socially destructive projects like dams and mining projects. Governments, faith-based institutions, universities, unions, pension funds and other institutions should join this growing campaign for global justice.
For more information: www.worldbankboycott.org
10) Ban Corporate Farming and Fight Large Chain Stores
Large corporate agribusiness operations, especially large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), are a major threat to family farmers, rural community stability and the environment. Increased corporate ownership of farms and farmland places agribusiness corporations in direct economic competition with family farms, and can lower food quality by emphasizing long-distance marketing of food. The disproportionate subsidies given to corporate agribusiness, combined with lower prices created by mass production forces more and more family farmers to go into debt or sell their farms. Corporate farming also increases the damage done the environment because corporate farming is often more intensive and corporations have limited loyalty and respect for communities. Corporate farmers may have good fences, but they don't make good neighbors.
For a model law banning corporate farming see the Southampton Township (PA) Anti-Corporate Farming Ordinance: www.celdf.org/scm/ord/ord7.asp
For more information see: Corporate Agribusiness Research Project: www.ea1.com/CARP/; National Family Farm Coalition: www.nffc.net;
For information on fighting large chain stores see: Sprawlbusters: www.newcolonist.com/sprawlbusters.html; Sprawl Watch: www.sprawlwatch.org;
FINAL SUGGESTION: Hold Regular Town Meetings to Generate Community Discussion About How Corporations Have Weakened Your Local Democracy and What You Can Do About It.
You might consider organizing this as an annual event on Big Business Day, tax day or another day. (For more on Big Business Day, read about last year's events).
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