You are on page 1of 4

A LLIANCE F O R

D EMOCRACY 2008 in review
WINTER, 2008
The newest section of our website highlighted the Security and
Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) and we began outreach
to members and supporters urging them to oppose this pro-globalization
giveaway. Nancy Price, Ruth Caplan and David Delk completed a series
of fliers on various aspects of the SPP. A highlight of our work was the
publication of two articles by Nancy Price and Ruth Caplan in the
Progressive Populist. Later, this Fall, David Delk collaborated with the
Economic Justice Action Group of the Portland (OR) First Unitarian
Church to produce a 12-page brochure on the SPP highlighting the cross-
border Canada-US Pacific Northwest Economic Region and the West
Coast SPP Corridor. All these SPP materials and articles may be read and
printed out for tabling at www.thealliancefordemocracy.org/spp Map of SPP transportation corridor routes
through Canada, the US and Mexico.
The Boston/Cambridge Alliance and North Bridge AfD worked with several
local groups to host a forum on the SPP and the Colombia FTA featuring speakers from Canada, Mexico and
Colombia. These chapters also hosted a visit by Canadian activist Janet Eaton, during which she met with state
legislators in support of a bill to create a state commission to advise lawmakers on the local impacts of international
trade agreements, and spoke on the SPP at the Boston Public Library. Our Portland, Oregon and South Puget Sound
(WA) Chapters also hosted these same speakers who were touring the US speaking on the SPP.

Our Defending Water for Life Campaign scored a victory as voters in Barnstead and Nottingham, New
Hampshire approved new protections for the Rights of Nature at their Town Meetings that complement the water
ordinances passed earlier in each town. These new ordinances protect ecosystems and provide broad enforcement
provisions to hold local government and corporate officials liable when
those rights are abused.

Civil liberties were the focus of a postcard campaign organized by the
Portland, Oregon Chapter. They pressured their senators to oppose the
Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act,
distributing postcards at an anti-war rally attended by about 5,000 people.
Meanwhile, Maine activists, including AfD members, protested the same
bill at a rally in Portland, Maine.

Protesters in Portland, Maine oppose
the Violent Radicalization and Home- In early March, the Mendocino, California Chapter hosted Frances Moore
grown Terrorism Prevention Act Lappé who spoke on “doing” democracy as outlined in her new book,
Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity & Courage in a World Gone Mad.
Shortly after, Lappé also joined AfD and now AfD is listed as a
“Democracy Maker” at the “Democracy’s Edge” section of Lappé’s Small Planet Institute website.

SPRING, 2008
In April, Granny D spoke at Gettysburg College (PA), site of AfD’s 2002 convention, in a talk organized by
AfD’ers Pat and Lou Hammann. “I first met some of you eight years ago,” she noted. “We were all so worried
about losing our democracy that we were willing to walk across the country [for campaign finance reform] and go
to jail. You meet the nicest people in the Washington jail, by the way. That’s where I met [AfD council members]
Lou and Patricia Hammann” [who took part with Ronnie Dugger and others in AfD’s Democracy Brigades].

In May, AfD took its message to the media as the second SPP article was published in the Progressive Populist.
Entitled, "What Corporate Takeover Means for the Heartland." It focused on the six massive transportation
corridors—rail, truck highways, and pipelines—planned to carry imported goods
from deepwater ports in Mexico, factory farm products from the Midwest, and
water and fuel from Canada. Meanwhile Ruth Caplan discussed the SPP on a
Free Speech Radio story on international responses to the project.

Local water actions included Portland, Oregon AfD’ers who hosted Maude
Barlow, Chair-person of the Council of Canadians and author of the new book,
Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and Coming Battle for the Right to
Water, who spoke on movement building to make certain that water is viewed as
a human right and not a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder for private
profit. Portland, Oregon members also protested proposed construction of Liquid Portland chapter members
Natural Gas (LNG) terminals on the Columbia River. oppose LNG terminal
construction
The National Council signed onto a letter to the Justice Department protesting
changes to the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005—specifically a change to require collection of DNA from anyone
detained by the federal government, including protesters exercising their First Amendment rights.

SUMMER 2008:
Members of the San Fernando Valley chapter tabled for single-payer health care and campaign finance reform
at the Los Angeles Social Forum.

In Indianapolis, InAfD co-sponsored a day-long workshop on “Rebuilding Democracy” with speaker Tom Linzey
of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. The workshop explored the implications of a “Rights of
Nature” ordinance, reframing the problem of pollution and unwanted development from a matter of enforcing
existing regulations to that of exercising community rights and asserting principles of real democracy for, of and by
the people. The workshop closed with a brainstorming session to begin the strategic process for action, focusing on
issues in Indiana and what participants could do about them.

Summer was an exceptionally busy time for the Defending Water for Life Campaign, with actions and victories
on both coasts. We launched a Defending Water for Life website focusing on water wars in Oregon at www.afd-
pdx.org and scroll down to Defending Water for Life – Oregon. Oregonians are facing down water privatization
and tapping of the water commons for bottling in the Tualatin Valley, near Portland, and in Butte Falls, further
south near Medford, respectively. Meanwhile, in Enumclaw, Washington, City Council member Liz Reynolds led a
push to oppose Nestlé’s efforts to establish a water bottling plant there. Seattle Chapter coordinator Rebecca Wolfe,
Defending Water for Life Campaign chair Ruth Caplan, and Co-chair Nancy Price, western states coordinator for
the campaign, supplied Liz with information and advice. They are now
assisting community members in the nearby town of Orting where Nestlé
wants to tap into nearby springs and build a bottling plant next to a public
school. A Defending Water in Washington website will be launched soon.

In July, water wars in Maine came to a boil as the Defending Water for
Life Campaign organized against the sale of water to Nestlé out of a
protected aquifer. Campaign organizer Emily Posner and coordinator Ruth
Caplan met with local organizers in south coastal Maine and helped turn
out community opposition to this deal so that at the meeting of the
Kennebunk/Kennebunkport/Wells Water District the District Manager
decided to suspend discussions with Nestlé. Meetings and rallies were
Residents head in to a meeting of
covered extensively in local media and nationally by PBS’s Newshour.
the Kennebunk/Kennebunkport/
Wells water district to oppose sale of
water rights to Nestlé subsidiary In late July, we contacted members urging them to call the media and their
Poland Springs. legislators in support of impeachment investigations and hearings as Rep.
John Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on
“Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.”
The Mendocino, California Chapter co-sponsored a gathering of local progressive and migrant community groups
featuring food and performances by local musicians. The event was a chance to mix across cultural lines and scope-
out common concerns. Meanwhile, the Ukiah, California Chapter tabled at SolFest, a weekend celebration for
renewable energy and sustainable living, and the Portland, Oregon Chapter continued to organize against the
construction of Liquid Natural Gas terminals on the Columbia River.

FALL, 2008
Jim Tarbell covered the scenes inside and outside the Democratic and Republican
National Conventions posting his observations at afdjusticerising.blogspot.com.
He focused on the corporate presence at both the DNC and RNC and the alternative
points of view offered by advocacy groups and protesters outside both venues. The
Republican National Convention was particularly marked by repression and
harassment of protesters; former AfD council member Ted Dooley is representing
two of the arrested protestors.

We urged California members to support good legislation, including AB 583, the
California Fair Election Act, which was signed into law by Governor Arnold
Jim Tarbell reporting
Schwarzenegger, after several years when similar bills did not make it to his desk.
This bill establishes a “pilot” public funding program for specific statewide offices.
Jo Seidita, long-time Alliance member and former member of our national council, along with support of the San
Fernando Valley Chapter, helped found the CA Clean Money Campaign, and currently is Chairwoman of the
Board. Will Forthman, also long-time member of the SFV Chapters, is Secretary-Treasurer of the Clean Money
Campaign. SFV Chapter members have been at the forefront of education and outreach in the greater Los Angeles
area on this issue and we congratulate them all for this victory!

Ohio election investigator Richard Hayes Philips spoke on election protection, sponsored by the Portland, Oregon
Alliance for Democracy. And, on election night, members of the Boston/Cambridge and North Bridge Chapters
assisted the Election Defense Alliance with exit polling in New Hampshire

Another victory for the Defending Water for Life’s Maine campaign came this fall as residents of Shapleigh,
Maine, overwhelmingly voted to halt all activities of Nestlé’s local subsidiary, Poland Spring. They approved a
180-day moratorium on water extraction activities until the town approves a comprehensive water protection
ordinance and rejected a bid by Nestlé to drill test wells in March 2009 when water tables are high. Voters still need
to protect local state-owned land from groundwater exploitation, however.

On the west coast, the Defending Water for Life campaign produced a 4-page tabloid newspaper entitled “Water
Democracy in California: Community Rights Not Corporate Control” to bring to highlight the many community
struggles for water democracy and justice across the state. The tabloid is posted at the new AfD website -
www.defendingwaterincalifornia.org and progress on the community struggles will be up-dated on google maps
along with other water news from across the state. “Water Democracy in California” was written by Nancy Price,
assisted by Ruth Caplan, in collaboration with staff of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, a coalition of
60 groups in California working for social and environmental justice.

As the tanking economy caught up with its perpetrators on Wall Street, AfD joined with many progressive groups
to demand a bailout that would protect the well-being of Main Street and all Americans—not just financial-industry
fatcats. Members and friends shared their Letters-to-Editors, articles, and outrage, as once again Congress rode to
the rescue of their deep-pocketed campaign contributors. We featured this crisis at the top of AfD’s homepage and
urged members to call Congress to oppose the bailout and call instead for a redevelopment bank and investment in
clean energy, healthcare, and education.

Chapters were busy through the fall as well. In October, Seattle Alliance for Democracy members joined 100
protesters and a coalition of local groups on the Capitol steps in Olympia to rally against LNG in Washington state.
Like the Portland Chapter, the Seattle protesters focused on environmental and safety concerns, as well as broader
issues of energy policy and the need for renewable, green energy rather than to continue dependence on fossil fuels
and foreign supplies.

The Portland, Oregon Chapter brought together representatives of the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign to discuss
failures of the “Free Trade" agreements and examine the Trade (Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and
Employment) Act of 2008 introduced to Congress by Democrats: Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH) and Rep. Mike
Michaud (ME). The Chapter also got a commitment of support from Democratic congressional candidate Jeff
Merkley, who won his seat to the U.S. Senate. And the Chapter’s Instant Runoff Voting campaign received
commitments from state senators and representatives to introduce a local option for Instant Run-Off Voting into
both legislative chambers when they convene next year.

In Rochester, the AfD chapter’s county-wide committee on health insurance for New York state merged with
other local groups to become the Interfaith Health Care Coalition, which, in turn, has become part of a state-wide
campaign called Single Payer New York. Their goal is to cover all New Yorkers with a sound, equitable,
economical single-payer health insurance system. The chapter has developed a brochure, "Health Care: Truths and
Myths" exploring some of the misconceptions about single-payer and available by e-mail from
afd@thealliancefordemocracy.org. Chapter member John Noronha and Council member Rick LaMonica
represented the Alliance at the Healthcare-NOW leadership summit in Chicago in mid-November.

And into 2009?
Our “to-do list”is long! But with your support and active involvement, we’ll get it done. Here’s just a few of the
projects we’ll be working on in the coming year:
• We’ll reactivate our national campaign for single-payer health care and urge AfDers to support HR
676—The United States National Health Insurance Act. With health insurance reform a major election
issue and compromise reform packages already being introduced in Washington, only a broad-based
grassroots movement and constant pressure is going to get us the kind of real “change” promised by
Obama to ensure that everyone has high-quality, affordable care only possible under single-payer.
• We’ll expand opportunities for members to “Be the Media” with fact-sheets, sample letters and Op-Eds
available on topics of-the-day. We’ll post your published writing to the weblog, so please send them to
afd@thealliancefordemocrayc.org
• The Portland, Oregon Chapter is planning a Water Forum in the Spring and will publish a “Water
Democracy in Oregon” tabloid newspaper. We’ll continue to expand information available to
communities through the Defending Water for Life Campaign, and reframe protection of our water from
an issue of “resource management” as a commodity for profit-making to protection of ecosystems and the
Rights of Nature.
• We will continue to advocate for fair and democratic trade and for water services and the water commons
to be excluded from all trade agreements, including the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).
• We’ll continue to work with local activists and groups who want to learn more about how corporate
influence affects their town and state government and subverts real democracy. We’ll work to “reframe”
issues in regard to community rights vs.corporate rights and assist organized and committed communities
to assert their sovereign rights to end corporate rule.
• In Davis, CA, Nancy Price will work with local AfDers and the community to pass an ordinance similar
to one approved in Akron, OH that prohibits the sale, lease or private contract for operation and
management of the public water utility unless voted on by the people.

Let us hear from you. What will you be working on in 2009? Share your materials and best practices with all
AfDers. Write to us and start up a conversation on the AfD blog—afd-e-news.blogspot.com!

Related Interests