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Challenging Corporate Power, Asserting the People's Rights

•••A Sample of Happenings in Branches and among Our Members, October 2004•••

In Maine

During August, Martha Spiess, a new WILPF member of Freeport, Maine, arranged two showings of the movie "Thirst." This award-winning film features the stories of three communities - from Cochabamba, Bolivia, to Stockton, California, and the Province of Rajasthan, India - where people were forced to organize and fight for local democratic control of their water services and resources. Order the film on-line from Bullfrog Films ( at the education rate. It comes with a study guide.

On August 16th, more than 50 people attended a showing at the Rockland Public Library where afterward Nancy Price of the leadership team of WILPF’s Challenge Corporate Power, Assert the People's Rights campaign, and others facilitated a discussion on the problems of privatizing public water services and the push into Maine by Nestle-Poland Spring in search of fresh water resources to access for bulk shipment and for their bottled water plants in Maine and Massachusetts.

The following evening, August 17th, over 35 people attended the “Thirst” showing at the Brunswick Library hosted by the local WILPF branch. Barbara West introduced the film and moderated a panel discussion that included Nancy Price and other representatives from the Water Allies Network of which WILPF is now a member. They spoke about community participatory budgeting as it is used in Brazil and might be adopted by Maine communities. The intent is to ensure that public money be allocated to maintain local water systems and create jobs so that residents wouldn't be attracted to job offers from water privatizing corporations and bottling plants.

On Saturday morning, Christine De Troy, who had attended WILPF’s International Congress in Sweden, hosted everyone at brunch to explore how to work on education and outreach on issues such as corporate power, water privatization, bottled water, and, perhaps, the trade agreements.

In Northern California

Jan Edwards of our leadership team, along with a few colleagues, conducted a workshop on October 9 at the Labor and Social Justice Conference called "Challenging Corporate Rule." On October 23 Jan will do several workshops in Orange County at the "Caring for Creation” Conference titled “Corporate Personhood and the Right to Harm the Environment.”

On Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The “We the People vs. Corporate Rule” group (a joint project of WILPF and Cape Codders for Peace and Justice) continues its work to educate people on a community-owned universal health insurance plan, Cape Care, being developed by the health care community and county government. The Cape branch also established a Radical Democracy group to address this essential work.

In Tucson, Arizona

New study groups are beginning and advanced groups are continuing to meet, taking some of their material from such sources as Thom Hartmann's Unequal Protection and Zepezauer's Take the Rich Off Welfare. Joyce Smith, a new member of the campaign leadership team has been doing interviews with KXCI, a local radio station and AccessTucson, the local Indy cable tv station.

Joyce and other WILPFers (Sally Flax, Pat Birnie and Maggie Newman) have been “tabling” at showings of “The Corporation” and at a wide variety of talks and programs in the area including events with Jim Hightower, Holly Near, and Amy Goodman! A Peace Fair and Labor Day events also kept them on the go.

These folks make good use of local e-mail lists to get the word out about WILPF activities.

---Cover cartoon from CCP, APR “Tips on Passing a Resolution toAbolish
Corporate Personhood” flyer downloadable from,

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