The Pennsylvania Community Rights Network
Our purpose is to protect communities by assisting them in creating local laws that outline and assert peoples’ rights as that community defines them. In doing so, we seek to drive fundamental legal change upward, through the state and federal constitutions, so that corporate power can be curtailed or eliminated and new laws enacted reflecting, honoring, and promoting full democracy, sustainability, and community rights.
The current structure of law in Pennsylvania systematically strips communities of the power to adopt laws to protect their health and safety, particularly when those laws come into direct conflict with corporate decisionmaking. This system thus prohibits communities from banning projects and activities that they consider dangerous and harmful – everything from corporate factory farms to the land dumping of sewage sludge and “hydro-fracking” for natural gas. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania communities have found out the hard way that the existing structure does not provide a remedy for these problems, and that a corporate minority, with the blessing of the state, has almost wholesale control over our communities on almost any issue that really matters.
Folks involved with the Pennsylvania Community Rights Network (PACRN) have seen this system for what it is. PACRN is a democratic, statewide organization focused on asserting fundamental rights to achieve constitutional change that liberates local community self-government.
PACRN assists communities to draft and advance Community Bills of Rights – in effect, local constitutions – that assert new civil and political rights for the community, and then prohibit those activities that would infringe on those rights.