Maine Towns Fight Back against Corporations

Citizens at the local level continue to creatively and strategically challenge corporate power by their so-called “constitutional rights.” While these challenges may be around issues of water, food, elections, farms, jobs, etc, they are at root focused on self-governance — the authority of people to make decisions affecting their lives, communities and natural world around them.

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Yes magazine, Summer, 2009
Maine Towns Fight Back

Three towns in Maine — Shapleigh, Newman, and Wells — have passed ordinances that strip corporations of the rights of “personhood,” a legal concept that allows companies to claim the same rights as individual citizens.

The ordinances are aimed at stopping the extraction of local groundwater, which the Swiss food corporation Nestle bottles and sells under the label Poland Springs. For years, Maine communities have fought the company’s efforts to expand its water bottling operations.

The towns also recognized the rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish and the rights of citizens to self-govern — including the right to protect their groundwater by placing it in a public trust.

— Brooke Jarvis is a freelance writer based in Maryville, Tennessee

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