How Wealth Rules the World 1st Edition

Saving Our Communities and Freedoms from the Dictatorship of Property

Ben Price (Author)

Forthcoming: 05/21/2019

How Wealth Rules the World
Many of today's most serious issues—homelessness, gun violence, fracking, prison privatization, predatory lending, and many more—resist resolution because the “rights of property” undermine the rights of people. Issues that undeniably affect whole communities are determined by the courts to relate primarily to property, contracts, and corporations and are removed from the public sphere and immunized from public governance.

There's a reason for this. Ben Price tells the story of how the Federalists—the more conservative faction of the Founding Fathers—secretly drafted the Constitution as a counterrevolutionary document. It restored to the colonial 1 percent privileges overturned by the revolution, avoiding a popular backlash by bestowing rights on wealth itself, rather than creating a British-style personal aristocracy. These rights of property deprive the majority of their ability to self-govern and weaponize government in ways that let the “minority of the opulent” (in James Madison's phrase) use the Constitution to block local policies that compete with their interests.

Price details often shocking examples of how the supposedly unalienable rights of individuals and communities are blithely disregarded. But he also describes how over 200 communities have drafted their own bills of rights that push back against the primacy of property and how we all can join this struggle to return America to what the revolutionary generation intended.

Read more and meet author below



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Overview

Many of today's most serious issues—homelessness, gun violence, fracking, prison privatization, predatory lending, and many more—resist resolution because the “rights of property” undermine the rights of people. Issues that undeniably affect whole communities are determined by the courts to relate primarily to property, contracts, and corporations and are removed from the public sphere and immunized from public governance.

There's a reason for this. Ben Price tells the story of how the Federalists—the more conservative faction of the Founding Fathers—secretly drafted the Constitution as a counterrevolutionary document. It restored to the colonial 1 percent privileges overturned by the revolution, avoiding a popular backlash by bestowing rights on wealth itself, rather than creating a British-style personal aristocracy. These rights of property deprive the majority of their ability to self-govern and weaponize government in ways that let the “minority of the opulent” (in James Madison's phrase) use the Constitution to block local policies that compete with their interests.

Price details often shocking examples of how the supposedly unalienable rights of individuals and communities are blithely disregarded. But he also describes how over 200 communities have drafted their own bills of rights that push back against the primacy of property and how we all can join this struggle to return America to what the revolutionary generation intended.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Ben Price

Ben Price, National Organizing Director, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.  Ben has for twelve years worked with CELDF to coordinate community rights organizing across the country, and has advised and organized in hundreds of communities, many of which adopted community bills of rights that codify the right of local community self-government, the rights of the natural environment, the right to clean air and water, and other rights, while prohibiting corporate activities that violate those rights.

Ben served as adviser to Pittsburgh City Council members and assisted in drafting Pittsburgh's Protection from Natural Gas Drilling Ordinance. He currently works with colleagues in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and California to train, educate and organize local people to adopt community-rights ordinances and charter amendments that subordinate corporate privileges to human and civil rights.

Ben is also organizational liaison with the National Community Rights Network and assists strategic organizing across the country to support community rights movement-building. He is a first-chair Democracy School Lecturer, proponent and activist for the Rights of Nature and author of numerous articles and essays focused on the right of local community self-government.

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