Rebuild America

‘Make Levees Not War’ was one poignant and powerful sign at the peace vigils across the nation September 24th – connecting the dots eloquently between empire building abroad and de-funding of communities at home. In the neo-conservative age, our mantras have shifted. We find ourselves pleading for levees not love. As the consequences of de-funding our communities reveal themselves, it is radical indeed to look at shoring up the most basic forms of government – those that exist to make sure our water is potable, our children have schools, and we have communication systems that function in good times and in bad. Our nation had a staggering moment of consensus during the early days of Katrina. We all knew that we did not want to find ourselves or any other member of our community relegated to the superdome. Let’s build from that consensus.

Rebuild America:

The Country, Our Communities, The Gulf Coast

Hurricane Katrina revealed a national disaster in leadership and priorities. A change of course is needed now! The role of government is to protect the rights and promote the health, safety and well being of all people living in this country. We, the undersigned, call upon our elected leaders to take action to Rebuild America: The Country, Our Communities, The Gulf Coast.

1. Create Real Security: The gap between the super-rich and everyone else has never been greater. It threatens our ability to Rebuild America. We want: a. Fair tax contributions from corporations & the wealthy. b. A livable minimum wage. c. A real safety net to protect people’s basic needs of healthcare, food, shelter & education. d. Public employment projects that put people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

2. Withdraw from Iraq: The US occupation of Iraq is now directly endangering US security and inflaming civil war in Iraq. We demand an orderly withdrawal of all US forces in Iraq, and the creation of a true international relief effort to rebuild that country. We want Oregon’s Governor to call for the return of the state’s National Guard from Iraq.

3. Protect the Rights of All: Since 9/11, the federal government has militarized society in the name of ‘National Security’. True safety means protecting the rights of all people and creating a society that offers everyone a decent standard of living. These basic rights are outlined in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Geneva Conventions. We therefore demand: a. Respect our Bill of Rights! Abolish the USA PATRIOT ACT and the REAL ID ACT. b. A realistic, fair, and humane immigration policy. c. Close down all secret prisons. Stop torture. Due process for all prisoners at home and abroad.

4. Build Sustainable Communities: Promote Energy Conservation as National Security. The energy crisis damages our security, our economy, and our environment. We say: Rebuild America with public investments in energy efficiency and conservation- to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign sources – using the Apollo Alliance as a model.

Rebuilding America starts with accounting for the Co$t of War. Click HERE to learn more.

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Get Involved

Here are just a few ways you can get involved in the work for social justice and a stronger democracy:




Act Locally

The heart of ROP’s work is done in local communities through human dignity groups. There are over 60 Member Groups of the ROP. Contact us at or 503-543-8417 to find out what kind of local organizing is happening in your area.

Stay Connected Across the Region

ROPNET is the official listserve of the Rural Organizing Project. It is a secure list to the extent that all names added are involved with the work of the ROP. Our email listserve was one of the first to use email to organize when it was launched in the early 1990s. ROPNET is intended first and foremost to break the isolation that rural human rights activists can experience. Subscribe to ROPnet.

Become a Member of the Rural Organizing Project

Are you or your group committed to social justice and human dignity?  Do you care about making rural Oregon’s communities exciting and vibrant centers for democracy?  Do you want to connect with others who feel similarly and get support for your organizing?  Join ROP today!


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Stay Tuned In!

Mobilizing our communities for Freedom and Democracy on November 4th and beyond! Join ROP’s Freedom Voters Campaign Visit Download these materials and begin engaging your community members today: Freedom Voters Guide Freedom Survey Freedom Pledge Cards Freedom Petition VolunteerPledge Thank You Cards Study Circles for Freedom & Democracy: ROP member groups are kicking off the 2008 Election Year with study circles to ground us in the challenges and opportunities in 2008. Check out Naomi Wolf’s Letter to a Young Patriot. Start a study group in your community or share your reflections with the ROP. Stay tuned for the Freedom Voter Guide, a tool to engage our community members to vote and act for justice in 2008! Jumpstart Your Civic Engagement by Registering Voters Early & Often Your Ballot Snapshot: ROP’s Preview of Initiatives Heading Your Way (as of January 2008) As we kick off the 2008 election year, it is not just candidates who are making the rounds. Here in Oregon, more than 60 initiatives are vying for a spot on the ballot. It may very well be the longest ballot ever. Unfortunately, nearly every one of these initiatives would take us a step further away from real democracy. True democracy and freedom requires an educated population whose basic needs are cared for, not an incarcerated one, protection of workers rights through strong unions and respect for the civil rights of all, not scapegoating of immigrant workers and targeting LGBTQ members of our community. Our government of, by, and for the people demands the resources to realize this vision of democracy, not tax loopholes and restrictions that hamstring government from doing its job. Dismantling the war at home and abroad means that it is not enough to bring the troops home and stop draining our resources for an unjust war in Iraq, though these are certainly a start! This election year, the frontlines on the home front will be waged through many of these ballot measures. Unions, immigrants, teachers, working people, women, queer folks, people of color, and all of us who believe in a fair and just world are targets this election. Every time we fill out our ballots we have a chance to vote to expand democracy. It is up to us to use our grassroots power to demand accountability and turn out the vote for justice. Check out ROP’s 2008 Initiatives Overview in WORD or PDF.

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Annual Rural Caucus & Strategy Session

Saturday, April 26th, Hood River, OR On April 26th, ROPers from every corner of the state gathered along the banks of the Columbia River for a day together at the Rural Caucus and Strategy Session focused on "Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad".

"I looked around the room and thought, ‘These people understand me. The issues I care about are their issues, too. We don’t have to pretend to be someone else or to explain what we are thinking. We are so much alike, and I am happy here.’" – Alice McCain, Coastal Progressives, Lincoln County

We kicked off our time together by affirming our role as movement minded human dignity activists. Read more

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Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad

During WWII, African American soldiers would wave a Double V for victory abroad over the Nazis and victory at home over racism. Similarly today, while we are working to stop the war in Iraq, there is a domestic front to that war being waged here at home on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community. All of this in the name of "security." And all of this to the benefit of the same private corporate contractor few that claim to do security well, never mind civil liberties or human rights or economic justice.

Read More on Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad.

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“The only answer to organized money is organized people.”

(Quote by Bill Moyers)

Dear Friends of the Rural Organizing Project, You don’t get to choose your moment in history but you do get to choose how you act in it. As we enter 2008, we find the majority of Americans leaning to the ‘left’, with the Democratic Party poised to regain political power in the country. Still, the problems that led to the Democratic resurgence remain intractable: a war that Congress cannot or will not stop, the danger of military escalation, a pro-torture Attorney General approved with bi-partisan support, and behind these problems, the relentless rise of a ‘privatized’ government, from Blackwater to Halliburton, that uses the expanding disasters of our world as opportunities for private profit. The challenges vary, but they are often dire. Yet there is also a positive aspect to our times. Since the old fixes are not providing solutions, we get to be smart, creative and local, building concrete alternatives for the future we desire.

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Dec 2007 KTA: Awarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Certificate to a Community Member

This month’s Kitchen Table Activity is to award a certificate to a community member(s) whose work strengthens one or more of the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Over the years, this KTA has been repeated as an annual action because you tell us that this is a fun, easy, effective and positive way to celebrate and raise awareness of human rights victories and struggles.

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Columbia County Fighting Anti-Immigrant Proposal

No on 5-190 & 5-191!

Immigration is being used as a divisive wedge nationally, and with the collapse of the 2006 immigration bill, many local efforts are popping up that do nothing to address the root causes of immigration and global economic migration, but instead scapegoat immigrants and divide communities.

To learn more about the Columbia County No on 5-190 & 5-191 Campaign, visit:

ROP is committed to giving rural communities in Oregon the tools, information, and support to organize for immigration fairness. Keep us posted on what is happening in your community and let us know how we can help.

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St. Helens resident launches petition drive on illegal immigration

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This is from Wayne Mayo of St. Helens:

After making a presentation before the Columbia County Board of Commissioners and again that evening of the 18th in front of the St. Helens City council explaining the idea of proclaiming a “Illegal Worker Free County/City” of our community, I believe a more direct approach is warranted.

I have decided to form a political action committee to do a petition drive and get suggested statutes and laws on the books here in the county and the city of St Helens. I am asking for help from my fellow citizens alarmed with the lawlessness of our current predicament.

Among the considerations that I will ask on the ballot measures.

1. Should the City of St. Helens/ Columbia County add a punitive charge of $15k to the cost of every permit to build homes that were constructed with illegal workers?

2. Should the City of St. Helens require 4’X 8’ signs explaining the concept of a “illegal worker free community” at the entrance to every new subdivision and minor partition? Should that sign have the phone numbers of the building department and the sheriff’s department listen on the sign?

3. Should the punitive fees collected from the enforcement of this legal initiative be equally allocated between the building departments of the city/ county and the police/sheriff’s department of the same?

4. Should the appeal process of the additional punitive building fees be done through a new citizen’s committee of 6 dedicated solely for that purpose?

5. Should business’s requiring licenses one year to the next face punitive surcharges of $500/ month for hiring illegals on their staff?

6. Should landlords face similar revocation of their rental licenses and punitive fees of $200/month should they not provide due diligence in their rental practices to insure renting to “legals” only?

Their may be other considerations in the pursuit of this legal relief, but this is the beginning point. I am considering a Statewide petition drive as well.
I can be reached at 503-396-1114.

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