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Constitution Restoration Cooperative Association


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Archive for December, 2009

Indigenous Rights and Universal Peace – Rigoberta Menchu

Posted by justjoe on 17th December 2009

the following biography is from the Nobel Peace website



Rigoberta Menchú TumRigoberta Menchú was born on January 9, 1959 to a poor Indian peasant family and raised in the Quiche branch of the Mayan culture. In her early years she helped with the family farm work, either in the northern highlands where her family lived, or on the Pacific coast, where both adults and children went to pick coffee on the big plantations.

Rigoberta Menchú soon became involved in social reform activities through the Catholic Church, and became prominent in the women’s rights movement when still only a teenager. Such reform work aroused considerable opposition in influential circles, especially after a guerilla organization established itself in the area. The Menchú family was accused of taking part in guerrilla activities and Rigoberta’s father, Vicente, was imprisoned and tortured for allegedly having participated in the execution of a local plantation owner. After his release, he joined the recently founded Committee of the Peasant Union (CUC).

In 1979, Rigoberta, too, joined the CUC. That year her brother was arrested, tortured and killed by the army. The following year, her father was killed when security forces in the capital stormed the Spanish Embassy where he and some other peasants were staying. Shortly afterwards, her mother also died after having been arrested, tortured and raped. Rigoberta became increasingly active in the CUC, and taught herself Spanish as well as other Mayan languages than her native Quiche. In 1980, she figured prominently in a strike the CUC organized for better conditions for farm workers on the Pacific coast, and on May 1, 1981, she was active in large demonstrations in the capital. She joined the radical 31st of January Popular Front, in which her contribution chiefly consisted of educating the Indian peasant population in resistance to massive military oppression.

In 1981, Rigoberta Menchú had to go into hiding in Guatemala, and then flee to Mexico. That marked the beginning of a new phase in her life: as the organizer abroad of resistance to oppression in Guatemala and the struggle for Indian peasant peoples’ rights. In 1982, she took part in the founding of the joint opposition body, The United Representation of the Guatemalan Opposition (RUOG). In 1983, she told her life story to Elisabeth Burgos Debray. The resulting book, called in English, I, Rigoberta Menchú, is a gripping human document which attracted considerable international attention. In 1986, Rigoberta Menchú became a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the CUC, and the following year she performed as the narrator in a powerful film called When the Mountains Tremble, about the struggles and sufferings of the Maya people. On at least three occasions, Rigoberta Menchú has returned to Guatemala to plead the cause of the Indian peasants, but death threats have forced her to return into exile.

Over the years, Rigoberta Menchú has become widely known as a leading advocate of Indian rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation, not only in Guatemala but in the Western Hemisphere generally, and her work has earned her several international awards.

more about “Indigenous Rights and Universal Peace…“, posted with vodpod

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Peace-Making & Peace-Building: Securing the Contributions of Women and Civil Society

Posted by justjoe on 17th December 2009

Women War Peace: The Politics of Peacebuilding

more about “Peace-Making & Peace-Building: Securi…“, posted with vodpod

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The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

Posted by justjoe on 8th December 2009

I wrote the following response on a wonderful blog written by Dr. Edrene McKay from Arkansas which you will find the link to below as well as my response to her latest entry:

“Don’t Demonize Individuals, Demand Systemic Change”

the following is the last part of her entry.

Ron Paul and I probably wouldn’t agree on the role of government. He tends to see limited government as the answer, but our world has become so complex and there are so many powerful interests (e.g., monopolistic insurance companies) that a government that is willing to take vigorous action on behalf of the people, when it is impossible for them to act efficaciously on their own, is clearly necessary. What we need is a set of principles to guide our actions. Ron Paul suggests going back to the Constitution. I think a better starting point would be the Declaration of Independence, but this time we have to mean it:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.”

Perhaps it’s time for another revolution. I don’t mean Minute Men and muskets, but a complete overhaul of our governance system. The incentives need to make it possible, desirable, and even necessary to serve the public interest and impossible to serve powerful special interests. How will that happen? A vigilant public that analyzes the underlying faults in the system, without demonizing individuals, and demands reform. A more vigilant press would help too.


Dear Edrene

What a great blog and I hope you will become inspired to write more often, you have a gift for it.

Your focus on the Declaration is quite spot on in illuminating the dream.

Van Jones is quoted as saying:
“Dr. King didn’t get famous giving a speech that said, “I have a complaint.” It’s time for us to start dreaming again and invite the country to dream with us. We don’t have any “throw away” species, nations, or children. We must birth a global green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.”

The Declaration of Independence was and still is that dream waiting to find its way into the heart and conscious of the People of America.
That dream of “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” was given a real meaning of commitment on the bloody battlefields of the American Revolutionary War and codified in the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The journey of that dream has been long, arduous and at times extremely violent. New members of the Human family have continued to be added to that dream, but only as we all come to live it with a respect to all.

I have come to find the hope of that dream in the Constitution, the rule of just law. It was the final parting gift to “us and our posterity” that would keep alive the “Dream”. A final substantive act to preserve and protect the dream enshrined in the preamble beginning with “We the People” not Me the Person.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and insights for it has helped me to reestablish my relation to this foundational document “The Declaration of Independence”


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