After hiding under the radar for more than 19 years, Agenda 21 became the cause of 2011 as thousands of concerned Americans began to study United Nations documents side – by – side with their local comprehensive development plans. To the horror of most, they found identical language – and the battle was on.
The battle to stop Agenda 21 in local communities and in state legislatures has taken several varied but effective paths. In my travels to speak to more than 38 groups in 12 states in 2011, I have been privilege to meet and work with some of the most amazing activists I’ve even encountered. I’ve also been able to meet with state legislators in four states, along with a large number of county commissioners and city councilmen – all eager to learn about Agenda 21 and how to stop it. Here are some of the results of their work in countering the massive power of those enforcing Agenda 21 across the nation:
Communities are Leaving ICLEI
It started last January, 2011 in Carroll County, Maryland, as the newly elected Board of Commissioners, led by Richard Rothschild, voted to cancel the county’s membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). At the same time the Commission also terminated the contract of the county’s sustainable development director, and they sent the county planning commission back to the drawing board for the state-mandated comprehensive development plan – with instructions to not resubmit it until it protected private property rights and complied with the U.S, Constitution. Little did these new commissioners know, they were at the head of a tidal wave that was about to sweep the nation.
Following Carroll County, next came Amador County, California, as the county commissioners voted to end their membership in ICLEI; then came Montgomery County, PA; followed by Edmond, Oklahoma, Las Cruces, New Mexico. The successful battle against ICLEI in Spartanburg, South Carolina was sparked by County Commissioner Roger Nutt; Virginia became a hotbed of activity against Agenda 21 and ICLEI, especially through the efforts of activists like Donna Holt, Cathy Turner and Charles Battig, to name a few. As a result of their efforts, Albemarle County, Virginia (home of Thomas Jefferson), James City County, Virginia (where America basically started at James Town), Abington, Virginia and Lexington, Virginia, have all voted to throw ICLEI out; we can now add to this list Plantation. Florida; Carver, Massachusetts; Pinellas, Florida; Garland, Texas; Sarasota, Florida; Clallam County, Washington; Monmouth County, New Jersey, Chatham County, North Carolina and Somerset County, New Jersey.
Unofficial reports indicate that at least 54 communities have withdrawn from ICLEI in 2011 (though I don’t have all of them listed here because we don’t have official verification). In addition, while ICLEI set a goal of 1000 American cities as members by 2015, indications are that only 17 new cities joined ICLEI this past year. That would be a net reduction of 37!
Property Rights Council
As I arrived in Idaho last September to speak, I was told that a county commissioner wanted to have dinner with me. I said, fine. I’ve gotta eat! What I received from that dinner was nothing short of stunning. As I arrived at the restaurant I was ushered into a back room where about eight people awaited me, including Bonner County, Idaho attorney Scott Bauer and Bonner County Commissioner Cornel Rasor. They began to lay out a full-blown presentation for a plan to protect property rights in their county. They called it a Property Rights Council. This was to be an official arm of the county government, complete with a full time employee and a selected council of citizens who would oversee all county legislation and regulations to assure they didn’t violate private property rights. In addition, the plan was to connect the council’s activities with a state wide network of free market think tanks that would help make such judgments on the proposed legislation. Amazing idea! I mentioned it in my monthly report to APC supporters and it became a sensation. Tennessee activist Karen Bracken picked up the idea, spent hours discussing every detail with attorney Bauer and quickly organized a conference call of national activist leadership, and the idea is now spreading across the nation. Property Rights Councils will be an invaluable tool to counter ICLEI’s near total control of county government.
State Legislative Activity Against Agenda 21 It has truly been amazing to see anti-Agenda 21 efforts in state legislatures across the nation. My report here is only a fraction of the activities actually taking place, as I literally can’t keep up with the many meetings, hearings and resulting legislation that is being introduced. But here are a few of the highlights:
In the state of Washington, State Representative Matt Shea is succeeding in creating an â€•Anti-Agenda 21 Caucus,â€– designed to educate fellow legislators to the dangers of Agenda 21 and to block passage or any such legislation. Eight House Members have joined so far.
A bill (Assembly Bill 303) has been introduced by Representative Mary Williams into the state legislature of Wisconsin to repeal state mandated smart growth legislation.
Smart growth legislation has been passed in almost very state and is the Sustainablist’s main weapon to enforce Agenda 21 policy in every county. Repeal of such legislation gives the local government the right to choose whether it wants to participate in Sustainable planning or not. The bill has already passed the Wisconsin House and is awaiting action in the state Senate.
Similar legislation has already been passed and signed by the Governor in the state of Florida. That means that Florida counties are now free from state mandates to write and impose comprehensive development plans.
The state of New Hampshire has two landmark bills before it. First is HB 1634, introduced by Rep. Amy Cartwright which prohibits â€•the state counties or towns from implementing programs of, expending money for, receiving funds from, or contracting with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).â€– The second bill prohibits federal, state and local government agents from entering private property without the property owner’s written permission.
Republican National Committee Passes Anti- Agenda 21 Resolution
On Friday, January 13, 2012, Helen Van Etten, Republican National Committeewoman from Kansas, sponsored a resolution entitled â€•Resolution Exposing United Nations Agenda 21.â€– It was adopted during the RNC’s general session that day. This resolution may now be used by all opponents of Agenda 21 to help convince lawmakers that this is a threat serious enough that one of the two major political parties now understands and opposes it. All Republican officeholders now have a valuable tool to stand united and oppose Agenda 21 – if they choose to use it. It is also a major weapon for local activists, who, till now have fought alone, constantly labeled fringe conspiracy theorists.
Mainstream Conservative Movement and Candidates Join The Fight for Individual Property Rights
In addition, The Heritage Foundation has now acknowledged the threat of Agenda 21, in an article entitled â€•Agenda 21 and the Threat in Our Backyard.â€– This is a sign that the mainstream Conservative movement is coming on board in the Agenda 21 fight.
A few months ago, I was contacted by the Newt Gingrich campaign after he had been pummeled with questions about his position on Agenda 21. When his answers weren’t satisfactory to the crowd, people shouted â€•Call Tom DeWeese,â€– and he did. A few weeks later Gingrich appeared on the Sean Hannity radio show talking about Agenda 21, and then he even brought it up in one of the debates.
In his last week on Fox News, Glenn Beck used some of his remaining precious air time on an international news network to expose Agenda 21. I was very please to have been contacted by his producers to provide information for the program. And Beck provided a link the American Policy Center’s website so viewers could learn more.
The tin foil is falling off of our hats rapidly as the fight against Agenda 21 is quickly escalating into the main stream of the political debate.
Breaking up Consensus Meetings
One of the chief tools used by the pro-Agenda 21 forcesistheuseoftrainedfacilitatorsandconsensusmeetings. These are psychology-driven sessions designed to reach a predetermined outcome, as the participants are led to believe it is their own idea. It’s very effective in countering our arguments that Agenda 21 is implemented behind closed doors, against the will of the people. Of course, behind those closed doors is where the predetermined outcome and the tactics to enforce it is, well, determined.
That’s all starting to change as anti-Agenda 21 forces are learning counter techniques. First, author Beverly Eakman has produced a book entitled â€•How To Counter Group Manipulation Tactics.â€– Beverly has studied this tactics for years and has learned how to stop its progress. Created by the Rand Corporation and known as the Delphi Technique, the process depends on the fact that there is no debate, no open discussion and no dissention allow. Beverly’s book show how that can be turned around on the facilitator, and in effect, ruin his day and his meeting’s outcome. Beverly teaches activist how to lay low and quietly upset the process. Others have taken a more blunt, in-you-face approach. It works too!
Case in point, at a recent meeting in San Francisco, about 50 anti-Agenda 21 citizens turned out for yet another controlled consensus meeting, only they refused to play by the rules (key to messing up the pre-planned process). They spoke out, they video-taped the process, they refused to put their names on sign up sheets (an intimidation tactic used by the Sustainablists), they continually corrected the facilitator’s incorrect statements, they did not participate in the â€•phony voting process,â€– (again a tactic used in the Delphi technique to make you think you had a part in the outcome. As soon as you take one step in becoming part of the process, even to vote no, you are in the process). The protestors refused to give their names to the media and they brought in cameras and signs. Above all, they passed out flyers to every participant explaining the process being used on them and telling them their rights in a free assembly. No one was arrested in this process. Take away the power of consensus and you have gone a long way toward stopping Agenda 21. It simply cannot be implemented in a free, open society of free debate and transparency in government, as our local, state and federal governments were designed to be.
So, there you have it, a brief rundown of the growing battle to stop Agenda 21. 2011 was an amazing year in this fight to resort the Republic. But 2012 is already shaping up to be the year we finally crush Agenda 21.
Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence. Go to americanpolicy.org for more information