Tea Party activists have started to sound the alarms over a United Nations initiative most Americans have never heard of, but one that many in the movement see as one of the greatest threats to America’s sovereignty.
“Americans are so focused on Congress and Obama at the federal level of government right now that most are overlooking the socialism creeping in at the local level through Agenda 21,” the Tea Party publication the Tea Party Tribune warned readers on July 2.
Agenda 21 is a UN initiative that 178 governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) adopted in 1992 under the auspices of saving the environment. It bills itself as a coordinated plan of action to help nations and local government ensure “sustainability.”
“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment,” the U.N. website explains.
While the aim sounds innocent enough, Tea Partiers argue that it is just a means to an end. The end, they say, is the usurpation of American sovereignty, a planned economy and redistribution of the wealth.
The media may be quick to dismiss this as the breathless caterwauling of a minority of Americans, but American Policy Center president Tom DeWeese says not so fast. According to DeWeese, these concerns are legitimate and repercussions of Agenda 21 are already visible, in urban growth schemes across the country.
“This is as vast, complicated issue that invades every corner of our lives. Al Gore promised us a ‘wrenching transformation’ of our society — this is it,” DeWeese told TheDC. “What we are fighting is a move toward top down control–the exact opposite if the system America started with. Special interests, NGOs [Non-governmental organizations], and quasi official government groups like the American Planning Association are descending on local government and changing it through the establishment of non-elected boards, councils and regional governments. They don’t answer to the people.”
Congress has never approved the implementation of Agenda 21, though Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush all signed executive orders to implement it.
Tea Partiers aware of the initiative are eager to get the word out and stop what they see as an encroachment of an international agenda, manifest in local planning programs such as smart growth, land use policies, and green building codes.
“Agenda 21 usurps sovereignty, property rights, economic liberty, and basically hands over power, resources and land to unelected elitists … to control the populations of every country in the world,” North Carolina military mom and self-described “concerned citizen,” Cheryl Pass said at a local Tea Party meeting in mid-June. “Agenda 21 purports to address environmental issues, but calls for wealth redistribution, resource redistribution, food redistribution, energy restrictions, supposed social justice, and more. It is NOT about the environment, though it pretends to be.”
According to international public policy consultant Wendall Cox, while policies promoting “sustainability” are a threat to personal liberties, it is not the international conspiracy some believe it to be. Cox says the homegrown “green” phenomena is the truly dangerous threat.
Cox told TheDC it is a mistake to blame the move toward “sustainable” growth on the international community when 99 percent of local urban planners are already aggressively pushing for it.
“[The local green agenda] is not being imposed by the United Nations. That is being imposed by local elected officials who are being misled by radical environmentalists and their urban planners to do this,” said Cox. “We need to make sure we understand what we are fighting here, and we are not fighting the United Nations.”
Either way, the Tea Party remains troubled by Agenda 21’s mere existence.
“Agenda 21 is the United Nation’s blue print for the complete restructuring of nations and local communities to fit into a proper mold for global governance,” said citizen activist Donna Holt at an event for the Virginia Campaign for Liberty, “It outlines, in detail, the UN’s vision for a completely managed society, dictating the process to be used for industry, agriculture, housing development, and especially education. It’s an all-encompassing plan to rule from an all-powerful central government.”
As more members of the Tea Party become aware of the perceived threats of the U.N.’s Agenda 21, politicians will likely begin speaking to their concerns.
Mother Jones noted in a recent article mocking the Tea Party’s concerns that even this past election cycle Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes brought up U.N. control through the implementation of a bike sharing program.
As the Tea Party continues to become more entrenched, expect more discussion about the U.N. and Agenda 21.