I want to remind you that we will have an organizing conference call tonight as we make plans to organize a large action in March. We are looking at doing the action at the Pentagon in March, but are open to other ideas. Please see the call to action below.
Wednesday Oct. 6 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Call-in number 218-486-8700
Access code 109431
What are we doing and where?
Outreach to others to work on organizing
Published on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
Is Progressive Dissent Public Enemy #1?
Is free speech worth the constitutional paper it’s written on?
After the September 26 FBI raids on peace activists’ homes in
The pretext for the raids was investigating “material aide to terrorists”, resulting in grand jury subpoenas and confiscation of computers, books, music CDs and from one home, a Martin Luther King poster. The targeted
When it comes to war, US government sees three roles for the American people: 1. Pay hundreds of billions for the largest military on Earth 2. Kill and possibly die or be maimed for
Just days before the raids, the Department of Justice Inspector General released a report about FBI abuses of peace groups under the Bush Administration -- abuses that President Obama continues. Republicans and Democrats rubberstamp domestic spying on peace organizations, Quakers, and solidarity groups visiting countries that the
In June, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Center that peace groups who talked about non-violent, democratic practices and international human rights law -- that is, alternatives to terrorism -- with organizations on the State Department’s “Terrorist Watch List” may be charged with ‘material aid to terrorists’. If ending terrorism is actually the goal, then, why make working to end violence a crime? In his dissent, SCOTUS Justice Stephen Breyer warned that political speech -- the most protected speech under the First Amendment -- was being criminalized.
President Bill Clinton’s 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act made “material aid" a crime, was expanded under George W. Bush’s PATRIOT Act and is broadening to Orwellian vagueness under the President Obama. He made campaign promises to close
Billions of dollars have simply disappeared in
Dissidents educate the American public about these policies as much as they protest them.
As the FBI raided American dissidents’ homes, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced economic sanctions against
Since WWI, the FBI has targeted peace activists; most infamously labor leader Eugene Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison for an anti-war speech. The FBI’s COINTEL program subjected the civil rights movement to domestic spying while the Klux Klux Klan burned churches and homes, beat and murdered with near-total impunity. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and other leaders of color had thick FBI files. The Black Panther Party, American Indian Movement and Puerto Rican
Almost always it is progressive/Leftist non-violent groups and activists that the FBI spies on, harasses and tries to jail.
Anti-choice groups post hit lists of doctors with their addresses, commit arson on and mail anthrax-like powder to clinics -- without being investigated. White supremacists and militias threaten and commit violence against people of color, Muslims and progressives. Violent rhetoric infuses many right-wing groups -- with no grand jury subpoenas. Supporting racism, corporate rule and war -- that is, rightwing ideology -- even with a call for violence, is protected speech.
The Supreme Court will hear the case of homophobic preacher, Fred Phelps, who protests military funerals. Likely Phelps will win, as “unpopular speech" -- especially if it's bigotry -- gets protection. This is the same court that made talking about international human rights law a crime.
Bigots are held up as "victims" whose First Amendment rights are threatened, yet hatred has no problem being heard. No one is harassed for suggesting that the
Nine years after the September 11 attacks, the
Lydia Howell is a Minneapolis activist, journalist and producer-host of CATALYST: Politics and Culture  on KFAI Radio.
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/05-8