Protecting Face-to-Face Protest – NYTimes.com

9 Apr

Another tradition endangered by the corpstate:

Although virtually ignored today, a right to petition is part of the First Amendment, and the Constitution does not leave it to the government to decide who should have access to it.

The historical model of petitioning, going back to medieval England, literally involved laying a petition at the foot of the throne — while the king was sitting on it. The presentation of petitions has deep roots in American political culture. Quaker abolitionists used mass petitioning campaigns to advocate an end to the slave trade in the 1790s and the American Anti-Slavery Society renewed such efforts with similar campaigns in the 1830s and ’40s. Female suffragists embraced petitioning — as did Native Americans and veterans in later decades.

The 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, included a petition seeking protection of political and civil rights for Alabama’s black citizens. It was to be delivered to Gov. George C. Wallace after a rally at the State Capitol. (Although Mr. Wallace declined to receive the petition then, he did so about a week later, after meeting with a delegation of S.C.L.C. representatives.)

What would have happened if Alabama, invoking “security concerns,” had banished the Selma march and rally to a fairgrounds miles away from downtown Montgomery? The answer should be obvious.

via Protecting Face-to-Face Protest – NYTimes.com.

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