Tag Archives: First Amendment

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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Manhattan District Attorney Subpoenas Occupy Protester’s Twitter Account | The Nation

16 Feb

The Manhattan District Attorney subpoenaed the Twitter account of Malcolm Harris, who’d been arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in an Occupy event on 1 October (crossing the  bridge with 700 others). They were seeking “any and all user information including e-mail address, as well as any and all tweets for the period 9/15/11-12/31/11” for his account, which has almost no bearing on the offense:

Why the prosecutor would bother to conduct an investigation into the most minor of offenses, one that even upon conviction does not result in a criminal record is unclear. But whatever it is that is under investigation—perhaps the entire Occupy movement—it is not Harris’s alleged disorderly conduct. New York criminal defense attorney, Earl Ward, who is familiar with the case, but not involved in it, calls it a “fishing expedition meant to have a chilling effect on protest” and says it is “prosecutorial abuse, an effort by the DA’s office to get into personal communications of these protesters, for the purpose of chilling their First Amendment rights.”

via Manhattan District Attorney Subpoenas Occupy Protester’s Twitter Account | The Nation.