Where can you hang a sign in your town?

Below is the story of activists pushing the pedal to the metal. Do we have a right to Free Speech in this country? Are we truly allowed the Freedom to Assemble? You know, you need to tell people where to meet in order to assemble.

I have long thought that a good project for a green or progressive group would be to start using flattery, lawsuits, or pushy activism to ensure that there are spaces in their neighborhood to hang signs. Here is the suburbs of Long Island, even the library bulletin board is “pre-screened.” You actually have to submit to the librarian. And, no candidate posters, and most libraries tell you, “It has to be an event sponsored by a non-profit organization.” (Which often translates to: An organization organized and monied enough to have applied for non-profit status.)

Here are some activists who are facing down the Free Speech issue for all of us. Would be great if our community could muster some support:

Activists Face Six Months for Putting Up Anti-War Posters
Sunday, 7 October 2007, 11:16 pm

by David Swanson

Washington, D.C.– Three activists who were arrested at a press conference near Lafayette Park appeared in Washington D.C. Superior Court yesterday where they were given a trial date of January 3, 2008, and face a six-month prison sentence.

Adam Kokesh of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Tina Richards of Grassroots America, and Ian Thompson of the A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition where arrested during a press conference near Lafayette Park where the National Park Service deployed mounted police and a SWAT team to disrupt it. The press conference was called to display the lawful way to apply posters in response to almost $40,000 in postering fines levied against the ANSWER Coalition.

The posters advertised the September 15 March on Washington and Die-In led by Iraq War Veterans that was attended by 100,000 people. Police arrested 200 people at the Die-In on the steps of the Capitol.

“The Constitution gives me the right to freedom of speech,” said Tina Richards. “We lawfully applied the posters and we have the right to freedom of speech.”…

“As an attorney and anti-war activist, I am outraged that the government arrested and charged me and my co-defendants with crimes when we were simply exercising our free speech rights under the First Amendment. I am being charged with ‘assaulting a police officer’ for merely picking up a bucket of wheat paste. This prosecution is not only a waste of time, but also of taxpayer dollars. It is part of the Bush administration’s plan to criminalize dissent and curtail the constitutional rights of people who speak out against the illegal war on Iraq.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.