Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tell Congress: Amend "Anti-Protest Bill" to Ensure First Amendment Protections

Tell Congress: Amend "Anti-Protest Bill" to Ensure First Amendment Protections

Imagine an America in which the government can deny protest in any public space it deems fit. Where wearing a dissenting shirt around an elected official could be construed as a felony. Where First-Amendment protections become privileges subjectively doled out by the state. Sadly, that America is pretty much here.

Last year, Congress passed HR 347, a bill that limits Americans' ability to protest in public and on government grounds. Mainstream media didn't raise peep, but now there's finally some anger building. The bill, passed almost unanimously, makes it a federal offense punishable by up to ten years in prison to "knowingly" protest in the vicinity of the Secret Service--that is anywhere the Secret Service "is or will be temporarily visiting."

It also makes many public events impervious to lawful protest. Any "National Security Special Event" (NSSE) requires Secret Service protection. NSSE-designated events have proliferated since 9/11 to include Super Bowls, concerts, campaign events, and now any public event that Very Important People want protest-free.

Most dangerously, it criminalizes protest
. Under the bill, "disorderly or disruptive conduct" or activities that "impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions" could warrant felony charges. What constitutes such "disruptive conduct" rests in the eye of the beholder--or the eye of Eric Holder. To put it plainly: the government can decide where and when free speech is allowed and severely prosecute any "disruptive" activity, while we're confined to "free speech zones." We can help fix it, however! Join our petition below to protect our speech rights!

: We treasure our first amendment rights of free speech and public assembly! HR 347 limits valid arenas of peaceful public protest, and broadens the government's ability to curtail civil liberties. We demand that Congress amend the bill to provide clearer language as to what constitutes "disruptions"; to allow for reasonable, peaceful protest at NSSEs and around Secret Service; and to ensure that no peaceful protest can ever be deemed a felony.

DFW Organizing Meetings

Organizing Meetings:

Texas Alliance for Retired Americans monthly meeting
Wed Dec 4 @ 12:30 pm (note change in day of the week)
American Postal Workers' Union
2010 Postal Way
Dallas 75212

AFL-CIO youth initiative, led by Kooper Caraway
Th Dec 5 @ 7 pm
1408 N Washington Av (btwn Ross & Live Oak)
Dallas 75204

Prometheus Project monthly meeting (anti-GMO)
Sat Dec 7 @ 3 pm
Park Cities Yoga
5934 Royal Ln ste 252 (west of Preston, 2nd floor)
Dallas 75230

Sierra Club monthly general meeting
Tue Dec 10 @ 6:30 pm
4515 LBJ Fwy
Farmers' Branch 75244

Jobs with Justice monthly meeting
Wed Dec 11 @ 7 pm
1408 N Washington Av
Dallas 75204

Direct Actions:

Candlelight vigil for historic Denton neighborhood endangered by fracking
Tue Dec 3 @ 5 pm
Denton City Hall
215 E. McKinney St
Denton 76201

Rally @ the Federal Reserve Banks (rescheduled from Nov 23 rainout)
Sat Dec 21 @ noon
Klyde Warren Park (over Woodall Rodgers), catty corner from Dallas FED

Antisurveillance rally sponsored by Dallas Restore the 4th
Sat Dec 21 @ 5 pm
Dealey Plaza

Public Hearings:

Dallas City Council on city ordinance restricting fracking
City Hall, 1500 Marilla
Public comment period: Wed Dec 4 @ 9 am
City Council meeting for final vote: Wed Dec 11 @ 9 am


Screening: PLASTIC PARADISE (about plastic dump on tropical island in Pacific)
Wed Dec 4 @ 8:30 pm
Cost: $12, payable to Tugg.com
Angelika movie theater
Next door to DART Mockingbird rail station

SMU Embrey Human Rights Program annual seasonal greeting card writing to inmates on death row
Sat Dec 7 @ 11 am-4 pm
History Dept.
Basement of Dallas Hall (rotunda)

Int'l Human Rights Day labor celebration sponsored by Jobs with Justice
Tue Dec 10 @ 7 pm
1408 N Washington Av
Dallas 75204

Sierra Club year end party
Sun Dec 15 @ 6 pm
El Fenix, Casa Linda (E. Dallas)