Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Right to Petition the Government, the Oakland "Occupy Wall Street" Version

Lots of countries have high-sounding "Constitutions" with lots of "rights" and "liberties". The real test is when the citizenry attempt to exercise their rights.

The US has its First Amendment as part of its "Bill of Rights" to its Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Sadly, the authorities interpret that as the right to assemble and petition in some far away scruffy corner where nobody will see you or hear you. If you decide to assemble in an urban area, the authorities will soon decide that you are an "eyesore" that there are "health concerns" and that you have "overstayed your welcome". In short, protest, but not too loudly, not to visibly, and not too long.

You can tell when your rights are "fishy"... they send in the cops in riot gear in the middle of the night and unleash the hounds of hell to drive you away...

News coverage:
A legitimate government would assemble the police without riot gear, invite in the press, bring in cameras, send in high profile officials to explain why they want to move and/or suppress the demonstration, and rely on public consensus to get the protesters to leave.

I have no problem with cops in riot gear going in full force on the crazy nihilists who use "protests" as a cover for trashing the city. But if the government is legitimate, they should be able to get all but a handful to leave peacefully if the government truly has the consent of the governed behind them. That they are doing this in the middle of the night with such violence says to me that the government is bought-and-sold by big corporate money and the billionaires behind the scenes. There is nothing "legitimate" in handling peaceful protest in this manner.

An honest government wouldn't be using violation of "camping laws" or the so-called worries over "sanitation" to send in riot cops to beat people with billy clubs and tear gas them. That isn't how you deal with campers and trash. That is how a police state deals with political dissent. So much for the "rights" of Americans under their constitution. US citizens have a Constitutionally "guaranteed right to protest" so long as they do it at home, in a closet, in a whisper, in the dark, and don't let anybody know about their "protest".

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