A lot of these people that are upset in this country are upset with big government, and for a lot of the people, including these Tea Party people, they don’t like the PATRIOT ACT. There is a constituency out there that is not just on the left, but is also on the right and in the middle, that knows that this bill had some very serious problems. So, I am looking at organizing with people of all different backgrounds and political ideologies, to fight for the rights of perfectly innocent Americans, which are being violated and continue to be violated, by some of these provisions, even of the Obama administration
– Russ Feingold, interviewed by Glenn Greenwald on Salon
September 17 is Constitution Day. This year it’s in the wake of major court victories for marriage quality, right in the middle of the Bradley Manning Support Network’s International Days of Action, and next week we’re expecting votes on the DREAM Act and an attempt to break the McCain filibuster on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. There’s a lot to pay attention to here.
Let’s start with Bradley Manning, currently being held in Quantico. His alleged crime: whisteblowing by giving copies of Pentagon videos and documents to Wikileaks. It’s been described as the Pentagon Papers of our time, so I was delighted when Get FISA Right member Daniel Ellsberg highlighted the connections to the PATRIOT Act in a rousing talk at last night’s kickoff event in Oakland.
With events in 20 locations over the next few days, the Bradley Manning Support Network is a great example of a grassroots civil liberties campaign allying with peace organizations at the local and nation levels to mobilize people in real life. And with their use of Skype to involve organizers working from abroad, and video streaming on MichaelMoore.com, they’re doing a good job online too.
I’ve written before about the DREAM Activists and since then undocumented students’ creativity and courage with actions has continued to keep attention on the issue. Again, the key is a mix of a great online presence and “real life” actions — like risking deportation by protesting SB1070 in McCain’s office. They’ve got 24 actions over the next few days and have an act.ly campaign targeting on-the-fence Senator Lemieux. On Citizen Orange, @kyledeb highlights some quotes from Julia Preston’s analysis in the New York Times analysis and adds
All eyes are on the migrant youth movement.
For LGBTQ activism, Get Equal’s direct actions have cranked up the pressure in Washington, and the effort has become much more multi-partisan: both of the recent court victories have involved conservative lawyers advocating for equality. In the online world, the blogopshere has taken the lead, and has now got some dramatic reinforcement at the Video Music Awards and then on Twitter:
Note to self: next time there’s a debate on PATRIOT Act reauthorization, ask Lady Gaga to bring Get FISA Right members as dates … or at least tweet about it!
Back in 2009, in Neocon’s worst nightmare, I wrote about the alliance that emerged during change.org’s Ideas for Change in America Competition:
DREAM Activists and undocumented youth, the Stonewall 2.0 LGBTQ movement, Get FISA Right and civil libertarians, peace activists — together again for the first time, along with a demand for accountability for the last 8 years. Scary stuff.
From the civil liberties perspective, Shahid Buttar of Bill of Rights Defense Committee’s Restoring the Fourth Amendment: How We the People can Win Over Washington lays out the theory of change. Virtually ever peace activist, migrant rights activist, and LGBTQ activist understands how vile the PATRIOT Act is — and realize they’re potential targets. More positively, their networks are different than ours and especially if we combine it with social network activism we’ll be bringing new people in and creating a much more diverse community.
All the pieces are in place. Last fall we showed how a Twitter and Facebook campaign could involve new people, started making connections with the mom-o-sphere and black blogosphere, and lay the groundwork for the future of civil liberties. BORDC’s Local Civil Rights Restoration Act campaign expands on a strategy that was tested in the dark days of 2001-2002 by including protections against racial and ethnic profiling and immigration enforcement as well as government spying.. The dotRights campaign is starting to build significant online organizing capability….
And we’re all talking to each other.
Speaking of talking …
Happy Constitution Day! Now hit the phones.
* while getting censored by Facebook. Y’know speaking of opportunities for multi-partisan privacy and civil liberties activism campaigns, Facebook sure is painting a big target on themselves….