Second Amendment fundamentalists push for open carrying of firearms in public, and armed gun nuts even attended one of President Obama’s rallies in Arizona. That was apparently just all right with the FBI.
But the peaceful protest movement, Occupy Wall Street, was treated by the FBI as a terrorist threat.
Democracy Now! reports:
The PATRIOT Act and similar legislation and policies have increasingly put any challenge to the status quo into the category of ‘terrorism.’ You wonder if a Civil Rights movement (which involved civil disobedience, i.e. law-breaking) would even be possible today. Militarized police would be charging African-Americans with terrorism and sending them to Guantanamo for sitting at lunch counters in ‘white’ establishments.
We need a First Amendment fundamentalism as assertive as the 2nd amendment commitments of the Right. The status quo has attempted to limit freedom of peaceable assembly (which is *not* confined to presenting petitions to the Federal government). One easy way to do that is to privatize all public spaces and then to declare peacefully assembling a form of trespassing.
The Supreme Court ruled [in De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353, 364 , 365 (1937) ] that the right of peaceable assembly is:
“cognate to those of free speech and free press and is equally fundamental. . . . [It] is one that cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all civil and political institutions–principles which the Fourteenth Amendment embodies in the general terms of its due process clause. . . . The holding of meetings for peaceable political action cannot be proscribed. Those who assist in the conduct of such meetings cannot be branded as criminals on that score. “
The court’s tying of the First Amendment and peaceable assembly to the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause removed restrictions placed on the right by previous rulings.
The Supreme Court ruling forbade Federal authorities to brand Occupy Wall Street members ‘as criminals” for the “holding of meetings for peaceable political action…”
Yet by involving counter-terrorism agents in their monitoring of OWS, that is precisely what the FBI did.
What amazes me is why Attorney-General Eric Holder is never held to account for this sort of thing.