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Est. April 5, 2002
Feb 18, 2021 - Issue 853
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Sweeping the country is a wave of legislation that puts a chill on the freedom to assemble and engage in direct action. This is the devilish handiwork of the American Legislative Exchange Council aka ALEC, the Boys in Blue aka law enforcement and corporate lobbyists. Repressive conditions are being created by systems of oppression and people are expected to suffer in silence.

State governments in 43 states have considered such laws and half of those have enacted some fashion of anti-protest laws to date. This includes typical kinds of protest tactics like trespassing and blocking streets or government buildings. Recent versions of proposed bills will allow police departments to sue if their budgets are cut - as in defund the police.

Make no mistake. These laws are not for the domestic terrorists who stormed and looted the nation’s Capitol on January 6. Naw, groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and QAnon don’t have to worry. This action clearly has Red Nations and Black Lives Matter written all over it.

We first started to see these anti-protest laws creep into legislatures after Standing Rock captured national attention. Thousands converged on the Sioux Tribe reservation to stop the North Dakota oil pipeline. And Black Lives Matter protests, they’ve been going non-stop since the Ferguson Uprising thanks to trigger-happy cops.

A number of injustices have been inflicted upon citizens and we should refuse to suffer in silence. The right to assemble is an organizing tool to give people direction. It’s also a valve that releases pent-up anger that oppressed people are forced to sit in daily.

The right to protest is both a constitutional and human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly addresses the issues of assembly, freedom of speech, and equal protection under the law. The country which beats its chest about being the beacon of democracy for the world continues to inch toward a police state.

It’s not always about trumpism when we have Democrats show up as co-conspirators to support racist, anti-democratic policies and laws. In Wisconsin, Democratic governor Tony Evers signed a law making it a felony to trespass on the private property of oil and energy corporations. The interests of the oil and energy industries are way more important than the lives of the people subjected to the land and water poisoned by these environmental destroyers.

Every state in the union is a target of the GOP strategy to silence and control the voices of resistance, especially those who are Black, Brown, and Red. What’s happening is no longer done under the cover of darkness, it’s in our face - begging for our collective, organized response. Well, it’s time to stop begging. Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and speaker. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle. Other writings by Ms. Rogers can be found on her blog Contact Ms. Rogers and BC.

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is published Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers