juldea: (brights)
[personal profile] juldea
Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/19/naomi-wolf-arrest-occupy-wall-street

Relevant quote: Obviously if DHS now has powers to simply take over a New York City street because of an arrest for peaceable conduct by a middle-aged writer in an evening gown, we have entered a stage of the closing of America, which is a serious departure from our days as a free republic in which municipalities are governed by police forces.

on 19 Oct 2011 18:13 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] faerieboots.livejournal.com
The idea of using DHS to respond to *any* form of protest is (in my oh-so-humble opinion) completely deplorable. Also, thank you for posting this.

(Also also, I note that this was published in a British paper--does Naomi Wolf generally write for the Guardian?)

on 19 Oct 2011 20:17 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] usernamenumber.livejournal.com
Yeah, that freaks me out too, though I would point out that this information is at least second hand. I don't doubt that the street in question was cordoned off, but all we really know is that someone told Wolf's supporters who told Wolf that it was the work of DHS. Really wish I could find out more, since it's an important thing, but I'm not sure how... :\

I also really want to see that permit, as I too am surprised at the idea of a permit being issued to grant exclusive control of a public sidewalk, and there were mixed reports about whether it actually did so, or if the cops were (intentionally or otherwise) just in error. Do you know whether permits are public records? Or if not if they're FOIA-able?

That said, protesters have been restricted from coming within a certain distance of a place, and SCOTUS has upheld such restrictions (ditto the megaphone thing) in the past, but I only know of at least the distance thing happening by injunction after a disruption has occurred (based on some very limited research), and I'm not sure how much legal difference that makes vs the permit. I expect you might, though?
Edited on 19 Oct 2011 20:18 (UTC)

on 20 Oct 2011 02:50 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] faerieboots.livejournal.com
I'd have to research this more to be certain, but it would surprise me very much if something like a permit, which is a publicly-issued document, were not available under a FOIA request. You could probably send one to the city if you were really curious, but expect it to take some time. :)

There is quite an extensive body of case law regarding how place/time speech and assembly restrictions work, constitutionally speaking. I am not familiar enough with this particular body of law to feel comfortable making a judgment call, but certainly could point you in the right direction if you wanted to start digging. :)

(I'd offer to do the digging myself, since I do technically do that for a living, but with as much on my plate as I have right now it's just not a good idea; you'd be waiting a LONG time. :P )

on 19 Oct 2011 21:02 (UTC)
ext_104661: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] alexx-kay.livejournal.com
"The idea of using DHS to respond to *any* form of protest is (in my oh-so-humble opinion) completely deplorable."

I find your use of the word "*any*" to be hyperbolic. Arguably, the events of 9/11, to pick an example completely-not-at-random, were a form of protest.

If that sentence had included the word "nonviolent", I would wholeheartedly agree with it.

on 20 Oct 2011 02:37 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] faerieboots.livejournal.com
I think it is both disrespectful and problematic to compare the events of 9/11 to the peaceable (and, if this story is to be believed, legal) protest of American citizens.

Also, the Department of Homeland Security was created, in response to 9/11, for the purpose of governing "counterterrorism, immigration, and preparedness" according to their website.[1] It is not hyperbole to state that using DHS to respond to any form of civilian protest is inappropriate, because the Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the federal government, which means it is by definition an executive agency with very specific powers delegated to it. In this case, DHS has the power to prepare for, prevent, and respond to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism, and also to provide the services initially provided by INS (which is a separate conversation). To use DHS to respond to protest is tantamount to declaring protest a state of emergency--and while I suppose I could hypothetically construct a scenario wherein a protest constituted a form of emergency, it would certainly be an outlying scenario and, arguably, at that point no longer really a protest; it would be something else. My point was that use of DHS to deal with a protest, which is traditionally the purview of the police, is a misuse of the power delegated to the department, and also in my opinion flirts with using military force as a policing power, since some of the departments that were merged into DHS were from the Department of Defense originally and as I noted protest response is traditionally the purview of police departments.

[1] In fact, their website contains the tagline, "Preserving Our Freedoms, Protecting America." But I digress.[2]

[2] Yup, I put footnotes in this comment. Cause that's how I roll.

on 20 Oct 2011 14:07 (UTC)
ext_104661: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] alexx-kay.livejournal.com
We agree far more than we disagree[1]. Using the DHS is this situation is indeed "deplorable".

I am a nit-picker about the precise use of language, and the use of universal words like "any", especially when further intensified by asterisks, gets me reflexively to look for counter-examples. And, at least in the hypothetical, such counter-examples are easy to find.

The Political Right in the USA is extremely skilled in the art of technically-not-lying, where they make a statement that implies a falsehood, without coming right out and saying it. They are also skilled at the inverse: making an opponent's statement be perceived as a lie when it is perhaps only slightly hyperbolic in form and actually true in its essential meaning. Al Gore's relationship to the creation of the Internet is the most famous example, but there are plenty of others.

Because of this, I believe that is valuable, when making liberal political speech about the USA, to avoid the use of hyperbole. Doing so plays to the strengths of our enemies.

[1] Including an appreciation for footnotes.

on 19 Oct 2011 22:00 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] khyros.livejournal.com
signal boosted because this is SUCH bullshit.

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