Right to Assembly

The city of New York has agreed to pay 2 million U.S. dollars to end a lawsuit filed by 53 New Yorkers who were arrested for blocking pedestrians in 2003 during a non-violent protest against the Iraq War. Also present at the time of the protest was the Republican Convention whose main agenda was trumpeting the falsified reasons behind an invasion of Iraq.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states that Congress shall not interfere with the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. That right however has been systematically undermined throughout the last 20 years. The arrest of persons protesting against the decision to invade Iraq, a decision that has as of 20 August 2008 cost the United States over 4,000 dead military personnel and over $500 billion dollars, is direct empirical evidence that the current administration holds no respect for the rights and liberties of Americans.

Only two persons were ultimately charged with a crime. In both cases the accused were found not guilty. Were the arrests merely an isolated incident of overzealous police, or an organized strike against those with the courage to speak up against our government and it’s reckless decisions by members present for the  Republican Convention? Dissenting voices have the power to motivate a populous and inspire citizens to demand change from it’s leadership.

The current administration and its power hungry, war mongering leadership has displayed its fascist tendencies throughout the last 8 years. An organized group of dissenting voices calling for accountability on the part of the government can be an especially dangerous opponent. An opponent made even more dangerous by the large amounts of mainstream media present for the Republican Convention.

It is time for the American public to rediscover their rights guaranteed to them by the constitution.  It is time for us to act as our founding fathers would expect us to when faced with a corrupt government.

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington