The First Amendment protects Americans’ freedom of speech and assembly. Unfortunately, at various times in US history, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies have disregarded these protections, targeting people or groups based on political viewpoint, religious affiliation, or participation in lawful protests. The advent of the internet as the new “town square,” has opened a new front in the battle to protect free speech and assembly, and new technologies make it easier for the government to track our communications and movements both on and offline, inhibiting our willingness to dissent.
Undercover agents have infiltrated law-abiding activist groups, police have beaten and tear-gassed protesters at peaceful protests, and people are considered suspect merely because of their real or perceived Islamic faith. On the internet, police and intelligence agencies monitor social media and speech that should be protected by the First Amendment is considered evidence of “material support for terrorism.”
Dissent is being criminalized by DHS Terror Threat Assessments that name environmentalists, practicing Muslims or people with Ron Paul bumper stickers as potential terrorists, by legislation that conflates activism with terrorism (as in the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act), and by over-policing at protests and restrictive “free speech zones.”
Join us for a free webinar Wednesday March 14th from 7-8:30pm EST to learn about the scores of anti-protest bills that have been introduced in state legislatures this year, and find out how to fight them.
Call (202) 224-3121 to let Congress know: “I oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (HR 1697/S 720) because the First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.”
Portland residents have a chance to stand up for the right to boycott.
Take Action: Arizona HB2007 Will Impose Harsh Penalties on Even Peaceful, Lawful Protesters Who Wear Masks or Other Disguises/Costumes
The bill is a direct attack on the right to anonymous speech.
Defending Rights & Dissent Joins Civil Rights and Human Rights Groups in Opposing Missouri Anti-Boycott Bill
This law would penalize supporters of Palestinian human rights who boycott Israel by denying state contracts to companies and non-profits who support such boycotts. Such a move is blatantly unconstitutional.