Free Speech and Assembly

June 11, 2020

Refusing to be Silenced: Protesting Anti-Protest Laws in the Midst of Global Protests

On Wednesday, a coalition of environmental and civil liberties groups – led by local activists from St. James Parish, Louisiana – held a press conference urging Governor John Bel Edwards to veto anti-protest legislation that recently passed overwhelmingly in the
June 11, 2020

Defending Rights & Dissent Joins Civil Liberties Group Urging Inspector General Investigation of Kenneth Marcys

Defending Rights & Dissent joined with eight other civil rights and civil liberties groups in urging the Department of Education Inspector General to review the actions of Kenneth Marcus. Marcus currently heads the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a position he previously held in the Bush administration. However, between his stints at the OCR, Marcus was a vociferous proponent of a number of schemes to deny supporters of Palestinian rights their First Amendment rights. This included encouraging the office he now heads to treat criticism of Israeli policies and support of Palestinian rights as violations of federal civil rights law. Complaints alleging just that were repeatedly rejected by the OCR. That is until Marcus came to head the office.
June 10, 2020

Race, Violence, and Political Illegitimacy

Perhaps it’s appropriate that with July 4th, the anniversary of America’s violent break from Britain, less than a month away, the issue of state-sponsored violence and reactions by citizens to it is, once again, front and center in our national
June 5, 2020

No One Expects the Third Amendment

It wasn’t long ago the president called for “liberating” states that had been on lockdown in response to the contagious coronavirus, encouraging people to exercise their First Amendment rights and push back against what he considered government overreach.  But now
June 4, 2020
Donald Trump

Trump’s Antifa Boogeyman

People angry at the sorry state of the world and looking to build a better one go out and protest. Yet, across the country when people gathered to protest police violence, they themselves were met with police violence. Donald Trump has responded with a seemingly never ending stream of inflammatory tweets. On Monday, in a demagogic speech, he openly spoke of using the military on US soil against US citizens.  How does Mr. Trump justify his actions? He’s decided to claim that what the nation is is seeing is preplanned, carefully orchestrated, professionally managed protests and violence. The instigator? Antifa.
June 1, 2020
People protesting

Defending Rights & Dissent Condemns Nationwide Violence Against Anti-Police Brutality Protests

Over the last several days, we have seen shocking images of police violence against protesters. We have heard politicians at all levels of government, and from both sides of the aisle, speak of “outside agitators,” an age old lie told to delegitimize social movements, downplay rightful anger, and greenlight repression. These are dark and trying times. But it is precisely because of dark and trying times that we at Defending Rights & Dissent fight for the right to protest and engage in collective action aimed at building a more just world. 
May 4, 2020

Protect Workers Who Blow The Whistle

Defending Rights & Dissent joined with  the Athena Coalition, Fight for the Future,  Free Press, Media Justice and dozens of other justice groups on this statement in support of warehouse and other lower-income workers blowing the whistle on unsafe working
April 21, 2020

The Right to Protest is Precious, Even During a Pandemic

Dissent and protest are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees freedoms of speech, assembly, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. These rights are fundamental to our democracy. They cannot be
April 13, 2020

10 Years After ‘Collateral Murder’ We’re Still Shooting The Messengers

On April 5, 2010 Wikileaks published a classified U.S. military video documenting the killing of 12 people in Baghdad that included a Reuters photojournalist and his driver.  Collateral Murder, as the video is known, contradicted the military’s official version of
January 17, 2020

Cotton, Cruz, and Braun Attempt to Weaponize DOJ Against Dissidents

We are deeply disturbed by a letter from the senators insinuating that the National Iranian American Council has dual loyalties, is somehow less American than other organizations in this space, and should be subject to a Justice Department investigation.
December 11, 2019

Defending Rights & Dissent Opposes Trump Executive Order Equating Support for Palestinian Rights with Anti-Semitic Discrimination

Anti-semitism is a real threat and should be opposed. Civil rights laws are an important and necessary tool in upholding the rights of all people. However, it is a distortion of civil rights to use federal civil rights law to silence political speech and advocacy for Palestinian human rights.
November 29, 2019
nighttime photo of police spraying water over protesters in sub-zero temps

We need a Human Rights and Democracy Act for the U.S., and a PROTECT Act for American Protesters

On Wednesday, Trump signed two bills meant to support the protest movement in Hong Kong. Would that domestic protest movements got a fraction of the love Capitol Hill and the White House are showering on those in Hong Kong.
October 31, 2019

Anti-Protest Bills Threaten First Amendment Rights in Wisconsin and Ohio

The extractive industry is afraid. Concern about climate chaos, and opposition to their pipelines and fracking is growing. Rather than address concerns about the environment, they want to make their critics shut up. So they lobby legislators to pass bills silence the opposition.
October 28, 2019

Victory! National Park Service Will Not Impose Onerous New Regulations on Protests on National Mall

Today, the National Park Service announced it will not adopt any of their proposed new regulations and restrictions on protests on the National Mall and the area around the White House.
October 25, 2019

Ohio Legislature Considers Bill to Muzzle Ohioans

Ohio's SB33 would dramatically increase penalties for peaceful protests and civil disobedience at pipeline and other so-called “critical infrastructure” sites, and impose HUGE fines on groups that support protests.
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