imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Berkeley's Free Speech Movement

by Stephen Lendman Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 at 11:30 PM
lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

freedom

Berkeley's Free Speech Movement

by Stephen Lendman

Free expression in all forms are fundamental in democratic societies.

All other freedoms are risked without free speech, a free press, freedom of thought, culture, intellectual inquiry, and right to challenge government authority peacefully.

In the 1960s, anti-war and civil rights activism inspired Berkeley's Free Speech Movement (FSM). It began in 1964. UC Berkeley students protested banned on-campus political activity.

They demanded free expression and academic freedom rights. Unprecedented student activism followed.

FSM was a student initiative. Faculty, administration and local government officials joined. UC students earlier protested House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC: 1947 - 1975) anti-communist witch hunts.

Berkeley's 1964 fall term included several dozen students returning from Mississippi's "Freedom Summer." Racially motivated discrimination and violence horrified them.

They bonded with other student activists. Berkeley's activist SLATE (1958 - 1966) was precursor to FSM. Civil rights and International Workers of the World (IWW) leaders supported it. So did Joan Baez and Bettina Aptheker. She later became UC Santa Cruz Feminist Studies Professor.

Activism is traditional at Berkeley. It began long before FSM. Iconoclasts and free-thinkers challenged hidebound societal notions and practices.

Muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens studied at Berkeley. So did novelist Frank Norris and Spanish Civil War Abraham Lincoln Brigade commander Robert Merriman.

In the early 1920s, faculty activists revolted. An Academic Senate followed. Shared governance at that time was unprecedented. The tradition lives.

Student groups since the 1930s protested against emerging fascism, banned leftist speakers, capital punishment, and a statewide UC loyalty oath.

In 1949, university regents approved it. It required faculty, staff and student employees to declare in writing no connection to the Communist Party.

Opposition arose. Regents relented. In 1952, California's Supreme Court sided with fired university employees for refusing to sign.

These and similar events were precursor to FSM. Activism is traditional at Berkeley. It's an idea whose time came long ago. More than ever it's needed across America to challenge fast eroding rights.

Ironically, 1960s Berkeley protests helped elect Ronald Reagan. In 1966, he became governor. He promised to "clean up" student unrest. In spring 1969, he sent National Guard troops and state police to People's Park.

On "bloody Thursday" May 15, a violent confrontation ensued. Many dozens were injured, some seriously. Reagan declared a state of emergency. Public anger arose.

Months later, Reagan defended his action. "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with," he said. "No more appeasement."

On May 4, 1970, the disease spread east. Ohio National Guard troops murdered four Kent State protesters. Nine others were seriously wounded.

Berkeley activism continues. Jewish/Palestinian issues are highlighted. On December 10, ACLU's Northern California affiliate wrote the US Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

It concerns a July 9, 2012 complaint filed by attorneys Joel H. Siegel and Neal M. Sher for UC grads Jessica Felber and Brian Maissy. In March 2011 they sued the university. They alleged a hostile Jewish student environment.

They claimed Palestine solidarity activism creates "a disturbing echo of incitement, intimidation, harassment and violence carried out under the Nazi regime and those of its allies in Europe against Jewish students and scholars….during the turbulent years leading up to and (during) the Holocaust."

Saying so exceeded reason and then some. It was way over the top. Northern California's US District Court agreed. In December, it dismissed the case. It ruled that:

"The administration has engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the opposing parties in an attempt to ensure that the rights of all persons are respected, and to minimize the potential for violence and unsafe conditions."

Felber and Maissy claims about Palestinian campus activism marginalizing Jewish rights don't wash. The ACLU got involved. It's concerned about First Amendment rights.

Its letter said the Northern California branch was involved "in a number of instances in which similar claims have arisen as a result of the activities of pro-Palestinian and/or pro-Israeli student groups on campus."

"It acknowledges that these can be hard cases, but warns that the present Complaint 'raises constitutional red flags.' " (It) consistently ignores 'paramount constitutional message(s).' "

The US Supreme Court ruled "the First Amendment (to mean) that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content."

Plaintiff claims were dismissed. The District Court said publicly expressed "political speech and expressive conduct" are constitutionally protected.

Dissatisfied, attorneys filed an OCR Complaint. Jewish student discriminatory harassment is reflected in activities like annual "Apartheid Week," they claimed.

Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Student Association organize mock checkpoints. They're erected to simulate occupation harshness.

The ACLU letter added:

"The allegations of this Title VI complaint reflect either a profound misunderstanding of the First Amendment, or an attempt to persuade the government to use its power to restrict speech based on its content and political viewpoint."

Title VI is codified in the 1964 Civil rights act. It assures nondiscrimination in federally assisted programs. Section 601 states:

"No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

In October, the Department of Education began investigating plaintiffs' complaint. It stressed that doing so "in no way implies that (it) made a determination with regard to its merits."

ACLU's main concern is for First Amendment rights. Compromising them would have a chilling effect on campus activism nationwide. Free expression would be threatened.

ACLU Northern California Legal Director Alan L. Schlosser wrote the letter. He said campus activism "convey(s) a political viewpoint about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza - that it is discriminatory against Palestinians, and that it is unjust, coercive, (and) oppressive."

Whatever views Felber and Maissy hold, First Amendment rights are inviolable.

"Speech that criticizes the State of Israel and its policies and actions, or even questions its right to exist as a Jewish State in the region, cannot constitute the basis for government restriction or regulation."

"Speech on public issues occupies the highest rung on the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection."

"The First Amendment protects speech, no matter now offensive or disturbing it is to some people."

"In fact, First Amendment protections are most important when speakers take controversial or unpopular positions that might arouse strong feelings, passions, and hostility."

"There are no sacred cows when it comes to the First Amendment's protection for political messages or viewpoints."

Activist speech in all forms is protected. Pro-Israeli activism may be as freely expressed as others do for Palestine. Constitutional law prohibits inhibiting either. Censorship in any form is abhorrent and illegal. Harsh criticism often is most important.

Voltaire defended it. "I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," he said.

In Texas v. Johnson (a 1989 flag burning case), Justice William Brennan wrote the majority opinion, saying:

"(I)f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable."

Former US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall said:

"Above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression (regardless of its) ideas.…subject matter (or) content….Our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship."

Freedom activists nationwide express similar sentiments. Free expression in all forms exceeds all other rights in importance.

The ACLU urged prompt Department of Education action. It said government scrutiny of student activism could compromise it.

It remains to be seen what follows. Police state repression targets fundamental freedoms. First Amendment rights may be compromised.

America stands a hair's breath from full-blown tyranny. On arrival it'll be wrapped in an American flag.

Doing so won't mitigate its harshness. In today's climate of permanent war, state-sponsored fear, and erosion of fundamental rights, expect recrimination against non-believers to follow.

Freedom in America hangs by a thread. Compromised First Amendment rights assures losing all others.

It may be nearer than most expect. The possibility should arouse mass activism to defend what's too important to lose.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

THE WHITE CITIZEN'S COUNCIL ... AKA KPFK AND FOLKS ON THE WESTSIDE J27 11:16PM

Hundreds March Long Beach to Compton to Protest Los Angeles Sheriff Murder of Noel Aguilar J27 11:14PM

Bernie Sanders at The 2016 Rose Bowl Parade J27 4:25PM

Bernie Sanders at The 2016 Rose Bowl Parade. J27 3:54PM

Vigil for O'Day, Helen, Barry, and Carol-Ann Short, killed by racist terrorists in Fontana J25 8:55PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Cartoons Worth a Thousand Words F06 2:01PM

Mortal Kombat X Free Koins F06 10:08AM

Make A Heaven of Hell F06 9:56AM

The world awakens F06 8:11AM

Our Very Own Age of Madness F05 10:05PM

Evidence of police state F05 4:48PM

America's Promise & The Reality F05 9:36AM

Paraphysique de l'autorité F04 11:10PM

The Shortwave Report 02/05/16 Listen Globally! F04 4:45PM

Sanders Coattails: Tim Canova FL23 F04 3:40PM

Overthrown USA Government F04 12:44PM

What's In Hot Dogs, Sausages, Cold Cuts? F03 7:39AM

LAS VIOLACIONES DE LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS EN LA ACTUALIDAD F03 6:52AM

Who is the Radical? Bernie Sanders F03 5:02AM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité F03 2:09AM

Congressional Hearing Examines Puerto Rico Debt Crisis F02 1:31PM

Partial List of Hazardous Waste Places by US States {The USA Atlas Doug Henwood] F02 9:47AM

In 2000, A Tornado Hit Ohio Factory Farm.. Hundreds Of Thousands Of Chickens Bulldozed F01 2:23PM

Some countries question participation in NATO F01 1:47PM

New Canadian government brings opportunity to address housing crisis F01 12:29PM

For US Citizens Article on Medicaid Enrollment 2016 F01 10:37AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J31 11:13PM

USA is ruled by insane sociopaths J31 9:15PM

Time To End Domination of National Elections By Small Rural State Primaries J31 10:03AM

Freedom J31 9:42AM

Mike Nichols, Genius, Comic, Courageous Greathearted Man J30 9:33AM

Egyptian Writer Given 3 Years Jail for Criticizing Egyptian Sheep Murder J30 9:03AM

Brain Disorders Chemical and Structural Differences that manifest in late teens or 20's J30 8:45AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy