My thoughts on disrupting someone else's assembly.

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Offline William Rausch

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My thoughts on disrupting someone else's assembly.
« on: October 09, 2008, 10:39:58 PM »
I cobbled this together from some posts in a debate (if you can call it that, considering the quality of some of the posts) on the "Obama Sheeple Cheer Police Violation of Free Speech" discussion section.  I put into a form which would make it acceptable as a document in a political party discussion bulletin (and why don't we have our own political party yet?).

Decorous Disruption

by William Rausch

If truth really is our only weapon, then we’d better set higher standards for ourselves than that set by the young man in the video at:  Most of the young man’s speech consisted of his assertions that he was being escorted off the property because of what he said, which was NOT true: he was escorted away for disrupting an assembly with a bullhorn, thus creating an issue under the well-recognized “Hostile Audience Veto” exception to the First Amendment. (Gregory v. City of Chicago, 394 U.S. 111 (1969) (Disorderly conduct convictions of demonstrators overturned for reasons that did not touch on the hostile audience veto issue.))  If the First Amendment protects us, it protects Senator Obama’s supporters as well, and, although their rhetoric probably is rather pointless, they have as much of a right to their rhetoric as we have to ours, as well as the right peaceably to assemble.  To the extent that we infringe those rights when exercised by others, WE become the tyrants.  The proper approach would have been for the young man to have ceased bullhorning when requested to do so by the officers.

Think about it.  If you and I were at a 9/11 Truth meetup where everyone was in agreement, and I kept shouting: “Investigate 9/11!” and “9/11 was an inside job!”, you would probably tell me to shut up or leave, even though you agreed with what I was saying.  (I once did observe an incident similar to this in another context.)  The point is that such behavior on my part would be disruptive, and would make it difficult for the meetup to accomplish anything.

I am NOT saying we should never “shout out” or disrupt an assembly, but simply that, when it becomes clear that violent disorder may break out, or when generally recognized authority LAWFULLY orders us to cease or desist (and doesn’t just whip out the Tasers), that, in most cases, we should cease and peacefully leave the venue, if only to keep ourselves from being identified as the oppressors of those seeking to exercise their own First Amendment right of free speech and peaceable assembly.  An excellent example of how to respect this fine line is given in one of the 9/11 truth videos I’ve seen, in which a young man, attending one of the Kean/Hamilton Commission hearings, shouts out his interest in hearing evidence concerning the wargames of 9/11.  When the chairwoman at the hearing requests that he be quiet or leave, the young man shouts (to the best of my memory): “This Commission is a farce! I will leave!”, and then does so.  Notice that he’s made his point effectively and memorably, without making himself more of an issue (in the public eye) than an incomplete investigation of an event which is continually invoked as a justification for chronic warfare abroad and dictatorship at home.

Sometimes more aggressive action is perfectly justified to confront total illegitimacy of an assembly or action, as long as the disrupters clearly have proper legal standing and superior legitimacy.  Such was the case at the Socialist National Convention in Chicago in 1919, prior to which the previous National Executive Committee, refusing to leave office and acting beyond its term, had expelled two-thirds of the party membership after realizing that a majority of radicals had been elected as delegates.  Under these circumstances, the duly elected (albeit illegally expelled) delegates were totally justified in bursting into the convention hall en masse for the purpose of forcibly taking over the proceedings.  But, even in this instance, as soon as the expelled delegates saw that they were outnumbered (and that the Executive had called in the police), they withdrew to another venue to hold their own rump convention, at which they founded the Communist Labor Party of America.  (These events are dramatized in the movie “Reds”.)

Besides shouting out, leafletting the bystanders at the fringes of an event is also perfectly legal and effective, as is leafletting the attendees as they arrive or depart.

My point is, let’s keep the issues as the issues, and not allow the enemy (or respectable opponents) to substitute our own conduct for the issues.

No. 6:  What do you want?

No. 2:  Information.  Information.  Information.

No. 6:  Well, you won't get it.

No. 2:  By hook or by crook, we will.