Posts Tagged censorship

Labor Movement Champion Cesar Chavez Honored at the Department of Labor

From Fox News Latino:

¡Sí Se Puede! -Yes, We Can– echoed throughout the halls at the U.S. Department of Labor.  The standing-room only crowd, their applause, and chants of a simple mantra born of the farm worker strikes fifty years ago electrified the main auditorium as it was renamed the César E. Chavez Hall of Honor.

The co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and civil rights icon admitted that in his lifetime, he would likely not see a national union for these laborers.  And although this is one of the movement’s unfulfilled goals, the commemoration is at once an honor for Chávez’s work and should serve as an inspiration for the struggles ahead, such as more protections for field workers and comprehensive immigration reform which is stalled in Washington, says Paul Chávez, son of César and leader of the National Farm Workers Service Center. . .

Chávez’s teachings which mixed those of civil rights icons Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhihave inspired thousands to work to advance social justice and equality for all.  Still, members of the Chávez family acknowledge that this attention would have made the humble activist uncomfortable.  UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta reminded the audience that the best way to honor her colleague’s memory is by leading through his example of commitment and peaceful action.  “Leadership can be learned, not taught,” she said.
Read more here.

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Animal Rights Activists Challenging “Terrorism” Law

I didn’t even know there was a law called “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act” — did you? I’m tempted to check the legislative history on this one to find out what the rationale was to change the name from “Animal Enterprise Protection Act” to Terrorism Act. Anywho, here’s what’s going down…

From Mother Jones:

In 2006, Congress quietly passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a sweeping new law that classified many forms of animal rights campaigning as terrorism. Now the law’s critics have taken to the courts to try to kill it. In a case filed last week, five activists argue that AETA violates their rights by criminalizing constitutionally protected actions.

AETA . . . prohibits anything done “for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise” or that “causes the loss of any real or personal property.” . . . The law also prohibits “economic damage” to an enterprise, which includes loss of profits and pressure put on any investors or other companies that do business with the animal enterprise. . . .

Faced with the possibility of terrorism charges for engaging in many forms of protest, a number of activists have decided to curb their activity. . . .

One federal judge has already endorsed the idea that the government’s use of AETA has been too broad. In 2009, four protesters in California were charged under the law for allegedly chalking a sidewalk, handing out fliers, and engaging in protests at the homes of researchers that use animals. Ronald M. Whyte, a federal judge in California, threw out the charges, finding that they were too vague and included constitutionally protected actions. . . .

AETA was passed specifically to cover a broader range of groups and activities than its predecessor, says Will Potter, a reporter who has covered the attempts to classify various forms of activism as terrorism in his blog and book Green Is the New Red. “They’re really trying to scare the hell out of people,” he says.

Note that there are a few rules of construction provisions, including that the law shall not be construed “to prohibit any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibition by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

Read the rest of the article here.

I’m uncomfortable with the use of the word terrorism in connection with activism and the censorship implications of the law. What are your thoughts?

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