Civil disobedience is in the air. It's also in a Governor's office in Talahassee, Florida, in a Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin and around a Post Office in Berkeley, California.
For three weeks now 'Dream Defenders' in Talahassee have conducted a sit-in in of Governor Rick Scott's Tallahassee office, demanding that he call a special session of the legislature to undo Florida's 'Stand Your Ground.' legislation.
Scott finally met with the occupiers, but, not surprising to any reader here, was completely deaf to their positions. Declaring his unwavering support for providing everyone in Florida with the equivalent of a 007 ID, he told them he had no intention of calling the legislature into session now or at any time in the future, nor sees any reason to change the law.
Hierro said the Dream Defenders are not going anywhere, even if that means maintaining their protests at the governor's office until March 2014 - Florida's next regularly scheduled legislative session.For many, many months the Solidarity Singers have been protesting in Wisconsin's Capitol building against Scott Walker and his minions, harassed by Capitol police under his Executive authority. Two weeks ago they started arresting the singers en masse -- over a hundred have been arrested in the last fourteen days, claiming that the singers needed a permit to stand and sing based on a recent court decision. (See, e.g. diaries by Noise of Rain and Giles Goat Boy, among others).
"Our goal is to put pressure on. We are going to be here until they come to the table with something."
Not content, however, just to harass the singers, Capitol Police have turned their attention to visitors and... legislators !
State Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Middleton) was threatened with arrest Tuesday for watching the Solidarity Sing Along from the floor above the noontime protest...As one - non legislator - protester put it
Nelson said she had stopped to observe the sing-along after leaving a meeting at the Capitol.
"I was told (by a Capitol Police officer) that if I didn't move I was subject to arrest," said Nelson. "They were also telling tourists that."
... Pope said she didn't say anything to the Capitol Police officer who threatened her with arrest, but she did leave her spot by the banister. "As a legislator I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I think what the police are doing is unconstitutional. How can you arrest me for observing?
"I have a duty to observe what is happening to my constituents who are expressing their discontent," Pope added. "How can I be arrested for that?"
A lot of people keep asking, you know, why don't you just get a permit? And the only issue is we're protesting our government. You know, we're not, like, here to have a wedding. Like, I understand if you have to reserve the space for a wedding. A lot of people get married here. That makes sense to reserve the space through a permit. We're here to voice our opposition to the current administration. So why would we have to ask them for permission to protest them? It doesn't make any sense.Scott Walker, needless to say, isn't listening, symbolically to the singers, or more concretely to the people being run over by his policies.
This also isn't an official organization. It's a bunch of individuals that just come here over the noon hour. A lot of them come on their lunch break. So there is no official organization that can take out the permit. It's all individuals who choose to come here on any given day.
So I think it is our First Amendment right to come here and, you know, voice our opinions.
For almost two weeks now, the Berkeley Post Office has been Occupied by a band of protesters organized by Save the Berkeley Post Office and Strike Debt Bay Area (web and Facebook). On Saturday, July 27th, after a birthday party for the Post Office (some 239 years old, created by the Continental Congress in 1775), a rally, and a sing-a-long, tents went up around the perimeter of the Post Office, symbolizing and actualizing protesters' resolve to defend the Berkeley Post Office and the Post Office system in general from the scourge of privatization. (For background on the controvery see Killing the Post Office on the Altar of Privatization).
Our 'In-Tents' Effort To Save the Berkeley Post Office
While the Postal Police (yes, there is such an entity!) have been prowling around the building for a while now and telling people they have to leave, they have taken no actions so far and thus the occupation continues.
None of these protests are related, per se, to the others. Most of the protesters in one probably don't even know the of the other civil disobedience actions. But they all have very much in common: a realization that reasonableness and fairness, process and procedure, are not working. To be blunt: no one is listening.
(Mainly white) Floridians basically have a license to kill (young black males). The Governor nor the Legislature care.
Scott Walker has not listened to anyone but the Koch brothers and ALEC since he took office, to the point that he condones the arresting of protesters who do nothing more than stand in the most public of public places and sing.
And Post Office Poohbahs, whether motivated by greed, ambition, Ayn Rand or a fanatical devotion to Richard Blum (on the Board of CBOE, the largest commericial real estate firm in the country, which has the contract to sell off Post Office property across the USA), refuse to listen to anyone - not the people of Berkeley, not their City Council or Mayor, not their state Representatives nor the entire California State Legislature, and not Barbara Lee, Berkeley's US Representative. Ordering the sale despite massive and almost unanimous public comment against it, then denying an appeal, demonstrates the sham process by which decisions about public goods are made without regard to the public.
Maybe it's time to sing a little louder.