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 FSM@40: Free Speech
 in a Dangerous Time

Speeches from the Noon RALLY on Friday Oct. 8, 2004

More transcripts will be added as available.

Tony Serra's speech             Bob Kearney' speech

FSM@40 Noon Rally - End of Rally before Puppet shown
The Theatrical Element:

The speeches were written to be accompanied by a pageant involving a larger-than-life puppet created by David Solnit, one of the country's reigning political puppet-makers.

Attorney Tony Serra's speech sets up the broader history of the FSM and the new threats of the PATRIOT Act. ACLU spokesman Bob Kearney focuses on the specific threats posed by the Act and encourages the crowd to participate as an active agent in the climax of the "theater piece." Here's how it is supposed to play out.

While Tony Serra is speaking about the post-9/11 transformation of the US into an international law-breaker and a potentially totalitarian state, a large effigy will rise behind the speakers. It will be an image of the standing, hooded prisoner of Abu Ghraib, arms outstretched.

After Serra concludes his speech, he will introduce you as a representative of the ACLU.

Toward the end of the ACLU speech, there is a concluding section that quotes five of the Bill of Rights. This is where the theatrics begin and some timing is required.

After each Amendment is read, the speaker will ask the crowd to shout the word "Freedom!" At this cue, a portion of the canvas covering the large puppet of the hooded prisoner will be stripped away.

We will lead up to the First Amendment. When the First Amendment has been recited and the crowd has yelled "Freedom" the hood will be removed removed, revealing the face of the Statue of Liberty.

The loud speakers will begin playing a recording of Ray Charles' rendition of "America the Beautiful." The statue's arm will slowly begin to rise, lifting the Torch of Liberty above the heads of the crowd.


Tony Serra's Noon Rally Speech -- October 8, 2004

Tony Serra is a renowned criminal defense attorney and San Francisco counter-culture icon. For more than 40 years, he has dedicated his life to defending Americans against government oppression. His clients have included Hell's Angels, Black Panthers, and the Symbionese Liberation Army. He was part of the legal team that recently won a $4.4 million judgment against the government in the case of Judi Bari vs. the FBI. He is currently representing forest activists who have sued Humboldt County for police violence in the notorious "Pepper-spray Case."

What has become of our country? How has it come to pass that the land of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson has become the land of George Bush, Tom Ridge and John Ashcroft? How is it that our country has traveled from the majesty and idealism of Mt. Vernon and Monticello to the travesty and shame of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo?

Our country's wealth has been squandered on endless war. The United States has become the bane of the civilized world. Now, in the name of fighting "evil," this government is trying to strip away our basic freedoms, one by one.

[In the background, the ominous hooded effigy of the Abu Ghraib prisoner begins to slowly rise above the crowd]

Surreptitious investigations, warrantless searches, detention without bail or charges, racial and religious profiling, abandonment of jury trials, incarcerations without benefit of legal counsel and, yes, even torture.

In Humboldt County, police swabbed pepper spray directly onto the eyes of young, idealistic, nonviolent demonstrators! That is illegal! That is immoral! That is torture. And that is unacceptable!

I understand the need for law enforcement, but this is completely out of control. Instead of a "thin blue line," an expanding police state threatens to become a "thick blue wall" that suffocates our freedoms. The USA PATRIOT Act has not made us more secure. It has made us less free.

They still haven't captured Osama bin Laden. But they did manage to catch Cat Stevens. They haven't caught the guy who sent anthrax powder to the offices of leading Democrats. But they did manage to arrest 5,000 of our neighbors who were labeled "terrorist suspects," detained without probable cause, incarcerated without charges, and denied legal counsel. Notably, none of these arrests has resulted in a single conviction for terrorism. Meanwhile, the unresolved plight of these prisoners marks the annihilation of the very foundation of our judicial system.

Our Constitutional rights are the most precious gift that any society has ever bestowed on its citizens. But now we confront a threat from our very own leaders.

They want to conduct secret "sneak and peak" searches of our homes. They want to peer over our shoulders to monitor our reading, our writing, our time on the Internet. They want to turn Americans against one another, using the specter of "terrorism" to encourage citizens to fear their neighbors. This "spy culture" of "citizen informers" is stuff of totalitarianism.

The PATRIOT Act's definition of "domestic terrorism" includes any acts "intended to influence the government by intimidation or coercion" and that may prove "dangerous to human life." Under this definition, any individuals or groups that engage in acts of civil disobedience or nonviolent direct action could be labeled "terrorists." If Dr. Martin Luther King were leading sit-ins today, he could be labeled a "domestic terrorist."

Secret "no-fly lists" have been used to ground peace activists, members of the Green Party -- and Senator Ted Kennedy. When two middle-aged peace activists were detained at San Francisco International, the ACLU of Northern California sued to force the FBI to explain how many people are on this secret list, how you get on it, and how can you get off it. All they got back was hundreds of pages of blacked-out text.

Then there's the case of Richard Humphreys who made a joke in a South Dakota bar about "God speaking through a burning Bush." He was convicted of making threats against the president and sentenced to 37 months in prison.

We are now living in a totalitarian country. The Constitution burns as we lawyers sit on our hands in mute astonishment. We huddle like sheep before the slaughter. Is this what happened in 1939, when Hitler first ascended to power?

But our children -- on college campuses and on the streets of Washington, Paris, London and Madrid — are loud and angry. They are protesting the loss of civil liberties, protesting the rape of our planet's resources, protesting the Pentagon's unconscionable military devastations.

[Pause to invoke Mario Savio's famous opening phrase:]
"There is a time…."

Forty years ago, on this very spot, thousands of Berkeley students rose up against an "odious machine." A civil rights activist was arrested and hundreds of students surrounded the squad car. For 32 hours, that police car did not move. One after another, students climbed onto the roof of the captured car and spoke their minds. It was a magic and truly revolutionary moment. In one unplanned act of spontaneous moral courage, a group of individuals became a force of history. And in that moment, by their will and by their growing numbers, they transformed what had been an unchallenged symbol of state power into a public stage.

It was at great risk. Remember, this was not long after the time when Berkeley professors were required to sign Loyalty Oaths. This was during the panic of the Cold War, when dissidents -- including these Berkeley students -- were accused of being "Commie dupes."

But despite the slurs, beatings, detentions, threats of suspension, trials and jail terms, these students remained consistent in their principled belief that the US Constitution applied within the gates of America's great universities.

And, thanks to their generation, the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution are now honored on these grounds.

"There is a time…."

Once again it is time to join this march that our students and our children continue to lead. We all must become new Washingtons, Jeffersons, and Tom Paines -- The new Harriet Tubmans! Emma Goldmans! Barbara Lees!

It is time to come to confront false patriotism and rally to the defense of true liberty. We must not let the American Dream of freedom die. We must demand the abolition of the PATRIOT Act! We must "rage against the dying of the light!" We must denounce repression! And we must redouble our efforts to defend liberty, justice and the Bill of Rights!


[Intro to Bob Kearney]

One of the greatest defenders of the Bill of Rights is the American Civil Liberties Union. On September 29, a Federal Court upheld the ACLU's challenge to Section 505 of the PATRIOT Act. The court ruled that granting the government the right to spy on citizens' use of the Internet was a violation of the First and Fourth Amendments. This was the first ruling to strike down a provision of the PATRIOT Act!
It is now my pleasure to introduce Bob Kearney of the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.


Bob Kearney's Speech

It is worth noting that the bill passed in October of 2001 was not the bill that members of congress considered. The actual PATRIOT Act was switched in the middle of the night by Attorney General John Ashcroft, making it impossible for anyone to read it. Further, members of Congress were pressured to pass the government's version of the bill without question or debate.

In the months since the blind approval of this un-read law, a groundswell of opposition has swept across the nation. Forty-one states and hundreds of towns and cities -- with a combined population of 56 million Americans -- have passed resolutions opposing the act. The states of Alaska and Hawaii have passed explicit laws defying the PATRIOT Act.

What are the dangers that have prompted such an unprecedented rebellion? Let me review a short list of some of the more odious sections.

• Section 203(b) permits law enforcement to share phone and Internet intercepts with the CIA.

• Section 213. permits "Sneak and Peek" searches, expanding government's ability to search private property without notice.

• Section 215. compels third parties to turn over books, records, and document to the FBI.

• Section 206 extends roving wiretaps through a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court without a showing of probable cause.

• Section 358 puts the CIA back in the business of spying on Americans.

• Section 441 permits the Secretary of State to designate foreign and domestic groups "terrorist organizations." Section 441 could be applied to activist organizations like Greenpeace or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

• Sections 507 and 508 allow the government to obtain private educational records without judicial oversight and in the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing.

The PATRIOT Act defines "domestic terrorism" as: "Groups or individuals operating entirely inside the US, attempting to influence the US government or population to effect political or social change by engaging in criminal activity." Under this definition, Free Speech Movement participants could have been labeled "domestic terrorists" because they "seized" a police car and "trespassed" by staging a sit-in inside Sproul Hall.

Despite growing opposition, George W. Bush continues to defend the PATRIOT Act and even supports extending police powers through "PATRIOT Act II." This new act would create 15 new categories for the death penalty — one of which could be applied to acts of protest. Under this proposed law, anti-war protestors could be designated "terrorists," and targeted dissidents could be spied on, harassed, and imprisoned without trial. It would even permit the government to revoke an individual's citizenship!

Fortunately there is an antidote against the spreading virus of Big Government repression. It is enshrined in the first ten amendments to the US Constitution -- the core rules of law that define America as the Land of the Free.

The Bill of Rights still wields a powerful magic against the forces of darkness. These amendments still have the power to strip away the heavy cloth of government repression.

It is time to honor these amendments by publicly proclaiming our civil rights so loudly that our voices can be heard from the Faralones to the Potomac. Please join me now as we reaffirm the Bill of Rights.

[Speaker reads from the Bill of Rights]

The Eighth Amendment
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
[Look up at crown. Invite a call and response]: Yell "Freedom!"
[Crowd responds]: FREEDOM!
[And the first portion of the prisoner's robe is pulled away]

The Sixth Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
[Call and response]: Give me Freedom!
[Crowd: FREEDOM!]
[The second portion of the prisoner's robe is peeled away]

The Fifth Amendment
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
[Call and response]: Give us Freedom!
[Crowd]: FREEDOM!
[The third portion of the prisoner's robe is stripped away]

The Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
[Call and response]: Give us Freedom!
[Crowd]: FREEDOM!
[The hood over the prisoner's head is torn away, revealing the face of the Statue of Liberty. There is a gag over Liberty's mouth. It reads: "Homeland Security"]]

The First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
[Call and response]: Give us Freedom!
[Crowd]: FREEDOM!
[And finally, the tape across Liberty's mouth is removed.]

Thank you, and may our courage bless America!

[Ray Charles begins to sing: "America the Beautiful"}

[The Statue of Liberty stands fully revealed as the hand holding the Torch of Freedom slowly begins to rise toward the sky. Patriotic music begins and all join voices in a chorus of defiance and hope.]




(last updated 10/14/2004 11:41 PM EST)

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