#Stop84 Protests Planned in Philly and Boston

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Activists in Philadelphia and Boston are organizing protests against state surveillance of the public on June 14. They encourage you to hold protests too.

Here is an article from activists in Philly:

As rare as they are, acts of heroism can fundamentally change the course of a nation’s history.  Whether it was a handful of colonial dissenters being massacred in Massachusetts, or a group of African American college students deciding to sit down at an all-white diner in North Carolina.  However, there are events in history that can lead a nation down a dark, secretive path, and the most recent event that comes to memory was September 11, 2001.

The attacks of September 11 not only started a United States led endless war in the Middle East, but with little dissent from members of Congress, it also erected one of the largest surveillance states our world has ever seen.  It spurred windfalls for military contractors, granted millions of Americans with jobs to spy on their fellow citizens, built fusion centers to monitor and crush dissent and built monolithic data mining centers that can collect enough information for the whole entire world’s population hundreds of years over.  Last week with the heroic acts of Edward Snowden releasing vital documents that gave us a glimpse into our security state, we were granted one of those rare opportunities to fundamentally change the course of American history.  No matter what your political ideologies are, there will be no room for peaceful protest with an all seeing, all spying security state.

The Venn diagram between leftist activists (progressives, anarchists, socialists and so on) and the conservative and libertarian right would be an extremely polarizing figure with very little overlap.  On the far left, you have groups advocating for spending on government programs, universal health care, jobs spending, a healthy public education system, a representative workforce, more gun control and so on.  On the far right the norms are exactly the opposite.  They want a smaller government, more market freedoms, less spending on education, less gun control and the list rolls on.  However, there some unifying issues where the circles on the diagram overlap.  This overlap would include legalizing gay marriage, legalizing marijuana and other drugs, and, one of the most important issues, the opposition to the security state the United States erected after September 11.

Within activist circles, the opposition of the security state is closely reaching its boiling point.  In April 2013,Tom Dispatch  reported that in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the United States government has spent over $791 billion on ‘Homeland Security,’ and when compared to how money the government spent on the New Deal (inflation adjusted), our government spent close to $300 billion more on the erection of our security state.  Then in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombings, Michael Isikoff reported that the Boston Police Department and the FBI, after the agency was warned about the Tsarnaev brothers, used their local fusion center to gather social media information on peaceful Occupy Boston protesters.  And finally this past week, lawyer, activist and journalist Glenn Greenwald began publishing a series of NSA documents that demonstrates the expansiveness of our national security apparatus.  The leaked NSA documents that Greenwald published included a FISA court order that forced Verizon to hand over metadata phone records, the release of ‘PRISM”, a top-secret online data mining program, which has garnered controversy in the blogosphere, and the release of “Boundless Informant,” a top secret program that maps out how much data the NSA collects over a given time period.

1prEven though Glenn Greenwald revealed on the Sunday morning talk shows and on his Twitter account that he is not finished releasing NSA documents, activists in Philadelphia and Boston are already planning demonstrations against these latest revelations.  The Philadelphia demonstration was thrown together by Stop ’84 organizer Dustin Slaughter who decided to plan a last minute demonstration at the Philadelphia FBI headquarters on Sunday June 9, and the Boston demonstration by #MassOps is planned for Friday June 14 at Dewey Square.

After yesterday’s demonstration, I had the chance to reach out to Dustin Slaughter, via email, to talk about the demonstration and the work he has been doing in Philadelphia covering the local expansion of the security state.    With yesterday’s demonstration planned on a whim, the crowd drew 15 people, who met at the First Amendment monument outside of Philadelphia’s Constitution Center.  Even though the crowd was small in numbers, it brought out a diverse group of people which included members from Occupy Philadelphia to conservative libertarians.  The protesters then marched with the Bradley Manning Pride activists and then proceeded to protest at the Philadelphia FBI headquarters.  When asked if there will be more demonstrations in the Philadelphia area, he believes that “[t]he Snowden leaks present not only an opportunity, but an obligation, to call the state out on oppressive surveillance.”

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Video of Philly Action: