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Comments made by Dialectrician

Federal Judge To Hear Occupy San Diego Suit

@Satariel, please read about Hoovervilles (helpful link: ), in answer to your question "Since when did protesting mean setting up filthy camps and sleeping somewhere?" There is a strong historical precedent, which the Occupy movement emulates. And I'm sure you'd rather see vinyl dome-tents than shanties built of cardboard and rubble.

In response to your statement "If they want to protest they can do so legally." -- Might I suggest that this is precisely why a judge is "wasting time" on this matter, though apparently you don't want that to happen either. There is a legitimate cause to question what constitutes the freedom of speech, and now both sides will have the opportunity to argue that case. Also important, however, is the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. "Occupy" is all of the above, and it is all covered in the same First Amendment.

On the issue of whether "the constitution protects our right to protest in whatever manner we deem to be a protest", again, you don't have the weight of precedent behind you here. The Supreme Court has generally favored an interpretation of the First Amendment that permits anything that is not otherwise dangerous or harmful to others or to property, and does not deny others their rights. There is a well known statement that the freedom of speech does not make you free to "shout 'fire' in a crowded movie theater", which is to say, you can't exercise speech that poses a direct and immediate threat to the lives or rights of others. So the current legal challenge essentially asks for the "Occupy" actions to be upheld as legal in that context. I personally hope they prevail, because I see limitations on speech and demonstration, which otherwise cause no harm, to be inherently dangerous to our society and civil liberties.

The simple fact is that "Occupy" do no harm, or at least nothing significant enough to warrant denying them an inalienable right. Their presence might be an eyesore to you, and might frustrate you, and that *is* one of the messages they are trying to send. They are frustrated, and given the current socio-political climate they have a vastly diminished role in the social dialog, compared to the "1%" they're challenging, who can afford to spend profligately to influence media. The "99%ers" don't have money, and can't buy media or political access, but they can put their "bodies on the gears", as Mario Savio described this kind of protest at UC Berkely back in 1964. (Helpful link: )

Thanks for participating in the dialog. I hope you'll see that that is what "Occupy" are doing, also.

November 23, 2011 at 3:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )