February 26, 2008

People’s Campaign for the Constitution

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee is a group founded in November, 2001 that works to protect (and restore) civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. They do a good job of tracking legislation that has civil rights implications, and also promote discussions and educational projects on a local level.

The thing I want to share is their People’s Campaign for the Constitution, which is an effort to make the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a central focus for civic activists (and voters) who are responding to threats to civil liberties posed by specific legislation or state actions. They view the election year as an ideal time to focus on the Bill of Rights in order to tackle a range of legislation rather than going at them one at a time. The link above has a nice chart that lays out the specific amendments to the constitution that are violated by recent state actions and anti-terrorism legislation.

Personally, I think our constitution is not ideal and is past time for a major revision; however, the political situation being what it it is, I think we need it badly and would probably like it better than the new one that politics would produce today in this country…

Thanks to Jim Kuhn for sharing information about the People’s Campaign for the Constitution with listservs today.

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2 Comments »

  1. I think I’ve got something right up your ally, after reading this post.

    I found your blog via Technorat’s Civil Liberties tag.

    I’m looking to find some other bloggers who would be interested in taking some collective action on the spy bills being negotiated in congress right now.

    If you’re not specifically familiar with what I’m talking about, you can see my latest post here: http://www.blackperspective.net/index.php/357/

    Part of what we need the house to do is to not wilt on the restore act which re-asserts constitutional protections that have been lost in all the spy legislation.

    I’m disappointed with the inattentiveness, despite my prodding, of the bloggers I usually coalesce with in regards to this most important of issues.

    The Media is barely giving this issue any coverage, and when they do, they’re just reading the white house’s press statements.

    I wanted to see if I could get some folks together for a mass blog action (and mass emailing) to raise awareness and get folks to contact House democrats to put some pressure on them to do the right thing for once, and stick to the party’s purported platform.

    If you’re interested in participating in something like this or know of individuals or groups I should contact about it, please comment to that

    Comment by Yobachi — February 26, 2008 @ 12:47 pm

  2. If I recall, didn’t a Civil Liberties group conduct an experiment in the 1950s by going around with copies of the Bill of Rights that just had the amendments themselves without a title to give away what it actually was, and seeking people’s signatures as if it were a political petition…and a large number of passersby refused to sign, many suspecting it to be “communist propoganda”, etc?

    Of course, many of these people in the McCarthy Era may not have even read the petition, and just assumed anyone seeking signatures for any kind of petition must ipso facto be a subversive and/or “communist”.

    I just hope they’re evenhanded/non-partisan and willing to go along with the original meaning of the 2nd Amendment, too, where it was understood that “a well-regulated militia” is defined as “consisting of the body of the people”–as earlier drafts of the amendment explicitly stated, later dropped for brevity’s sake as the founders assumed everyone would know what “a well-regulated militia” meant and didn’t need to elaborate further; i.e. that it’s an individual right like any other when “the people” are invoked in the Bill of Rights.

    Moreover, the erosions of our Constitutional liberties didn’t begin with the War on Terror ™; a big chunk of the damage was already done waging the so-called War on Drugs ™. The post 9/11 GWOT just exacerbated the erosion process several fold.

    Comment by JJR — February 26, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

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