This post was originally published on Aug. 30, 2018 at Protect the Protest and is republished here with permission of the author.
For decades, powerful interests have attempted to intimidate and silence public watchdogs, journalists, and advocacy groups by filing meritless lawsuits. This repressive tactic — called “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” (SLAPPs) — is an abuse of the court system and a violation of the First Amendment rights of those who speak truth to power.
These suits are part of a global trend in which governments and corporations attempt to close civic space. Over the past decade, instances of activists being harassed, jailed, and even killed, have spiked. Legislatures are passing laws to criminalize protests. Journalists are being restricted in their ability to report on sensitive issues.
In response to the SLAPP threat, the Protect The Protest taskforce has formed to put an end to corporate attempts to weaponize litigation in the United States. Our task force includes experienced lawyers, journalists, communications professionals, and activists.
The threat we face is serious, and so are we. From now on, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.
We invite you, your organization, and your supporters to help us launch this new task force to protect our right — and yours — to speak out, criticize, and protest peacefully. Free speech, freedom of assembly, and peaceful dissent are fundamental pillars of democracy. Let’s stand together as one to expose courtroom bullying, and protect the right to boldly speak the truth.
Will you join us at one of our launch events, taking place around the country on September 5th?
New York City: Protect the Protest Campaign Launch & Rally
- When: September 5th, 2.00-3.00pm
- Where: Paramount Plaza, 1633 Broadway, New York
- Speakers: Activists from Greenpeace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, and others
- Bonus: Free T-shirts and stickers while supplies last!
Dallas: Find our roving message to Energy Transfer Partners
- When: From September 4th-6th a mobile billboard will display a message from our coalition to Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- Where: In front of ETP’s headquarters and other locations throughout Dallas – read the schedule here
- Bonus: The first 10 people to photograph the truck and @SLAPPtaskforce on Twitter or Facebook will win a free T-shirt!
San Francisco: Panel Discussion on Greenpeace’s boat the Arctic Sunrise
- When: September 5th, 4:00-5.30pm (boarding from 3.00pm)
- Where: Arctic Sunrise (Greenpeace ship), Pier 19, San Francisco, CA 94111
- Speakers: Activists and journalists from Mother Jones, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Wikimedia, Techdirt, and SLAPP survivors/activists from California
- Bonus: Free tours of the Arctic Sunrise will begin at 3:30 and there will be a reception with drinks and nibbles directly after the event!
Join us online:
- Stay updated by following us on Twitter at @SLAPPtaskforce and on the Protect the Protest facebook page.
- Join the conversation by using #ProtectTheProtest
- For more information about the coalition, visit www.protecttheprotest.org or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Banner image by Ragesoss [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Corporate_America_flag_-_September_15%2C_2007.jpg.