Bust of Zeus British Museum London
Responsibility and Respect
By Richard Girard
" Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have."
Saul Alinsky (1909--72), U.S. radical activist. Rules for Radicals, "Tactics" (1971).
" Power has only one duty--to secure the social welfare of the People."
Benjamin Disraeli (1804--81), English statesman, author. Sybil, Book 4, Chapter 14 (1845).
Professor Weston in my Constitutional Law class almost thirty years ago stated that one should always look at dissenting opinions to find the Supreme Court's future. His example was Justice Harlan's dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which stated that truly separate but equal facilities would not long be maintained by the majority for any minority.
Justice Thurgood Marshall's dissent in Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence (468 U.S. 288), regarding the First Amendment's provisions for Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Peaceably Assemble for Redress of Grievances, falls into this same category. His dissent, with which Justice William Brennan concurred, started as follows:
"The Court's disposition of this case is marked by two related failings. First, the majority is either unwilling or unable to take seriously the First Amendment claims advanced by respondents. Contrary to the impression given by the majority, respondents are not supplicants seeking to wheedle an undeserved favor from the Government. They are citizens raising issues of profound public importance who have properly turned to the courts for the vindication of their constitutional rights. Second, the majority misapplies the test for ascertaining whether a restraint on speech qualifies as a reasonable time, place, and manner regulation. In determining what constitutes a sustainable regulation, the majority fails to subject the alleged interests of the Government to the degree of scrutiny required to ensure that expressive activity protected by the First Amendment remains free of unnecessary limitations."
The determinant for governments on matters such as freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to demand redress of grievances, has regrettably always come down to a single, simple question: is it convenient for "the people who are in charge?"
The Occupy Movement is extremely inconvenient for the oligarchs of the One Percent, who have deluded themselves into believing that they are running things.
The U.S. Constitution is still in force, which means that "We the People" are still in charge, at least in theory.
We the People are aware of the attempts by the oligarch's lackeys to disenfranchise large portions of the electorate, including the elderly and minorities. This will not stand. We remind ourselves continuously of the words of Pastor Martin NiemÃ¶ller in Nazi Germany (in paraphrase):
"First they came for the Socialists and Communists, and I did nothing.
Then, they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not protest.