1) To identify and rebut commonly-held American beliefs is key to spawning proactivity. Let's get to work with our pens and wake the sleeping giant by rebutting the assumption that "it will never happen here/to me/you" and "it is 'only' happening to protestors and journalists".
Let's please also rebut the belief that "protest is illegal" because it is by no coincidence that the freedom to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances, is the first amendment of the Constitution. Free speech is not accidentally also that first amendment right.
Those who say that Amy Goodman should have been arrested because she was covering violent protest, are mistaken. News journalists must publicize such things, especially if they involve illegal and immoral acts!
Time to get to work, folks. Use our pens! Educate, don't rant. Rants will be discredited, but facts will not. Off we go!
2) Educate the public and get involved in amending or overturning the Patriot Act.
Print and hand out copies of the Bill of Rights everywhere.To overturn or significantly amend the Patriot Act will be key to stopping civil liberties abuses by the police and FBI. Former FBI agent Ted Gunderson calls the Patriot Act “a giant step toward a police state”. The Patriot Act allows the FBI to unilaterally issue terrorist subpoenas called National Security Letters without warrant, oversight or probable cause; allows police and FBI to enter our homes without knocking; increases wiretapping of citizens; subjects library books we read to government scrutiny; imposes gag orders on National Security Letters receipients with a five-year jail sentence for the crime of disclosing that they received such a subpoena; and more…see the links below for more info.
According to former FBI agent and ACLU counsel Mike German, between 2003-2006 there were 200,000 such NSL's issued, 53% of them for Americans, with only one terrorist caught (in my best recollection, this was Al Zarqawi though there is a question mark in my mind about this).
Here is a link with the true story of an American who was served with a National Security Letter containing the unconstitutional gag orders:
To help disempower the Patriot Act and FBI/police powers, click on this link: Here you can get your community involved in passing resolutions against the Patriot Act, plus instructions for further proactivity:
My favorite written material about the Patriot Act is in the book titled “Liberty Under Attack”, with a chapter by law professor Stephen Schulhofer. Marvellous!
Brief the public in to Patriot Act Fact Sheets such as those here:
http://action.aclu.org/reformthepatriotact/whereitstands.html ACLU’s brief summary of Patriot Act key facts
The Center for Constitutional Rights argues in court about the Patriot Act: “…the government’s reliance on overbroad laws imposing guilt by association in the war on terrorism. Our clients sought only to support lawful and nonviolent activity, yet the Patriot Act provision draws no distinction whatsoever between expert” (legal) “advice in human rights, designed to deter violence, and expert” (legal) “advice on how to build a bomb. We think the Constitution demands that the law recognize the difference between furthering human rights and furthering violence.”