#ourcityourbudget! Free speech 1, repression 0.

We are building an #ourcityourbudget coalition. Organizations in Oakland that want the city budget to reflect the values and aspirations of the many rather than the fear and greed of the few are coming together to plot how we can combine our forces and reach our goal of 40K signatures by November. There are a multitude of ways folk are talking about contributing. If your organization would like to be a part of this historic campaign, let us know. Our first summit will be Thursday June 25, from 3 to 5pm.

Most places we gather signatures at respect our political free speech rights. At a few places we have faced harassment from managers and security and, in two or three cases, from police officers who do not understand that political free speech is protected under the constitution of the State of California: We have the right to petition at supermarkets and shopping centers and other such places. (cf. Pruneyard v. Robins, 1979 CA Supreme Court.)

Our rights as public citizens are not trumped by the dictates of private property.

On Monday I went to court to contest a misdemeanor citation I received from an OPD officer while petitioning at Grocery Outlet a month ago. I was buoyed by many messages of support and the presence of some supporters who were able to make the 9AM appearance. After some waiting in line, we found out that the DA’s office had chosen not to file the charges. This was a relief–no more time spent on court appearances!–but not a surprise, as the DA likely knows the law better than the police officer that cited me.

Shawn Norma Tim at courthouse

Such spurious citations are not simply about ignorance of the law. They are also a tool of intimidation and repression: if people do not have the knowledge or means to fight back against such manoeuvers, they can be cowed into obeying arbitrary orders of security and police officials, cowed into giving up their rights.

This is the culture of isolation and fear we must replace with the culture of participation and solidarity. The #peoplesbudget initiative isn’t just about we the people deciding the budget.

It’s about reclaiming our role as citizens, asserting the power of the community over the power of the corporatocracy.

On Monday, 6/29, in celebration of our victory in resisting repression and uplifting our rights, we will have a special street team at Grocery Outlet. We will peacefully gather signatures and see if the police again try to stop us. We will need witnesses with cameras, in addition to folk who want to gather with us.

Join us!

Here is how you can help:

  • Volunteer to help gather signatures. (A few hours per month, a few hours per week, a certain number of signatures from your friends and neighbors and coworkers, whatever you are willing to do will make a difference.)
  • Join one of our Street Teams.
  • Make a donation.
  • Invite us to speak at your community event or gathering.

Thanks for your support and for all you do to make a better world =)

Shawn and the CDP Team

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