Civil rights and the community

An interesting article from the States regarding parades and civil rights.

Ed Quillen of the Denver Post argues that “The First Amendment to the federal Constitution protects the right to free speech. It does not say anything about content. It says, “Congress shall make no law,” not “Congress shall enjoy the power to prohibit hate speech, ban material deemed harmful to minors, suppress utterances that hurt people’s feelings … and this power may be delegated to college professors who can determine the allowable range of public expression.”

We have the right to march in parades to celebrate Martin Luther King or Nathan Bedford Forrest, to honor Sitting Bull or George Armstrong Custer, and we have the right to stand on the sidelines and heckle the paraders. The Denver Police were protecting those rights when they arrested those who were blocking the parade.”

Whilst in Scotland Sir John Orr has released his report on parades – which is seen as part of the Scottish Parliament`s clampdown on the large number of Orange parades in the west of Scotland. Several recent and upcoming Republican marches will also be effected. There is also the worry that these new regulations may stiffle democracy and protest from all sections of the community.

  • cg

    He fails to solve a very real problem

    What happens when two different sets of civil rights clash i.e. right to march v right to freedom from intimidation?

    It’s a complex issue that can’t be resolved with simplistic attitudes.

  • boabness

    the difference is the Republican marches that you refer to was full of people chanting IRA songs. they are an illegal group and should not be marching anywhere let alone scotland.
    the orange order is a religious group there is a difference i.e. murderers v good god fearing people. so how can you compere the two of them?

  • Mario

    I agree with most of the article. People should have a right to march under their constitutional provisions, however, as an American he again fails to point out Cristobal Colon’s genocidal past. ( His name was not Cristopher) I wonder if he would be just as eloquent in his defence if people marched for Stalin and Hitler. Cristobal didnt discover anything and the genocide of millions of Latin american indians is still viewed as trivial. He says in his article, Colombus was not saint , but he did accomplish something. Yes, the destruction of the americas and the death of millions by slavery, starbation, disease, burnings and murder. Can you imagine him saying, Hitler was no saint, but..

    After all to the millions and millions of indians who died in the Americas under Cristobal’s fanatics, Cristobal Colon does represent hate speech. Certainly in a lot of countries in South America you can see the conflicts that arise from the genocidal practices of the Castillians.

  • Vera

    Mario,
    Your point about about genocide of American Indians is well taken, and I think most people in the US are aware of these issues.

    “I wonder if he would be just as eloquent in his defence if people marched for Stalin and Hitler.”

    The thing is, I think he might be. I don’t know his mind, so I have no way of knowing if he’d be “as eloquent” but I have no doubt he would defend the rights of Nazis to have a parade. The do have that right, and the American Civil Liberties Union has defended their right to march and have rallies, no matter how offensive they may be. He even mentions the right of the KKK to demonstrate in the article.

    That said, in most cities you need a permit to have a parade, and the route has to be approved (mainly for traffic reasons, but there can be other reasons as well). They can’t keep you from having a parade, but they CAN place some restrictions on where and when you can march.

  • Alan2

    Who is responisble for taking such decisions in those cities?

  • James

    You usually apply to the police department but the ultimate responsibility rests with either the mayor or the city council, depending upon which form the local government takes.

  • Mario

    “and I think most people in the US are aware of these issues.”

    That would be news to the thousands of Lakotas who live in absolute squalor and African nations like conditions in the Northamerican lands of North and South Dakota.

    I did not say they did not have a right to march, as I pointed out in my post, what I said was that I doubt very much that this writer would defend them if the marchers were for Hitler And American Jewish groups attacked them.

    The genocides of Latin America was on a massive scale, unlike any the world has seen since, and I doubt that he would have defended them.