In the aftermath of 9/11, the government clamped down on dissenters of all kinds and increased surveillance of citizens in the name of protecting them from terrorism. Attorney-activists Ratner and Kunstler argue that we are paying a high price for protection against perceived terrorist threats. Americans exercising cherished rights of free speech and assembly now stand to find themselves investigated by the FBI and other government agencies. Ratner and Kunstler begin with a historical overview of times when the government curbed the First Amendment right to dissent in "emergency" situations, most recently with the Patriot Act. They offer detailed descriptions of the kinds of tactics used by federal law enforcement agents and how protest groups and individuals can protect themselves. They argue that since enactment of the Patriot Act, the FBI has morphed into a kind of political police, collecting information on protesters against everything from war to animal cruelty to environmental issues. Domestic dissent has come to be equated with terrorism to make it easier to curb protests. Compelling and useful reading for activists.
About the Author
The Center for Constitutional Rights is an organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Michael Ratner is an attorney and the board chair of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He is well known for his human rights activism and is the author of numerous books, including The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld (The New Press). He lives in New York City. Margaret Ratner Kunstler is an attorney in private practice. As education director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, she originated the Movement Support Network and authored If an Agent Knocks.” Kunstler is the President of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, a foundation established in 1995 in the memory of her late husband to combat racism in the criminal justice system. She lives in New York City.