Alert To All Georgians & States Nationwide!
Georgia state legislators are getting ready this week to attempt to criminalize our constitutional right to protest via the passage of Senate Bill 469.
If approved by the Georgia House and signed by the Governor, SB 469 would criminalize peaceful acts of protest, including public picketing related to labor disputes outside of any privately owned buildings. Individuals or union members or any individual employees who participate in such protests could be fined up to $1,000 a day, and organizations, which support such actions, could face penalties of up to $10,000 a day. Moreover, the bill adds a category of “conspiracy to commit criminal trespass,” which would make it a high and aggravated misdemeanor to plan acts of peaceful civil protest. The bill also includes provisions that weaken the power of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively with their employers by restricting the ability of workers to negotiate contracts with employers that provide for union dues and agency fees, therefore effectively de-funding Georgia’s unions and further penalizing their right to political and economic protest.
Occupy Atlanta, Georgia unions, and a broad coalition of other concerned Georgians will amass this coming Saturday March 17th at 11am at the Georgia State Capitol to take a stand against this villainous attack to our constitutional rights. We will bring our voices, our signs, our beliefs, and our democratic bodies and will peacefully assemble to STOP SB 469. We urge workers, people of faith, social justice advocates, people of all political backgrounds, and you to join us in protest and solidarity and call for this bill to be immediately rejected. This law is a corporate attempt to legalize the political and economic strangulation of the 99% and we cannot afford to ignore this unconstitutional attack.
SB 469 shares characteristics of model legislation crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (A.L.E.C.) an out-of-state, secretive, corporate-funded council of which member corporations actually help draft laws that are then presented to their lawmaker allies. The lead sponsor of the bill is Georgia state Senator Donald Balfour, a Waffle House vice-president who believes that working people who stand up for their rights are criminals who ought to be in prison. The timing of SB 469 also suspiciously coincides with the lay-off coalition protests that are on-going at AT&T Atlanta headquarters on West Peachtree Rd.
We all know that for years corporate money has been used to drown our votes and warp our democratic institutions. But now the powerful seek to suppress our presence in the streets. We are witnessing in real time how corporations seek to directly rule our society with the support of their fraternal lawmakers, a militarized police force, and the privatized prison industry complex that makes a profit with every new arrest. Allowing the political-corporate axis to get away with this will pave the way for additional repressive legislation to the point where corporations and their political stooges will “legally” squeeze away our rights to protest anything, anywhere, anytime. The criminalization of otherwise protected activities represents an assault on the nation’s ideals and our fundamental human and democratic rights. As Atlanta native, Martin Luther King, Jr. said on the night before he was killed, “The greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”
What kind of country do you want to live in? Does this fit your definition of the United States? How will this law affect the future of your children? Does it matter what political party or views you espouse? Should your right to protest be criminalized?
Fight back against the scandalous actions of this legislative session, which have also included legislated attacks on women, minorities, immigrants, the environment, the poor, and all Georgia taxpayers.
Stand up for your rights, or prepare to lose them.
What you can do
• Join us on Saturday March 17 at the Georgia Capital at 11am, ALL DAY. Bring your voice, your homemade signs, your friends and family and some cash to pay for parking.
• Spread this post by email and on your social media.
• Call Georgia representatives and tell them what you think of this law.
• If you have media contacts, please notify them.
• If you belong to a coalition, organization, or community group mobilize them to show up to the protest.
Occupations across the US, Stand With Us In Solidarity!
• This bill is part of a national strategy. Similar legislation could be coming to your state soon.
• Spread the word on your site and social media.
• Notify your local and national media contacts.
• Bring the heat on this law at the national level.
When: Saturday, March 17,11 am – 1 pm.
Where: Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington Street Southwest Atlanta, GA 30334
MARTA: Georgia State Station
Media Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Action Contact: email@example.com
Outreach Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org