Make Art, Not War

Friday, July 12, 2013

Stop NSA surveillance, stand with Edward Snowden!

My speech (from a while ago) at the protest outside the Hennepin county government center (aka People's Plaza)

Hello, my name is Misty Rowan.  I am a member of the Anti-War Committee and once upon a time I slept under the stars here at People’s Plaza with Occupy Wall Street. But today I am here as "your average citizen" and I am outraged by the recent discoveries about our government’s data collection program.

I am shocked by this discovery. And the only thing more appalling than the amount of data, and the scope of the surveillance is the response from the White House.  Instead of so much as fumbling through an apology, they’ve said it’s all routine stuff, nothing to worry about – no big deal.  Meanwhile, they are going to be hunting the person who told us down like a dog, prosecuting him to the fullest extent of the law.  And all of it will be kept quiet (as much as that’s still possible) as a matter of national security.

Well you know what?  Our 4th Amendment rights are a matter of national security, Mr. President.

I don’t feel safe in a country where the government is monitoring everything I say and do.  I refuse to accept this as the new terms and conditions of living in a nation that’s been ‘terrified’ for the last 12 years.  Enough is enough!

In the Anti-War Committee, we’ve known about the ugly turn this war on terror has taken for a few years now.  In 2010, the FBI raided our office and the homes of several of our members and others across the country, calling them to a Grand Jury in Chicago under investigation of 'material support for terrorism'. Because we organize to end this war based on lies, and carried out against the will of the American people. And the Occupy Wall Street movement also learned quickly of the conduct of these agencies and became all too familiar with snitches, infiltrators, wire-tapping and raids.

But this scandal goes beyond the routine repression of political movement.  What we are talking about is every single person, every single phone number, every transaction.  It’s as if the entire country, and in fact the world, is under investigation by the U.S. government.

People, you need to realize that this isn’t about 'the terrorists' anymore.  This is about you and me.  How your government is treating you and me – supposedly for our own good.

This is a wake up call. We need to realize that COINTELPRO is not a thing of the past.  It is not a history lesson learned!  What happened then, is that people found out about what was going on, and policy changed because people got upset.  The same thing has to happen here.

Now, the high tech gadgets of today’s information age may have changed the game, but what hasn’t changed is the expectation that in a free democracy our government should not be spying on us!  That without reasonable cause, a warrant signed by a judge, and proper oversight of these agencies – as spelled out for you by the 4th Amendment – that all of this surveillance is illegal!

It is time for people to be outraged.  To demand that the surveillance state end and the power our government has given itself to invade our privacy be reigned back in.  I agree with Edward Snowden when he said, “I don’t want to live in a country where this can happen.”  And I’d like to commend him for the action he’s taken to ignite a public discussion about our government’s dirty little secrets.  And Bradley Manning, as well, who is on trial right now for revealing the ugly truths about this ugly war.  He should be considered a hero instead he’s charged with “aiding the enemy.”

We need to demand transparency and accountability from our government.  The people who have lied –  and we have proof now that they’ve lied – should be fired and brought up on charges, not Snowden, and our rights – all of them – need to be restored!  That is the country I want to live it.  And it can only happen if we pressure Congress and the president to act within the law – not their secret court, special executive privilege law – the one laid out in the United States Constitution.  And we cannot rest until this happens!Our civil rights are under attack. What do we do?



Monday, July 8, 2013

Peacestock this weekend!

So here comes another important performance, and I thought I should share. I've been invited to do some poetry at a gathering called Peacestock that is held in Wisconsin every year. It's an all day event (a camp out, actually), the other speakers include Kathy Kelly, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, and William Blum. And it is going to be a lot of fun.

I'm excited about this event because for one thing: I don't really get out that much. Now granted, Hager City Wisconsin, is only a day trip away. But considering I don't drive and rarely even leave my city, it's far enough for me. It will be good for me to get outside of my norm, and it is a chance to share my poetry with a new (and just slightly broader audience).

But then at the same time, it is being put on by Vets for Peace, which is a group we work with a lot here in the Twin Cities. These are my people. So, it also has the feel of being a part of my community that I just haven't met yet. And plenty of people that I know will be going up there this weekend, in fact, my ride is going to be some good friends of mine. I feel weird inviting people to come to this performance, just because it is so far away. But I'm glad I've been asked to go, and I'm looking forward to seeing many of my friends who are going to be there.

Shortly after that is another event I am thrilled to be a part of, but more on that later. For now, Peacestock

Can't wait.