Sunday, June 10, 2012

Civil liberties at Netroots Nation 2012

I just got back from the 2012 Netroots Nation convention. I hope to post more about it. But looking up some of the YouTube coverage, I found myself giving one summary in comments I left at YouTube on The Alyona Show's video here, Netroots Miss: Anybody Talking About Civil Liberties? 06/08/2012:

Here was my slightly edited response:

Alyona, I enjoy your show. But you missed some of the related panels:

"Erasing the Death Penalty in America" (Thurs)
"ALEC's Influence on State Legislatures" (Thurs)
"Sexual Freedom" (Thurs)
"Protecting Voting Rights in Communities of Color" (Thurs)
"Marriage Equality" (Thurs)
"Blogging for Transgender Equality" (Fri)
"Combatting Criminal Justice Violations" (Fri)
"Gun Politics After Trayvon and Tucson" (Fri)
"Big Decisions: A Discussion of Recent and Upcoming SCOTUS Cases" (Fri) which dealt with issues like rightwing challenges to the Voting Rights Act and the Court's rulings on desegregation
"Safeguarding Democracy: Innovations in Technology and Human Rights" (Sat)
"The War on Voting" (Sat)
"Worst Immigration Law in the United States" (Sat)
"COINTELPRO 2.0" (Sat), which included some pointed criticism of the Obama Admin.

There were also two general sessions that dealt with civil-liberties issues: "2012 and the War on (and for) Women" (Fri) and "Criminal Justice in America: How Race and Fear Undermine Our Communities and Our Movement" (Sat). I didn't attend all of them but it seemed to me that civil rights and civil liberties sessions were more prominent than at the 3 previous Netroots Nation events I've attended.

I didn't attend last year's event. But I was struck this year about how there seemed to be a general sentiment, which Van Jones captured well in his closing keynote on Saturday, that while progressives want to see Obama re-elected they are FAR more conscious than ever of the need to pressure him from the left starting now and continuing immediately after the election with the budget fight in December.

In fairness, she may be making a distinction between "civil rights" and "civil liberties", but obviously the two are closely related, even totally intertwined. And a lot of the topics like voting rights in the sessions mentioned above deal more with actions in the states being taken by Republicans. But issues from voting rights to criminal justice and spying on protesters were very much at the forefront at this convention.

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