Chip Gibbons on FBI vs. 1st Amendment

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Still Spying on Dissent

Image: Defending Rights & Dissent

This week on CounterSpin: At a Sacramento rally in 2016, members of a white supremacist group called the Traditionalist Worker Party stabbed counter-protesters from the civil rights group By Any Means Necessary. The FBI responded by opening up a domestic terrorism investigation—into By Any Means Necessary. At first, the FBI misidentified the Traditionalist Worker Party as the Ku Klux Klan, and was going to investigate BAMN for conspiring to violate the rights of Klan members, in documents that described the Klan as consisting of people “that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda.”

That’s not just an interesting historical fact; it should be a reality check for those who currently imagine that the FBI can serve as some sort of check on Trump era white supremacy, or protect those who organize in opposition.

The ability of citizens to speak out against injustice is a living, vital tool; interference in political expression by the state cuts democracy off at the root. But that interference isn’t just in the form of pepper spray and cordoned off “speech zones” at big events. And not only is it not new, understanding its history is key to seeing how it works and how to curtail it.

We talk with journalist and researcher Chip Gibbons, policy director at Defending Rights & Dissent and author of the new report Still Spying on Dissent: The Enduring Problem of FBI First Amendment Abuse.

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Plus Janine Jackson takes a quick look at recent news, including the Iowa debate, CNN‘s union-busting and homelessness.

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» Chip Gibbons on FBI vs. 1st Amendment | CounterSpin | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2020/01/17/chip-gibbons-on-fbi-vs-1st-amendment/ | 2022-07-02T11:59:48+00:00
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