Friday, June 15, 2007

The New McCarthyism

Progressive editor details new McCarthyism
Dave Zweifel
6/11/2007 10:37 am

The Progressive's Matt Rothschild, heir to the editorship of "Fighting Bob" La Follette's magazine, has been collecting examples of Americans suffering the consequences of speaking their minds after Sept. 11, 2001.

He's reported on many of them in The Progressive and on the magazine's Web site under the apt headline "McCarthyism Watch," because that's exactly what so much of the infringements on civil rights are -- a reincarnation of Joe McCarthy's trashing of our Constitution.

Rothschild has now assembled 82 examples -- barely half of his collection -- in a new book that will hit bookstores in early July and should give all Americans pause on just where their country is headed.

Titled "You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression," the book tells the tales of American citizens suffering everything from the loss of their jobs to being subjected to investigations and hassling by federal, state and local officials, all because they dared criticize what their own government was doing -- a right we are supposedly guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

There's the woman in West Virginia who was visited by the Secret Service because of all the yard signs at her home that said things like "Mr. Bush, You're Fired" and "O, Evil Doers, Bush and Cheney Are Destroying America." Not only that, the mayor of the city tried to use a city ordinance to make her take the signs down.

Then there's the guy in Georgia who was ticketed by police because he had a bumper sticker on his car that read "I'm tired of all the BUSHIT."

Or, closer to home, the group in Milwaukee that was going to Washington, D.C., to take part in a protest against the School of the Americas and to learn how to lobby against U.S. aid for Colombia. Twenty of the 37 members of the Peace Action group were pulled aside and questioned by Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies. Before they were cleared, their plane had left.

And those are just mild examples.

Rothschild's book, published by the New Press, details many accounts of spying on U.S. citizens under the guise of the Patriot Act, employers who are sympathetic to George Bush firing employees who aren't, and people being escorted from political events or questioned by authorities because of a T-shirt they were wearing or a book they were carrying.

In short, as Howard Zinn says, this is a book about how the war in Iraq has also been a war on our liberties.

The back cover says it best: The stories in the book will surprise and enrage you. They show just how un-free -- and un-American -- this country has become.

The book will be released around July 4, but it can be ordered now at and other book outlets.

Dave Zweifel is editor of The Capital Times.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

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