Blogs > Liberty and Power > Only Places Have Rights?

Mar 4, 2013 3:16 pm


Only Places Have Rights?



A new article of mine entitled "Only Places Have Rights?" has just been posted at the Daily Anarchist. You are most cordially invited to leave comments or questions at the end of the article. I will answer as time permits. Click here to access.

Excerpt: Geography is a peculiar way to think about rights. But the rights that people can exercise are being increasingly defined by the square foot of earth they happen to stand on. These ‘rights’ can change in the course of a two-minute walk. I am not referring to the fact that various nations recognize rights in widely different ways. Nor do I refer to the rules of conduct laid down by property owners for anyone who wants to enter their homes or businesses. I mean the steady curtailing of the legal and Constitutionally-protected rights that peaceful people are allowed to exercise in public places. From free-speech zones at universities to the “cages” into which protesters are frequently forced, the ability to exercise fundamental rights in public places (and sometimes private ones) is being narrowed down geographically.

Britain seems to be leading the way for America. On September 11, 2012, the UK-based Spiked magazine published an article entitled “The unfree streets of London.” The subtitle: “A shocking new Google Map shows the bits of London where you can become a criminal without even realising it.” The map indicated 435 zones that cover approximately half of the city. In walking from one street to the next, the zone can change without warning; a person can then be fined or arrested for an activity that was legal a moment before. The unfree zones include: dog-exclusion, alcohol-confiscation, no-leafletting, dispersal, and restricted protest. Click here to access. 

For more commentary, visit www.wendymcelroy.com


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