In the Age of Terrorism, the United States has become a much more dangerous place--for activists and dissenters, whose First Amendment rights are all too frequently abridged by the government. In Hell No, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the country's leading public interest law organization, offers a timely report on government attacks on dissent and protest in the United States, along with a readable and essential guide for activists, teachers, grandmothers, and anyone else who wants to oppose government policies and actions. Hell No explores the current situation of attacks upon and criminalization of dissent and protest, from the surveillance of activists to the disruption of demonstrations, from the labeling of protestors as "terrorists," to the jailing of those the government claims are giving "material support" to its perceived enemies. Offering detailed, hands-on advice on everything from "Sneak and Peak" searches to "Can the Government Monitor My Text Messages?" and what to do "If an Agent Knocks," Hell No lays out several key responses that every person should know in order to protect themselves from government surveillance and interference with their rights. Beginning with a preface by Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a frequent legal commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR, Hell No also includes an introduction on the state of dissent today by CCR board chair Michael Ratner and Margaret Ratner Kunstler. Concluding with the controversial 2008 Mukasey FBI Guidelines, which currently regulate the government's domestic response to dissent, Hell No is an indispensable tool in the effort to give free speech and protest meaning in a post-9/11 world.
About the Author
The Center for Constitutional Rights is an organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Michael Ratner was an attorney and president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He was well known for his human rights activism and the author of numerous books, including The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld and Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in Twenty-First-Century America (co-authored with Margaret Ratner Kunstler), both published by The New Press. Margaret Ratner Kunstler is an attorney in private practice. As education director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, she originated the Movement Support Network and authored If an Agent Knocks. Kunstler is the President of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, a foundation established in 1995 in the memory of her late husband to combat racism in the criminal justice system. She lives in New York City.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the government clamped down on dissenters of all kinds and increased surveillance of citizens in the name of protecting them from terrorism. Attorney-activists Ratner and Kunstler argue that we are paying a high price for protection against perceived terrorist threats. Americans exercising cherished rights of free speech and assembly now stand to find themselves investigated by the FBI and other government agencies. Ratner and Kunstler begin with a historical overview of times when the government curbed the First Amendment right to dissent in "emergency" situations, most recently with the Patriot Act. They offer detailed descriptions of the kinds of tactics used by federal law enforcement agents and how protest groups and individuals can protect themselves. They argue that since enactment of the Patriot Act, the FBI has morphed into a kind of political police, collecting information on protesters against everything from war to animal cruelty to environmental issues. Domestic dissent has come to be equated with terrorism to make it easier to curb protests. Compelling and useful reading for activists.