US anti-free speech law developed in apartheid Courts

Decisions from the following cases tried in apartheid Southern Courts laid the legal precedence for the Bush-era development of restrictions on extra-corporate free speech in the US and its fellow neoliberal Anglo countries:

Edwards v. South Carolina
Brown v. Louisiana
Cox v. Louisiana
Adderley v. Florida

Previous court decisions had upheld free speech in public areas:
United States Supreme Court found in Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization (1939); Thornhill v. Alabama.

Today, the US courts only count “content” of extra-corporate speech as protected by law. The physical practice of political speech in physical space is no longer protected by Anglo law. Hence, the rise of “free speech cages” in the Bush era. These free speech cages were used extensively in the Presidential election of 2008, and are basic Secret Service policy.

Militarized US police forces have introduced “mobile” free speech cages, which is a legalistic way of saying that they trap and immobilize civilians who exercise civil liberties by protesting or marching. Other Anglo countries have begun to replicate this narrow (extra-corporate) American interpretation of free speech, including Canada, which will only allow political speech in designated cages during the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics and which is fighting environmental activism with terror law. By contrast, all corporate communications practices continue to be protected by Anglo-American Constitutional law as proper “free speech.”

A Free Speech Cage in the United States, 2008

Update: Canadian civil rights lawyer Amir Attaran recently suggested that people concerned about freedom of expression in Canada should take municipalities or provinces to court when the state makes known it will use its power to crush political activism and before the activism and arrests take place. Canadian law is not yet developed on how to approach time and place restrictions on freedom of expression, and people interested in preserving and expanding Enlightenment achievements would be smart to move now on helping to influence the formation of that body of law.

In contrast, US freedom of expression law is already extremely incoherent, and not salvageable, comments Attaran.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s