In both the USM art-show controversy of a few years ago and this current situation, the police have attempted to prevent public events from taking place.
Do they have a legitimate role in the discussions surrounding these events? They have a role — they have their own forums and access to media outlets. I could be wrong on this, but didn’t they get an invite to the USM forum on the art-show cancellation and decline? Anyway, we usually allow extensive Q&A after I speak. The prosecutor and judge from the sedition trial were invited to the UMass gig. The police in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York have been hammering away at me in the media for the past two weeks or so. They don’t appear interested in discussion. They appear interested in silencing a voice that addresses issues like political prisoners in America.
Why is it important to you to continue speaking out on these issues?
Because I still feel deeply the injustices done to people every day, in the name of power and wealth. Some issues that I speak about — like political prisoners in America — are rarely spoken of by others. Oppressed people are usually marginalized by corporate media. The voiceless. The powers that be want to keep it that way — which is evident in the UMass controversy and police intimidation. I try to be principled in the way I live my life. It’s not all that complicated. My mind knows best what’s in my heart, and my heart says — despite the risks involved — speak out for justice and the affirmation of life in an era of darkness.
This situation brings to mind the controversy surrounding Barack Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers, which caused him problems during the campaign. What changes do you think need to happen so that people who were part of the radical undergrount movement in this country can have a legitimate place in ongoing dialogues without having their right of free speech trampled?
The people of this country need to pull back from the slippery slope of becoming a police state.
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