Among the Facebook accounts associated with the Occupy Ithaca movement, someone’s had it with the tactics of the government officials of Ithaca, New York. When the occupation of Ithaca began, city representatives persistently asked Occupy Ithaca to file for a permit in order to be able to stay in Dewitt Park. Just file the paperwork, the city said, and everything will be fine. After repeatedly insisting that they didn’t need a permit to exercise their constitutionally protected right to assemble and protest, finally Occupy Ithaca gave in and applied for a permit.
You can guess what happened next. The city government of Ithaca promptly denied the petition, on the basis of two points:
1) Occupy Ithaca didn’t file its petition before it started the occupation, and
2) Somebody else might want to go camping there, right now, in the middle of Ithaca, in Winter, and Occupy Ithaca is hogging the spot.
The arrests may begin tonight. Occupy Ithaca is asking people to turn out in solidarity and support.
But like I said, somebody active in the Facebook accounts for Occupy Ithaca has had it up to here with the bureaucratic file-this-paper-that-procedural-form-48B27-schedule-6 approach to stopping a political protest. So they’ve drawn up their own paperwork. It’s a Request for a Waiver of the Right to Assemble, just like the waiver forms cities have used across the country to trick occupations into evictions. But there’s one difference. In this case, it’s a Request for Waiver for the Government to fill out and turn in to you… and then you get to decide whether you’ll grant the waiver or not:
The text of the form reads:
Request for Waiver of Riqht to Assembly
The right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances is constitutionally guaranteed. Public servants are strongly encouraged to uphold this right in order to avoid plutocratic oligarchy.
Name of Official Requesting Waiver _____________________
Home Telephone Number _____________________
Cell Phone Number _____________________
Home Address _____________________
Citizens are requested to waive their right peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances for the following reasons (check all that apply):
___ Grass will need to be re-seeded.
___ Some people don’t like the way it looks.
___ Citizens lack requisite insurance for exercise of constitutional rights.
___ Constitutional curfew hours have expired. (If checked, please specify the hours during
the hours during which constitutional rights will be honored)
___ Political views expressed are inimical to those held by influential donors.
Have you requested that citizens waive their constitutional rights before?
Yes No If yes, when?
Signature of Official Requesting Waiver
Approved/Denied by Citizen on (date)
If you’d like a printable copy of the form to hand to a government official near you, here’s a PDF copy.