And … Occupy Minnesota’s signs are still there

November 5, 2011

New Occupy Minnesota signs were tacked to county property on Friday, the day they were to come down. (Photo by Steve Aggergaard)

Hours after Occupy Minnesota signs were supposed to come down pursuant to Hennepin County’s “winterization” policy, they were still there.  In fact, the banner pictured above appears to be a new sign, taped to county-owned light posts.

What gives?

The Uptake, a treasured citizen-journalism website, has a great video explaining what appears to have happened.  Apparently the county removed the signs Friday morning, which prompted Occupy adherents to put them back up, which resulted in security officials again taking them down and putting them in a pile. But seven or eight adherents locked arms and blocked access to the signs, which—according to the video—prompted security officials to confer with county board.  And …

There were no arrests.  And the signs went up.  And, as of last evening at least, they have stayed.

Pamphlets and signs are the purest form of protest media, and it will be interesting to see how the various First Amendment issues are resolved.  The Uptake’s video suggests the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is considering a “class-action lawsuit” on behalf of the adherents.  There’s no such mention on the ACLU’s website, so we’ll see how that shakes out.  Class actions are not easy to maintain, particularly on an “emergency” basis.

If there is legal action, a hurdle for Occupy might be who, exactly, has the legal right—the “standing”—to litigate the issue.  Ironically, if Occupy Minnesota were to incorporate as a nonprofit corporation, it would be a lot easier for Occupy as a corporate “person” to assert that its adherents’ constitutional rights are in jeopardy.

But of course, as the photo above demonstrates, corporate personhood tops the list of Occupy adherents’ concerns.  The opposition will make it more difficult for Occupy to go to court to obtain a “declaration” that the Hennepin County policy violates the First Amendment.  Rather, individual persons might need to actually be arrested and then argue, essentially from jail, that their individual arrests were unconstitutional.

Judging from Friday’s events, Occupy adherents appear poised to go that route if need be.


One Response to “And … Occupy Minnesota’s signs are still there”

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