Published time: July 03, 2013 14:43

Thousands of websites will launch a July 4 online protest against the NSA surveillance programs. Reddit, WordPress, and Mozilla will take part in the ‘Restore the Fourth’ campaign online, while live protests take place in cities across the US.

‘Restore the Fourth’ is aimed at restoring the fundamentals of the Fourth Amendment – the part of the Bill of Rights which protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures. Participants will display an online banner which reads, “This 4th of July, we stand by the 4th Amendment and against the U.S. government’s surveillance of internet users.”

The campaign, which was spawned on Reddit, has the support of several privacy and press freedom advocacy organizations, including Mozilla, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and ColorOfChange.org.

The rally was largely organized by Fight for the Future – another non-profit agency which fights against internet censorship. The organization’s co-founder, Tiffiniy Cheng, said in a statement that “the NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech and freedom of press worldwide.” The rally is expected to be Fight for the Future’s largest online mobilization since its actions against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

But the protest doesn’t stop online. Organizers are planning live protests in dozens of US cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta. Doug MacArthur, a member of Restore the Fourth’s national board and moderator on Reddit’s r/news, expects between 10,000 and 20,000 people to take part in the protests in the nation’s larger cities.

MacArthur stressed the need for the protest, largely because mainstream media is failing to adequately cover the NSA leaks and what that means for everyday citizens.

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Uncelebrating the Fourth

 

by Harry Browne, Originally written July 2003

 

Unfortunately, July 4th has become a day of deceit.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared its independence from Great Britain. Thirteen years later, after a difficult war to secure that independence, the new country was open for business.

It was truly unique – the first nation in all of history in which the individual was considered more important than the government, and the government was tied down by a written Constitution.

It was the one nation where you could live your life secure in the knowledge that no one would ask for your papers, where you weren’t identified by a number, and where the government wouldn’t extort a percentage of your income as the price of holding a job.

And so each year July 4th has been a commemoration of the freest country in history.

False Celebration

But the America that’s celebrated no longer exists.

The holiday oratory deceitfully describes America as though it were the unique land of liberty that once was. Politicians thank the Almighty for conferring the blessings of liberty on a country that no longer enjoys those blessings. The original freedom and security have disappeared, even though the oratory lingers on.

What made America unique is now gone, and we are much the same as Germany, France, England, or Spain, with:

  • confiscatory taxes,
  • a Constitution and Bill of Rights that are symbolic only – merely documents used to justify governmental actions that are in fact prohibited by those documents,
  • business regulated by the state in the most minute detail,
  • no limits on what Congress or the President might decide to do.

Yes, there are some freedoms left, but nothing like the America that was and nothing that you can’t find in a few dozen other countries.

The Empire

Gone, too, is the sense of peace and security that once reigned throughout the land. America, bound by two huge oceans and two friendly neighbors – was subject to none of the never-ending wars and destruction that plagued Europe and Asia.

Now, however, everyone’s business is America’s business. Our Presidents consider themselves the rulers of the world – deciding who may govern any country on earth and sending Americans to die enforcing those decisions.

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