Democratic National Convention to have Free Speech Zone

I learned of this from (of all places) the Daily Show. I knew that they usually yuck it up with comedic spin but that the essential story was usually true, so I checked it out. It wasn’t hard to find credible sources like the Boston Globe to confirm that, sure enough, protesters will be herded away, not just out of sight and mind, but into an area that looks like an internment camp. Just like the Kent State University parking lot, where four students were murdered and nine others injured, the area is bounded on three sides by edifices, and then sealed with a chain-link fence (what the Daily Show called “decorative steel lattice”). Even the Bl(a)ck Tea Society is up in arms over this, and is claiming that Boston has compiled a list of “troublemakers”. I would like to call upon all those Dopers who rightly condemned the Republican use of this tactic to condemn this one as well.

If they keep up with this kind of crap, I’m voting for Nader in protest.

And this is the fault of the DNC how, exactly?

Now the Boston police, who your cite coyly refers to as “convention organizers”, are apparently not on the best of terms with the DNC.

I condemn the idea of free speech zones and I think you’ll find a careful reading of my posts on the subject will reveal that my condemnation of them is omnidirectional and without regard to political party or affiliation. So I take it I pass your little fucking purity test.

Now what the fuck does the layout of Kent State’s parking lot have to do with anything? Are you suggesting somehow that the Massachusetts National Guard is going to be opening fire on the FSZ? Because that’s pretty fucking demented, even by your lunatic standards.

Those of you not familiar with Boston in general and the site of the DNC in particular may fail to grasp just how difficult it would be to accommodate the hordes of protesters headed our way, regardless of where any official protest sites might be located. The FleetCenter is surrounded by a jumble of narrow streets chockful of buildings, railroad lines, construction sites, and elevated light rail tracks. The only open space within yellshot is where the elevated expressway that was replaced by the Big Dig’s underground lanes has been cleared out, and the open area paved over.

You’d have to go, oh, a 10+ minute walk away to find any decent open space (at City Hall Plaza) that could begin to accommodate protesters readily. Boston Common has been the site of many large protests in the past, and could handle what’s coming at us, but it’s a brisk 15-20 minutes walk away. Directly in front of the FleetCenter? Leaving lanes for delegates, media, etc. to get in and out? There’s room for a few hundred, maybe a thousand if they jam in like sardines.

Crowd control is going to be a nightmare under the best of circumstances. The location of the protest site isn’t a matter of stifling dissent; it’s a matter of simple physical impossibility to host any huge demonstrations. I’m way more pissed at Mayor Menino for (a) not settling his city’s labor problems before going after the convention, and (b) siting it in the FleetCenter rather than in the city’s spanking new Convention Center, which has the room around it to accommodate large protests, and isn’t sitting smack dab athwart a major transportation hub.

“Numerous city playgrounds found to be bounded on three sides by edifices, and then sealed with a chain-link fence! Children highly likely to be gunned down while playing on swings! Raise your voices in protest!!!”

You’ll also notice that Lib has been very careful to avoid saying directly that the DNC is actually responsible for the creation of these “free speech zones.” He’s managed to leave the impression that they are, of course (“I would like to call upon all those Dopers who rightly condemned the Republican use of this tactic to condemn this one as well.”), but when confronted with the inevitable, “It’s the Boston police doing this, not the DNC,” he will respond with, “Now where, precisely, did I say that it was the DNC committing this outrage?”

This OP is almost decembrist.

I’d leave out the “almost”. I especially liked this bit of the OP:

Like the “Bl(a)ck Tea Society” was some group that everyone is familiar with and wouldn’t normally get involved in this sort of squabble. Now certainly I’d never heard of them, but it’s not hard to find out who they are:

So it’s apparently a bunch of Libertarian loonies, formed specificically to protest the DNC, and like wow. Even they are protesting.

There’s a class of scum on this board so low that you can’t even name them. Liberal is a member of that class.

I lived in Boston half my life, I’m a Democrat, and I must agree that there really ARE no spaces to protest around the Fleet Center. The cops are not being obstructive, the layout of the city is. I don’t envy the cops or Menino or the DNC in finding a solution to this.

The FSZs are clearly more like Guantanamo than Kent State. Get your analogies right, dude.

I agree that it’s reprehensible, if only for the Orwellian name, no matter who does it: Republicans, Democrats, police, Secret Service. Do I get some kind of Equanimity Prize for that, Lib, or were you pretty much just expecting that us hypocrite modern-day liberals would only see the absurdity in a ‘free speech zone’ if it were perpetrated by the other side?

A political party convention is a private event, not a public one. I can start my own “Cynic’s Party” right now and have a convention in my living room. That doesn’t mean I left to let a bunch of howling, jackass protestors into my house.

A presidential appearance is an official public appearance on the state dime. It’s different. There is no hypocrisy. Sorry.

I fail to see the connection. In honor of Jon Stewart, may I just say: uh-whuhhh?
Kent State University, 34 years on, and we’ve learned a lot. I wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it go:

Flex-cuffs and stun guns
and vulcanized bullets
with space-age materials,
they cage us like pullets
Free Speech is something I’ve heard of before
hope they don’t make me go protest no more…

Oh look, right on cue, it’s Desmostylus. With his bullhorn, why, he can play General Canterbury. Join the second verse, Desmo!

There’s nothing to see here,
so move right along now,
it’s for the right reasons,
these people must kowtow,
protestors make such a mess out of things
can’t wait to see what the RNC brings!

Let’s hear it, Hypocrats! I call for free-range Repugnicans, regardless of the venue. How 'bout you?

No, it’s not:


I see your “wow” and I raise you a “far out!”

Just gotta keep on truckin’. :wink:

If public money makes the difference, then sorry, there’s a big problem here. After all, the Democratic convention if funded in large part by over $14 million in federal monies.

This makes it not, strictly speaking, a private party, Diogenes, much as you might wish it so.

Beaten to the punch, I see.

Hee. Pretty funny that this post is right in the middle of a bunch of posts by prominent lefties on these boards doing just that. Excuses and assholes, people, excuses and assholes.

How did we manage to have conventions and speeches and such in the past without ‘Free Speech Zones’? What’s changed so that they are suddenly necessary, and it’s more important than at least the spirit of the 1st amendmant?

I’m with Gadarene, I don’t give a fuck who’s doing them, it’s morally wrong, even if it is somehow judged Constitutional.