The Article 20 Network Welcomes Four New Board Members

Despite profound changes in the global political climate since we launched last October, the Article 20 Network has stayed focused on building a sustainable organization capable of defending the freedom of peaceful assembly for the long-term.

The problems we are tackling - the criminalization of protest, militarization of our police, violence against protesters - have been entrenched for time immemorial and can only be overcome by an enduring effort.

As we face this long game, the Article 20 Network is encouraged and pleased to introduce you to four new members of our Board of Directors. Our Directors play a critical role in shaping the future of our young organization: our strategy, long-term vision and sustainability for the long fight.

University of Wisconsin Regents Walked Away From the Challenge of Democracy

On October 6th, the University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents, mostly appointees of Governor Scott Walker, approved the ‘Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression’ policy. If a student is charged with “disorderly conduct” or “disruption of freedom of expression” two times, they will be suspended. Three times and they’ll be expelled.

Wisconsin campuses do not have a big enough problem - presumably protests drowning out other protests or speakers – to warrant this measure. The Regents, stewards of 26 institutions of higher education, are buying into a conservative fad and pandering to Governor Scott who can’t muster the energy to pass similar limitations in Madison.

Free Assembly on the Minnesota Governor’s Desk, and at a Crossroads

With the passage of an amended public safety bill last Monday, the Minnesota House of Representatives have thrust the Gopher State to the fore of a national pandemic of bills attacking our human right to freedom of peaceful assembly. By last count, Republicans in 19 states have proposed 28 anti-protest bills, some indemnifying motorists who strike protesters with their cars, others applying anti-racketeering laws to protest organizers.

In Minnesota, this charge has been lead by Representative Nick Zerwas of Elk River, who has fashioned himself an authority on how and where first amendment rights are “legal”. Due to the partisan recklessness of Rep. Zerwas and his colleagues in Saint Paul, Minnesota has the dubious distinction of pushing some of those 28 anti-protest bills farthest down the field. By vetoing these bills, Governor Mark Dayton can also stop this nationwide momentum against peaceful assembly.