Recently, a group of civil liberties activists met at Los Angeles City Hall to protest drones, the surveillance state and the militarization of police.
The Aug. 21 event signified the beginning of the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign. The purpose of the new campaign is to ensure that a bold stance is taken against drones, and that the use of this dangerous technology does not become a threat to privacy in the greater Los Angeles area.
“We believe the acquisition of drones signify a giant step forward in the militarization of local law enforcement that is normalizing continued surveillance and violations of human rights of our communities,” coalition spokesman Hamid Kahn said as reported by CBS Los Angeles.
Khan also released a two-paged letter to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that read in part, “Drone surveillance equipment in the hands of LAPD will continue to unjustly profile the people of Los Angeles, create a culture of fear and suspicion, invade our privacy and criminalize innocent behavior.”
Rallies like the one scheduled by this group provide a great way for activists to raise awareness of Big Brother and the potential hazards that the surveillance state poses to ordinary Americans. It also jump-starts broader efforts. The Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign creates the blueprint for local communities to take action against drones, NSA spying and other abuses.
Local communities can cultivate leaders for freedom away from the toxic bureaucracies in Washington D.C. and state capitols. Forming a local activist group is a way to demonstrate solidarity and show strength in numbers behind a constitutionally-valid cause. It also builds coalitions at the local level that can then move on to impact policy at the state level. The old addage ‘all politics is local’ is true, but only if people are willing to do the work.