Civil Rights

Free Speech on Ocean Front Walk?

By Bill Mitchell

‘Dissident speech’ is the revolutionary Right protected by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States.  It is not a permit to make a buck, but awaken public consciousness to the horrors of government abuse, criminality, duplicity, war crimes, and with the passage and signing NDAA into law by Barack Obama, this Right must be exercised adamantly, seriously, and loudly in public space to target audiences.

Venice has been a base for free-thinkers, radicals, and beatniks.  Among them was Lenny Bruce, who loved to leave Palm Springs for Venice after finishing working at a nightclub.  If one man is to be created for pushing the limits of Free Speech, it was Lenny Bruce, who said; “Take away the right to say “fuck” and you take away the right to say “fuck the government.”

And that is what is at issue.  Vendors are merchants, not revolutionaries, political activists or dissidents.  They have walled off Ocean Front Walk selling merchandise, not ideas.  They have monopolized Ocean Front Walk from Windward to Navy avenues.

There is no place to repeat what I did vociferously there from about 1985-1993.  There were at least twice as many public benches then too.  If there were a conspiracy against dissent political speech, it couldn’t have been as covertly and completely implemented.

But, there was no conspiracy, just apathy accented by lack of venue.  I think Hype Park podiums should be erected with clear space on either side to 20 feet.  Three locations that make sense would be at Ocean Front Walk and Horizon, Breeze, and Paloma.  Amplification to override ambient sounds to facilitate speakers and listeners alike.

This is an election year, political speech must trump mere entertainment and souvenirs on Ocean Front Walk.  From my perspective what we have is an infringement on Freedom of Speech and that is why I have taken it to level of Freedom of Press, to build upon Freedom of Assembly, and declaring ourselves the government of the United Stats, that is, ‘We, the people’ and proselytize for Pure Democracy to supplant the criminal plutocracy that has usurped and makes a sham of the whole political process and we better get into serious political dialog about it, and not be silenced by someone just out there to make a buck, and otherwise do not want to risk “making waves” and therefore are contrary to the Spirit of Venice I have known and loved since 1966.