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CUNY Protest Study Project
by Jody Ballew Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Students, faculty, and staff at CUNY Queens College studied the civil rights issues around the Pittsburgh G-20 International Summit and the Criminalization of Dissent. 30 minute video clips.

The attached URL is a link to the video for this event.

The Protest Study Project at CUNY Queens College had two events on the QC Campus to begin the discussion around Pittsburgh, Protest and the numerous challenges to Civil Rights stemming from those events in late September.

On 11/11, we screened the film "Battle in Seattle".

On 11/16, there was a succesful panel discussion. The panel brought together several articulate experts on issues of protest, the history of American protest, the legal landscape around protest, and civil rights.

Details regarding the panel are outlined below:

Justin Rogers-Cooper is a Writing Fellow at LaGuardia Community College, an adjunct faculty at Queens College and Skidmore College, and a Ph.D. Candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. Justin served as moderator during the panel.

The panel included four participants:

Jeffery Rothman represents James and Irina Weiss in their efforts to have their property returned that was taken in the raid in Queens on the home owned by Elliot Madison. He is also one of the lawyers (along with Martin Stolar and numerous others) pressing the civil rights litigation against the City and the NYPD stemming from the mass arrests made during the 2004 Republican National Convention, and can comment on general concerns surrounding the suppression of First Amendment activity in the context of demonstrations.

Martin Stolar represents Elliot Madison and Michael Wallschlager. Madison and Wallschlager were arrested in Pittsburgh on 9/24 and all charges against them were dropped last week, but a federal grand jury investigation is still pending. Martin can also provide legal perspective and experience on issues surrounding challenges to the First Ammendment stemming from demonstration and dissent.

Dr. Premilla Nadasen is an historian who writes and teaches about grassroots organizing and social protest. Her book Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the U,S. won the John Hope Franklin Prize. She is a regular contributor to the Progressive Media Project and has written for numerous journals and magazines. She currently works with Domestic Workers United, a domestic worker rights group here in NYC, and is writing a book on the history of domestic worker activism.

Among other issues, the one hour panel focused on these questions:
1) Why protest the G20?
2) Is protesting the G20, or protest in general, effective?
3) Why was the legal response to the Pittsburgh protest so extreme?
4) Is there a recent escalation of police and legal response to protest in America or are there historical precedents?
- Was there something unique about Pittsburgh that created this particular set of events?
5) Will protesters continue to organize against the G20/WTO/IMF/Davos despite harsh crackdowns?

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