Despite the fact that Snowden did not necessarily receive a great reception from the box office, that hasn’t stopped clever activists from capitalizing on the hoopla from the epic film. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has spearheaded a coalition to honor Snowden’s heroic sacrifice to work locally to stifle Big Brother.
“As part of the Community Control Over Police Surveillance (CCOPS) initiative, today local government officials in 11 cities announced plans to launch legislative efforts to pass ordinances that will take the first step toward limiting the unchecked use of surveillance technologies that violate basic privacy rights and feed into a broader national surveillance state. This proposed legislation requires law enforcement agencies to get the approval from their local governing body before obtaining equipment such as stingray devices, automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) and other surveillance technology.
The cities in this first wave announcing legislative efforts include New York, N.Y.; Washington D.C.; Richmond, Virginia; Miami Beach and Pensacola, Fla; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Muskegon, Mich.; Madison and Milwaukee, Wisc.; Seattle, Wash.; and Palo Alto, Calif. More cities will join the initiative in the weeks ahead…
A wide range of organizations spanning the political spectrum have come together to support this effort, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation, Campaign Zero, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Fight for the Future, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Restore the Fourth, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and the Tenth Amendment Center.”
Undoubtedly, this has been a tough year for libertarians in the political realm. Right now, we are looking for ways to remain relevant and grow the cause without jettisoning our principles. I believe that this coalition gives us the perfect opportunity to do just that! The ACLU has been getting more hardcore over the years against surveillance, and this may be their best initiative yet.
As you can probably tell, most of the groups on the coalition list are leftist or quasi-libertarian, at best. Sadly, the conservative groups are lagging behind the left on this key issue. Nevertheless, libertarians should not feel nervous about rubbing elbows with Commies because the coalition is limited. This campaign is centered solely around protecting privacy rights and stopping Big Brother.
What is also very encouraging about this project is that it is community-driven. #TakeCTRL is not waiting for the bureaucrats to save the day, it is empowering people to become leaders themselves. Rep. Tip O’Neill said that “all politics is local” and that maxim is certainly true for libertarians. We are not going to have a lot of top-down support. Corporate money usually finds itself in the hands of statists, giving us institutional obstacles that are difficult to overcome. The only way to overcome these disadvantages is through grassroots action, which can, in turn, grow our ranks.
Instead of wasting time and resources on GOP politicians who always seem to disappoint, or LP politicians who disgrace the cause with gaffe after gaffe, libertarian activists would be better served to hunker down and focus locally. That is what #TakeCTRL is doing right now. The NSA and Big Brother will not be defeated today or tomorrow, but now is the time to build the foundation to vanquish it down the road. Keep your perspective, and don’t lose sight of the big picture just because it is election season.