By Sarah Lazare. This article was first published on Common Dreams.
Civil Liberties picket is a rare show of dissent from a Democratic party that has rallied behind Obama’s warrantless spying
Protests against NSA spying have reached all the way to the home of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s big campaign fundraiser.
And this time, the protests are coming from a group that includes professed Democrats—a notable departure from the silence and inaction of the Democratic machine as the Obama Administration’s NSA spying scandal ripples across the globe.
Over 70 people picketed Saturday afternoon outside of the Belvedere, California home where congressman Jared Huffman was throwing a big fundraising bash for Pelosi.
The fundraiser took place just weeks after Pelosi forcefully defended the NSA’s warrantless spying programs and denounced NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a ‘criminal’ at a NetRoots Nation conference in San Jose, California. Her statement at the conference was met with loud boos and heckles from the crowd.
The boisterous picket in this wealthy neighborhood—organized by the Coalition for Grassroots Progress, an organization for ‘progressive change’—featured colorful signs that declared “One nation under surveillance” and denounced ‘Big Brother.’
“The question I think we need to ask ourselves, in light of these new revelations, is how much longer can we afford to bankrupt ourselves morally and financially in the name of security?” Caroline Banuelos—president of the Sonoma County Latino Democratic Club—told the Marin Independent Journal. “Do we really feel safer by allowing our representatives to take away our civil liberties?”
“I’m pleased there is this groundswell,” declared former congressional candidate Norman Solomon. “We’re just getting started and we’re not going to let this subside.”
Civil liberties advocates have blasted the Democratic party for standing idly by as the NSA spying scandal stokes ire and grassroots opposition across the world. Criticism also extends to Democratic party-tied organizations like MoveOn.org that do not have much to say about a scandal seizing international headlines.
A recent poll by Pew Research Center shows that Democrats have flipped on civil liberties violations under Obama: while a majority of Democrats declared NSA spying unacceptable under former President George Bush, a majority of democrats now think Obama’s NSA is acceptable.