Brave New Neighborhoods: The Privatization of Public Space by Margaret Kohn

By Margaret Kohn

Combating for First modification rights is as renowned a hobby as ever, yet simply because you may get in your soapbox does not imply a person may be there to pay attention. city squares have emptied out as consumers decamp for the megamalls; gated groups preserve pesky signature collecting activists away; even so much web chatrooms are run by means of the key media businesses. Brave New Neighborhood sconsiders what may be performed to guard and revitalize our public areas.

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Mary Ann Glendon, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse (New York: Free Press, 1991). 23. Karl Marx, “On the Jewish Question,” in The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York: Norton, 1978), 26–52. 24. The Industrial Worker, May 13, 1909. Weapons of the wobblies 35 25. Fish, There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech, 102. 26. The Industrial Worker, April 1, 1909. 27. David Thelan, “Introduction,” Leon Fink, “Labor, Liberty, and the Law: Trade Unionism and the Problem of the American Constitutional Order,” and Joyce Appleby, “The American Heritage: The Heirs and the Disinherited,” symposium on rights consciousness in The Journal of American History 74, no.

Itself planned any violence and the danger came from the possibility that bystanders would attack the speakers. In an important reversal of precedent, the Supreme Court decided that preventing a legitimate meeting merely because vigilantes threatened violence would be tantamount to affirming the right to a hecklers’ veto. 33 With this decision, the era of public protest was established. In the second half of the twentieth century, protest has become a routinized, scripted activity. Since the iconic civil rights march on Washington DC, gun control advocates, antiwar protesters, public housing partisans, and pro-choicers, to name just a few, have gathered in the capital or other civic centers to voice their grievances.

6 The rationale is that the impetus behind the First Amendment was to ensure an active citizenry capable of resisting tyranny and governing itself. It assumes that in order to avoid tyranny of the majority, we need to nurture a pluralistic, diverse society. The government therefore has the obligation to actively promote, or at least not to unduly hinder, the articulation and critique of political ideas. The image of ancient Athens, with Socrates, the notorious philosopher-critic engaging leading citizens in discussion about their most cherished values, inspires this approach.

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