WFS Panel Discussion 7/22/16

Part 1 Alan Levine

Part 2: Donna Nevel

Part 3: Questions and Answers

Woodstock Free Speech Campaign

The Woodstock Free Speech Campaign that town board member Jay Wenk wrote about in last week's Woodstock Times is just being launched. Its goal is to have the Woodstock Town Board pass a resolution, which states that the right to boycott, as a component of constitutionally-protected free speech, is important enough to the town of Woodstock and its inhabitants that we are willing to take a stand against Governor Cuomo's unilateral executive order, which bans boycotts against Israel.

Why should this campaign be important enough for Woodstockers and others to support? Why is it important for citizens to stop any and all encroachments on our First Amendment rights?

Free speech and the non-violent expression of our views, whether popular or not, are the bedrock of our democracy. When the First Amendment rights of any one of us are limited or denied, can the denial of others be far behind? It's the canary in the mine. It's our early warning system. And, if we ignore these first encroachments, then we are on a slippery slope indeed. There are a number of signs that mark the beginning of fascism, and this is right at the top of the list. When a government can pick and choose what's okay today and what's not okay tomorrow, then we are in a perilous place.

The role that civil society (you and I) plays in the democratic process should not be limited to voting in elections. Democracy works best when there is an engaged public, one that is well informed, willing to speak out, and organized to protect its rights. Rights come with attendant responsibilities, and this campaign is a way for Woodstockers and others to shoulder that responsibility. We owe it to future generations.

In the next few months, there will be town educational and organizing events. Please join this non-partisan campaign to protect our First Amendment rights. Make this a Woodstock campaign by signing the petition and sharing it with your friends and neighbors.


Nic Abramson, Shady NY