Yesterday evening we had our first meeting to discuss (nonviolent) resistance to the NSA’s domestic spying program.
We had six people at my house, plus three more over video chat. That was interesting. We used Google Hangouts on an iPad, which was propped up at one end of the table like a mini-monolith. It worked well, except for a few times we lost signal. They could hear & see us, we could hear & see them, and the app is smart enough to automatically switch the view to whoever’s talking.
The meeting lasted over an hour, and went surprisingly well. I say “surprisingly” because I’ve never organized anything like this before, I’m not really a political person, and I imagined a lot of ways it could go wrong. But we had an agenda, we followed it, we stayed on topic.
We started by going around the room, introducing ourselves and saying why we were against the spying program. For me, this was one of the more powerful moments of the evening. All different people: liberal, conservative, libertarian, independent; quiet and outspoken; men and women; those new to the cause, and those who have followed the NSA’s programs for years. But we had one thing in common. We had heard the news about the call database and PRISM, and we wanted to do something about it.
We talked about the stopwatching.us petition, which has over 200,000 signatures now (including Wil Wheaton and Cory Doctorow!) and still growing. We discussed the Restore the Fourth movement and the nationwide protests planned for July 4. We came up with a lot of ideas for action.
And we decided to stay organized. We’ll continue meeting monthly, and in between meetings, we’ll keep in touch with each other. We’ll share ideas and coordinate our efforts.
Because we’ve seen what our government is doing, and we’ve decided it needs to stop.
P.S. Protip for resistance cells: nonviolent rebellion is hungry work. Offer free pizza!