Civil liberties is a topic that crosses political lines. Given that, people of all political persuasions may be interested in You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression, a new book written by Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine. In the book, Rothschild chronicles tales of everyday citizens being harassed in post-9/11 America. Whether conservative, libertarian, or liberal, "you'll be outraged" before finishing the first chapter, Rothschild said in a phone interview. Rothschild will be in San Luis Obispo talking about his book and the larger subject the book addresses namely the demise of democracy on Aug. 14.
Rothschild has been reporting on civil liberties infringements in The Progressive and on the magazine's website (www.progressive.org) under "McCarthyism Watch" for more than six years. He's written more than 200 accounts of citizens' rights being violated, of which he culled 82 for his book. Among the stories, he tells of a teacher who lost her job for talking about "peace" in the classroom a man and son who were confronted by the police for wearing T-shirts that said "Peace on Earth" a man who was arrested for "assaulting the vice president" after telling Vice President Cheney to his face that his Iraq policies were reprehensible and a man who was visited by the FBI after he was spotted in a coffee shop reading an article titled "Weapons of Mass Stupidity."
"I was prompted to write the book because I'd done a lot of reporting already on the infringements of our rights under Bush, and I was frustrated with the way the mainstream media covered them," Rothschild said. "These are not isolated incidents, but when they were covered, it was as if they were the only ones. I wanted people to see the pattern and relate it to the repressive policies the Bush Administration has set."
Rothschild will be speaking at the SLO Library, on the corner of Palm and Osos, on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. Donations will be taken. After the talk, he'll sign copies of his new book, which will be available for $16.95. His appearance is presented by HopeDance, co-sponsored by Rogue Voice and Information Press. For more information, call 544-9663. Prior to the talk, Rothschild will appear on the Dave Congalton show, KVEC 920 AM, at 4:05 p.m.