Audio: An Interview with activist Lisa Fithian and artist Lize Mogel and Audio from Constitution Day 2012

Audio: An Interview with activist Lisa Fithian and artist Lize Mogel and Audio from Constitution Day 2012

Lisa Fithian organizing at G20. Photo By: Justin Merriman
Lisa Fithian organizing at G20. Photo By: Justin Merriman

This September 2012, The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the Maryland American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the city another symposium to honor Constitution Day. This year's symposium was titled "We The People: Freedom of Assembly and Political Speech." The panelists included: Dr. Cornel West, Lisa Fithian, and Lize Mogel. It was moderated by co-creator and producer of WYPR's radio arts program, The Signal, Aaron Henkin.

Needing little introduction, the reknowned political activist and author, Dr. Cornel West, headlined the symposium, which MICA stated:

"centers on the widely debated topic of freedom of assembly and political speech. Over the last year, our nation watched as thousands of people challenged America's notions of protest and use of public space by occupying parks near Wall Street and in communities across the country... Freedom of assembly is a guaranteed right in the Constitution, and there are impressive precedents for the Occupy movement in this country, but America's relationship with this right is an uneasy one... Assembly can be powerful -- perhaps too powerful, as evidenced in the crackdown of mass encampments through this country's history. The founders of this nation clearly saw this right as an essential component of free speech: what is free speech without free assembly? What is the message without the movement? The powers-that-be find it harder to ignore speech when people stand behind it. The Occupy movement saw a rigorous crackdown, which gives rise to some critical questions: what is public space where protest can take place? What are the rights of protestors, and how are they endangered? When is protest most effective? What is its future?" (Firmin DeBrander -- MICA, Suan Georing -- ACLU of Maryland; Pamphlet Introduction for Symposium)

Here is the audio from this dynamic discussion.


Also included is an exclusive interview with the panelists, legendary radical activist Lisa Fithian and artist activist Lize Mogel. Before the symposium, Indyreader sat down with these amazing women to discuss their work, their views on freedom to assemble and the right to public speech, art as activism, the importance of direct action, organizing across a diversity of tactics and issues, and many other topics. We hope you will enjoy the discussion.

About the Panelists

"Artist Lize Mogel creates and disseminates counter cartography, or mappings that produce new understandings of social and political issues. Working with the interstices between art and cultural geography, she connects the real history and collective imaginary about specific places to larger narratives about globalization. She has mapped public parks in Los Angeles, future territorial disputes in the arctic and wastewater economies in New York City. She is co-editor of the book/map collection "An Atlas of Radical Cartography" and co-curator of the traveling exhibition "An Atlas". She has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, the Graham Foundation, the LEF Foundation, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Danish Arts Council for her work." (Constitution Day 2012 Pamphlet Panelist Description)

"Lisa Fithian is an American political activist who has been organizing for justice since 1975. Using nonviolent direct action, Fithian has organized hundreds of events and demonstrations on a range of issues. From coordinating a shut down of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., to organizing with janitors, nursing home workers and autoworkers, Fithian has used a wide range of strategies and tactics for social, economic and environmental change." (Constitution Day 2012 Pamphlet Panelist Description)

Photo of Corey Reidy

Corey Reidy has been an Indyreader collective member since the start of 2009. And.. she adores it with all her heart. When Reidy isn't editing, writing, interviewing, or other Indyreader-centric organizing, she works to do other forms of radical activism -- including, but not limited to, organizing/being a board member of Hollaback! Baltimore. If she's not organizing, Reidy is most likely reading, biking, or practicing/studying yoga (of which she adores and will 100% go to bat to defend and promote).