SJW upset that they can’t just shut down private commerce

posted at 1:21 pm on January 7, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

Just before Christmas there was a legal skirmish out in Minnesota where the Mall of America asked a court to block a Black Lives Matter protest on their property. (The group had illegally shut down the mall for all intents and purposes the previous year.) The court agreed that they could ban some of the protest organizers from showing up, but were unable to deliver a complete ban on a demonstration because of the diffuse nature of the “movement” and the lack of organizational structure to go after via the legal system. Still, the point had been made and there was a significant law enforcement response when the protesters showed up anyway. (Yahoo News)

Police made at least four arrests as hundreds of protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement briefly shut stores at the sprawling Mall of America and blocked traffic at Minneapolis airport Wednesday, officials and reports said…

Shops began locking up shortly before Wednesday’s protest was set to begin and security guards searched the bags of people entering the mall, according to images posted on social media.

The mall issued warnings that “this demonstration is not authorized” and that “those who fail to leave the property immediately will be subject to arrest,” before police in riot gear began escorting people out of the building.

It was a fairly unsatisfying result for both sides of the confrontation as near as I can tell. Security hustled the protesters out, leading to their relocation of the protest to the airport. (Where they shut down some flights for a time.) But the stores were still closed for a while and commerce ground to a halt as the agitators intended. Also, the tepid response from the court, being unable to identify a responsible party to issue an order to, left the door open to additional thuggish behavior such as this.

Still, the Social Justice Warriors are wringing their hands in dismay at the idea that anyone could ever be kept off of private property for one of their “protests” and see all sorts of threats to freedom coming from it. Alleen Brown at The Intercept gives a lengthy analysis of this strange line of thinking.

Mall of America’s ability to so zealously suppress the December 23 protest there highlights how, in a nation where more and more public life takes place in privatized spaces, the ability to exercise First Amendment rights has become increasingly contingent. From Zuccotti Park to Twitter, some of the last decade’s most iconic venues for dissent have been privately run. In cities like New York, privately owned public spaces have been proliferating for several decades, racing ahead of the case law that will ultimately decide their relationship to Constitutional rights. And legal experts expect social media to be a primary subject of First Amendment battles for decades to come.

“In the eyes of the law, those spaces for speech can be shut down and subject to arbitrary censorship in ways that the public square cannot,” said Teresa Nelson, legal director for the ACLU of Minnesota. “We either need to resolve to give up our First Amendment rights or get them to shift along with our changing technology.”

This argument, such as it is, has already failed the test of the Supreme Court and it makes no more sense today than when it was first attempted. There is no such things as a “privately owned public space.” There is public property (owned by the government at some level) and there is private property. Simply wishing it were otherwise doesn’t change this. Proponents such as Brown like to raise the point that public funds were incorporated into the original deal to build the mall and run the rail line there so commuters could more easily reach it. So what? Once the construction was done, Mall of America owned the property, along with the tangential interests of the merchants who rent shops there. They pay the taxes. They make the space open for shopping, not for anything you’d wish to do.

For a better parallel example, there are 31 places around the country where municipal government have (stupidly, in my opinion) put up public funds for the construction of NFL stadiums. That doesn’t mean that the public owns the stadium and can do whatever they want inside. (I say 31 because Green Bay is the exception.) Everyone can exercise their First Amendment rights in the public square. You can not go into people’s homes and businesses to protest as you please, however.

And on that note, I would add that the Black Lives Matter events aren’t really even protests and have very little to do with free speech. They are specifically designed to “disrupt” commerce and normal activity by private citizens. At Mall of America they were not there “to be heard” but to shut down the mall. Just ask their own leaders. That’s the goal, just as they wanted to shut down the airport at the holidays and stop regular commercial transport. It’s why they try to shut down the highways. This is not protesting. It’s economic terrorism.

Further court action is required, in my opinion, but not the sort the protesters are seeking. Law enforcement has a duty to protect the free operation of commercial activity and to arrest and remove those seeking to hold private business owners hostage. The lack of a “proper” legal entity to serve injunctions to should not act as an impediment to that duty.

MallOfAmerica


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Comments

Then the government will just use eminent domain to turn it into a public space. Watch.

Walter L. Newton on January 7, 2016 at 1:26 PM

Try them under RICO statutes

txdoc on January 7, 2016 at 1:27 PM

Alleen Brown is a fvcking idiot. Since when does one’s Constitutional Right outstrip another’s?

Can I set up a tent on her private property in protest of her stupid article?

Turtle317 on January 7, 2016 at 1:28 PM

So can we assume that the SJWs are now for repeal of the laws restricting protests against abortion mills? Those took place on indisputably public property, and yet the SJWs cheered the passage of laws moving them at least 100 feet (IIRC) away. Now they demand the right to use private property to protest. I’m sure they’ll be very happy the first time Operation Rescue organizes a protest that bursts through the front door of an abortion mill and occupies the building.

The mendacity of these people knows no bounds.

Athanasius on January 7, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Heroes.

/CivilDiscourse

ShainS on January 7, 2016 at 1:34 PM

“We either need to resolve to give up our First Amendment rights or get them to shift along with our changing technology.”

…there it is folks…RESOLVE…you will be made to shaddup and obey so that others can speak and act…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 7, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Domestic terrorism!

artist on January 7, 2016 at 1:36 PM

At least the old activists understood they would be arrested. Isn’t that the point of civil disobedience? To disobey the law or authority you are protesting against?

This is about children who want attention.

trubble on January 7, 2016 at 1:37 PM

For a better parallel example, there are 31 places around the country where municipal government have (stupidly, in my opinion) put up public funds for the construction of NFL stadiums. That doesn’t mean that the public owns the stadium and can do whatever they want inside. (I say 31 because Green Bay is the exception.)

Only 30 places, actually. The Giants and Jets both play in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

J.S.K. on January 7, 2016 at 1:39 PM

I would think the individual protesters as well as any organizing group would be liable for damages to the individual merchants as well as the mall.

As a former small merchant with a mall location, I can tell you that the loss of even a single days sales close to Christmas could have a significant impact on my sales figures for the entire year. Also, since the mall, as landlord, would be in for a percentage of my sales, they’d also be looking at a loss of revenue, not to mention the additional costs in security and maintenance that would be caused by this kind of an event.

trigon on January 7, 2016 at 1:47 PM

Actually, they have a better argument than anyone is willing to admit. After all, if we can demand that businesses provide services that abridge their 1st Amendment religious freedom because “public accommodation”, how is this any different?

SDN on January 7, 2016 at 1:47 PM

Remind me again of the economic terrorism that the Oregon occupiers have committed?

Remind me again of the # of shots fired by said occupiers?

Remind me again of the body county/# of hostages held by said occupiers?

Remind me again of the amount of property destruction of said occupiers.

This is what terrorists and terrorism looks like…

Rogue on January 7, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Alleen Brown is a fvcking idiot. Since when does one’s Constitutional Right outstrip another’s?

Can I set up a tent on her private property in protest of her stupid article?

Turtle317 on January 7, 2016 at 1:28 PM

Since the LGBQT community decided they could force bakeries to bake cakes for their weddings.

Hill60 on January 7, 2016 at 1:54 PM

If one believes that they have superior rights over another, then one does little more than subscribe to ‘all are created equal, but some are more equal than others’ and ‘the ends justifies the means’.

There is no such things as a “privately owned public space.” There is public property (owned by the government at some level) and there is private property. Simply wishing it were otherwise doesn’t change this.

Which is why the argument offered by the totalitarian’s of the ACLU is fundamentally bankrupt. Does the ACLU believe a group of people have a right to invade their offices to disrupt and protest their actions and operations? Of course not.

Athos on January 7, 2016 at 1:57 PM

For a better parallel example, there are 31 places around the country where municipal government have (stupidly, in my opinion) put up public funds for the construction of NFL stadiums.

That would be 30 I believe Jazz, the Jets and Giants play in the same place.

dentalque on January 7, 2016 at 1:58 PM

‘Civil rights’ for me, but not for thee.

vnvet on January 7, 2016 at 1:59 PM

There is no such things as a “privately owned public space.”

Yes, there is/are. It’s a term several cities use to refer to privately owned spaces whose development is contingent on public access. The problem is not that such spaces don’t exist; it’s that the Mall of America is – to my knowledge – not such a space. That’s why the argument falls apart. It’s not a matter of a term being fanciful; it’s a matter of the definition of the term being abused, a particular compulsion of the left, be it “terrorist,” “fascist,” “racist,” or “privately owned public space.”

calbear on January 7, 2016 at 2:00 PM

“In the eyes of the law, those spaces for speech can be shut down and subject to arbitrary censorship in ways that the public square cannot,” said Teresa Nelson, legal director for the ACLU of Minnesota. “We either need to resolve to give up our First Amendment rights or get them to shift along with our changing technology.”

So she has zero problems with me camping out at her house and expressing my support for the 2nd amendment?

I will use a good backstop, I promise.

Johnnyreb on January 7, 2016 at 2:05 PM

Compare this with the Oregon occupation.

madmark on January 7, 2016 at 2:07 PM

Some prosecutor needs to bring a RICO action against this BLM group and its organizers. That will stop them real fast. Of course, finding a prosecutor with the stones to do this may be difficult.

rockmom on January 7, 2016 at 2:11 PM

There is no such things as a “privately owned public space.”

Tell that to the cake bakers.

RblDiver on January 7, 2016 at 2:23 PM

“Shoppers welcome. Trespassers shot on sight.”

xblade on January 7, 2016 at 2:33 PM

There is no such things as a “privately owned public space.”

grammar checker …

Actually, there are such places – at least in California. People can beg for money or signatures on a petition outside a supermarket, for instance, and the owners can’t do diddly squat about it.

corona79 on January 7, 2016 at 2:34 PM

in a nation where more and more public life takes place in privatized spaces, the ability to exercise First Amendment rights has become increasingly contingent.

Ironic, considering how contingent government has made religious speech in public places, e.g. Ten Commandments in courtrooms, nativity scenes on statehouse lawns, etc. Public life is being forced into privatized spaces because the evangelical atheists must purge all aspects of God from the public square at any cost.

What surprises me about this effort is that they think the answer is to try and shut down the largest mall in North America. My wife and I spent over eight hours walking the mall, and only stopped inside two stores. It has an amusement park in the middle of it. It would surprise me greatly if they showed up in sufficient numbers to shut down a mall so large as that.

The Schaef on January 7, 2016 at 2:42 PM

“Proponents such as Brown like to raise the point that public funds were incorporated into the original deal to build the mall and run the rail line there so commuters could more easily reach it”

Remember . . . You didn’t build that – type mantra.

Steve_in_SoCal on January 7, 2016 at 2:45 PM

The protesters would be on firmer ground if they limited themselves to non-disruptive activities like picketing outside at mall entrances.

Of course that would not get them the attention they are seeking.

myiq2xu on January 7, 2016 at 2:46 PM

Only 30 places, actually. The Giants and Jets both play in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
J.S.K. on January 7, 2016 at 1:39 PM

That would be 30 I believe Jazz, the Jets and Giants play in the same place.
dentalque on January 7, 2016 at 1:58 PM

But there’s 32 teams in the NFL.

anuts on January 7, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Well the mall is private property but shutting down air traffic gets into the federal arena. I’m certain that Obama won’t tolerate that and will confront those people with force like those armed guvment people like he did the ranchers….uh huh…yup…guaranteed….betcha.

Don L on January 7, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Actually, there are such places – at least in California. People can beg for money or signatures on a petition outside a supermarket, for instance, and the owners can’t do diddly squat about it.

corona79 on January 7, 2016 at 2:34 PM

I’ve seen those petition soliciter’s removed at the property owner’s request if they became disruptive or harassed shopper’s here in SoCal. In one case, IIRC, it was some very overly zealous Greenpeace advocates who were removed when they wouldn’t stop blocking customers from entering the store at one of it’s entrances until they signed the petition.

Athos on January 7, 2016 at 3:04 PM

Seems pretty cut and dry. Only an idiot wouldn’t understand.

Private property is owned privately and can be used by the public for a specific purpose as intended by the property owner. Beyond that it is not for public use.

It’s clear these idiots want “space” to be the new term for “do whatever I want and you can’t stop me.”

Safe space, public space, etc.

It’s clear to me being a leftist is a mental handicap. These people have the mental state of infants even as adults.

Do we even teach citizenship anymore in school???

goflyers on January 7, 2016 at 3:22 PM

It would help your credility if you posted a correction.

corona79 on January 7, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Social Distortion, not Social Justice.

M240H on January 7, 2016 at 3:32 PM

I find it interesting to note that in general, the law classifies a business’ customers as its “invitees”. Why is that? They are invited in for the purpose of doing business. Duh.

There are plenty of places where one can protest. The right of free speech is not exercisable at all times and all places, always and everywhere.

Disrupting lawful commerce = malicious harassment.

BLM = conspiracy to commit malicious harassment.

Round ’em up, lock ’em up (or at least fine the little darlings).

ugottabekiddingme on January 7, 2016 at 3:40 PM

It would help your credility if you posted a correction.

corona79 on January 7, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Just what correction should that be?

I think if the people you were talking about was disrupting the ability to shop, there would be legal ways to stop them.

Barred on January 7, 2016 at 3:49 PM

Former NYC Mayor, Giuliani was interviewed about the weak response from the MN judge (where the judge prevented a couple of leaders from protesting.)

I’m paraphrasing but here goes: “The judge absolutely can protect private property. What you do in a situation like this is give the protestors a confined space. (No, I don’t thank that protest space is inside the mall). That’s it. They go anywhere else, they are arrested.”

Mpls is home to a lot of people who want to create havoc here. If the lefties (who have run Mpls. for the last 40 years) and passive lefty legislators don’t start taking a stand, the city – which has tried everything to revitalize itself and has succeeded to a substantial degree – will die.

The Rule of Law must start being imposed. The BLM movement is perceived as an intimidating, bullying movement – it will do nothing to gain acceptance by people who pay the bills for their damage.

MN J on January 7, 2016 at 4:01 PM

Far be it from me to defend the damnable New England Patriots, but according to Wikipedia and my own memory, their stadium was built with private funds.

Courtesybears on January 7, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Short Version:

Tea Party: TERRROORRRIISSSTTSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BLM/Occupy: AWESOME ROXXORSELEVENTY1111!! SQUEEEE!!!

Agent Cooper on January 7, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Heroes.
/CivilDiscourse
ShainS on January 7, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Hilarious. Glad to know I occupy so much space in your head that you just willy-nilly cast me as the the opposition in whatever scenario comes up. Ever pause to think I might not actually agree with the position you’ve simple-mindedly carved out for me?

CivilDiscourse on January 7, 2016 at 4:14 PM

The literacy level here seem to be sinking along with the site’s credibility.

corona79 on January 7, 2016 at 4:34 PM

My mother saw them blocking the road at the airport on TV. Her response was, “If there was a jetliner crash and the firefighters, ambulances, and police could not get through and people died, it’d be on them. Beat them or shoot them!” My mom’s a smart woman, and i agree totally!

hurricane567 on January 7, 2016 at 4:52 PM

Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins

Look it up.

corona79 on January 7, 2016 at 4:58 PM

“B-B-BUT I MEAN WELL!”

Oxymoron on January 7, 2016 at 5:13 PM

Everyone can exercise their First Amendment rights in the public square. You can not go into people’s homes and businesses to protest as you please, however.

And on that note, I would add that the Black Lives Matter events aren’t really even protests and have very little to do with free speech. They are specifically designed to “disrupt” commerce and normal activity by private citizens. At Mall of America they were not there “to be heard” but to shut down the mall.

To wit

At least the old activists understood they would be arrested. Isn’t that the point of civil disobedience? To disobey the law or authority you are protesting against?

This is about children who want attention.

trubble on January 7, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Interesting parallels and quasi-parallels (hypocrisy trigger warning in effect, your choice of direction):
OWS
Ferguson rioters
Oregon Occupiers

..and, of course, the juxtaposition to the post on Germany shutting down “hate speech” directed toward rapists in Cologne.

AesopFan on January 7, 2016 at 6:09 PM

But there’s 32 teams in the NFL.

anuts on January 7, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Yes, I know that. I was responding to the original post which said:

For a better parallel example, there are 31 places around the country where municipal government have (stupidly, in my opinion) put up public funds for the construction of NFL stadiums. … (I say 31 because Green Bay is the exception.)

In other words, the original post was counting 32 NFL teams and subtracting one for Green Bay because their stadium was privately funded.

But I said you have to subtract another one, because the original post was counting places where the government has funded NFL stadiums. The Giants and the Jets share a stadium, so that’s one place instead of two where the government funded an NFL stadium. That would take us down to 30 places where the government has funded an NFL stadium.

On the other hand, as Courtesybears wrote above, the Patriots’ stadium is privately funded too, so that could take us down to 29 such places, I guess.

I don’t actually know how many of the NFL stadiums were publicly funded, but I do know that there are 32 teams in all with 31 stadiums.

J.S.K. on January 7, 2016 at 7:11 PM

The first homicide of the year here in liberalapolis was a young black man who was defending a girl that was being hassled. The hassler shot the kid in the head. He had just turned 20 and I knew of him. He was a student at the Christian school I volunteer at. The black lives matter crowd, who are of the same mold of the murderer,thugs is no where to be found. Do you think they will help the cops? Rather doubt it since thugs protect their own. I have a tip for the bowel movement movement. There are black children being murdered every day at abortion clinics. Do something right and come protest that. Right now it is primarily white privileged honkies that are doing all the protesting of the taking of those black lives. Rather hypocritical of you I would say.

crosshugger on January 7, 2016 at 7:42 PM

The Washington Redskins stadium was built by the previous owner himself (or the team itself). Taxpayers kicked in for the infrastructure improvements to the area. (Seems almost reasonable.)

Kevin K. on January 7, 2016 at 7:54 PM

“In the eyes of the law, those spaces for speech can be shut down and subject to arbitrary censorship in ways that the public square cannot,” said Teresa Nelson, legal director for the ACLU of Minnesota. “We either need to resolve to give up our First Amendment rights or get them to shift along with our changing technology.”

The ‘public square’ does not seem to apply to many of our public colleges and universities either, and arbitrary censorship is most certainly applied there. Those who want to exercise their First Amendment rights on campus have to go to some tiny, out of the way ‘free speech zone’, or make sure whatever they say passes the ‘PC’ test, or keep quiet.

s1im on January 8, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Law enforcement has a duty to protect the free operation of commercial activity and to arrest and remove those seeking to hold private business owners hostage. Jazz Shaw

You copsuckers have a hard time taking off your blinders, don’t you Jazz?

earlgrey on January 8, 2016 at 12:32 PM