Art offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.

Sen. Wyden at Green Energy Site in Oregon

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) is planning a filibuster against a new infringement on civil rights. This is one clever way to make people aware of what their bought off congress is up to:

In the coming weeks, a new and unprecedented thing just might happen in the U.S. Senate: the Internet will filibuster a bill.

Specifically, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) will filibuster a bill ““ the Protect IP Act, which aims to fundamentally change the structure of the Internet ““ with a little help from his friends and admirers online.

In a website launched this week by the left-leaning political action committee Demand Progress, Wyden promises that if the Protect IP Act comes up for a vote in the Senate, he will stage an old-school standing filibuster and speak for as long as his lungs have wind.

To bolster his speech, Wyden plans to read off the names of people who stand united with him against proposed rules that would fundamentally change the structure of the Internet.

So far, over 60,000 petition signatures have been collected, his staff said, and that number is growing quickly.

“My boss couldn’t feel more strongly about this issue,” a Wyden aide told Raw Story on Tuesday, stressing that their main goal right now is to prevent the bill from coming up for a vote.

“He will do a standing filibuster, but at this point, we don’t necessarily have the votes to sustain his filibuster,” the aide continued. “Our goal is to continue to slow down this process and continue to educate members of Congress on why [the Protect IP Act is] the wrong approach.”

The names that aren’t read will later be entered into the congressional record.

The Protect IP Act is heavily sponsored by the entertainment industry and the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbying group, which sees it as a means to prevent online piracy, which they claim costs jobs.

But its detractors, companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Aol, see the bill a little differently. While Protect IP ““ and its House version, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) ““ would make it easier for U.S. authorities to crack down on websites accused of pirating movies, television shows and music, it would also allow the government and copyright owners to disable credit card processing for sites they claim are engaging or enabling copyright infringement, all without a court hearing.

The legislation is so broad it could be used to target online anonymity tools used by human rights activists…

Here is the website mobilizing progressives against this bill.

In Ohio labor and progressives are doing huge things: moving to repeal bills passed by the GOP legislature. They repealed SB5, and now are moving to prevent the new congressional GOP drawn maps from being implemented and also are moving to stop the egregious new voting g restrictions from ever becoming law. It looks like the have secured enough signatures to get these bills n the ballot for repeal. More:

“Over the course of the last year, almost 2 million (signatures) have been collected from across Ohio’s 88 counties to repeal such egregious pieces of like Senate Bill 5, now House Bill 194, and obviously the work that’s ongoing with House Bill 319,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

“We made history with Senate Bill 5 and we continue to make history with 194,” Redfern said later. “It’s not to be underestimated the work that’s in place.”

Redfern said Democrats have collected more than 100,000 signatures to place the Republicans’ new congressional maps on the November ballot. He also said he’s met with some groups, including the League of Women Voters, to discuss putting on next year’s ballot a mechanism to redo how congressional maps are drawn in Ohio.

Among the provisions in House Bill 194 that Democrats find objectionable:

A reduction in early voting from 35 days before an election to 21 days by mail and 17 in person. The bill also would prohibit in-person voting on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and the three days before the election.

A prohibition on counties such as Franklin from sending unsolicited absentee-ballot applications to all voters.

Requirements regarding whether a poll worker has to tell a voter that he or she is in the wrong precinct.

New standards for when a vote should be tossed out, such as when a person puts the wrong birth date on an absentee-ballot envelope.

Republicans argued that the bill would bring uniformity to Ohio’s elections, strengthen security and still provide plenty of access to the polls through early voting.

Greg Schultz, state director for Obama’s re-election campaign in Ohio, said Obama volunteers held about 1,700 events geared toward placing House Bill 194 before voters.

“The process of getting this on the ballot can’t be understated,” Schultz said. “We had neighbors talking to neighbors about this. Our volunteer infrastructure is that much more motivated, that much more engaged. This year, 2011, could’ve been a very long year, and instead there’s been an incredible amount of activity.”

Where oh where are African Americans in Occupy protests? A question I have been wondering. This article I think hits the nail on the hail. For many blacks, seeing white Occupy protestors is a “welcome to the party” moment:

Is there a chance that the movement can become more diverse? Leslie Wilson, a professor of African American history at Montclair State University, is not optimistic.

“Occupy Wall Street cannot produce enough change to encourage certain types of black participation,” Wilson said in an interview. “The church cannot get enough blacks out on the streets. Some students will go, but not the masses. Black folks, particularly older ones, do not think that this is going to lead to change. .—°.—°. This generation has already been beaten down and is hurting. They are not willing to risk what little they have for change. Those who are wealthier are not willing to risk and lose.”

Black America’s fight for income equality is not on Wall Street, but is a matter of day-to-day survival. The more pressing battles are against tenant evictions, police brutality and street crime. This group doesn’t see a reason to join the amorphous Occupiers.

But if the Occupy movement does not grow in solidarity with other constituencies of exploited and oppressed people, and if black America does not devise new leadership strategies to deal with today’s problems, the truth of Frederick Douglass’s wisdom will hold ““ the powerful undertow of race and class in America will keep both blacks and whites from being free.

The great challenge for Occupy to me is expanding tactics and diversifying it’s participants.

And finally great news out of Texas: the federal court in San Antonio has issued interim new lines for state house, state senate and congress. These lines may wind up becoming permanent depending on upcoming trials at the DC circuit and trial in Texas. Civil rights groups call this new map the most progressive map for minorities in Texas history. Right now Texas Dems hold 49 Texas House seats out of 150. The new map gives Dems, mostly minorities, another 10-12 seats.

See MALDEF’s happy statement on the Texas legislature maps here.

And Lone Star Project’s analysis of state house maps here.

And for congress: Texas gained 4 new seats in the census. And thanks to GOP foolishness the San Antonio court has given at least 3 of the new seats to Latinos and blacks. And several other districts will likely flip in the new few cycles due to growing Latino population. Memo to Tea Party: it won’t matter how many gerrymanders you do, you cannot silence growing numbers of minorities in America. All thanks to the Voting Rights and Civil rights Acts…

See Lone Star Project’s assessment on this here.