= Restore the Fourth: Weekly Update =

Hey r/restorethefourth,
This is the first weekly RT4 update, which I'll post to Reddit every Friday from now until my term ends on November 7th. I was elected chair of Restore the Fourth on August 7th. Before that, I was one of the primary organizers in NYC, where I helped plan the largest July 4th rally (this one)

We're holding a huge rally in DC with EFF, Fight for the Future and many other groups from the StopWatching.US coalition on October 26th, the anniversary of the PATRIOT Act
Restore the Fourth is going to play a big role acting as a hub in cities across the country to coordinate phone banking, recruitment, and transportation to DC
We can't stop the surveillance without you!
Sign up hereto join or start your local chapter, join the RT4 development team, write a blog post, make a video, help onboard new chapters, or do whatever it is you do best
RT4's structure - local chapters have total autonomy over their own activities, and local organizers make all major decisions at the national level
The vast majority of the money from the Indiegogo campaign [has not yet been spent] (httpwww.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9634517726 $1,311 was spent in July to reimburse RT4 DC for banners and printing, and advertise on Facebook (including Indiegogo and PayPal fees)

**What's happening on October 26th
For the past few weeks we’ve been working hard to organize a national event in Washington DC on October 26th, the anniversary of the PATRIOT Act. As we’ve brought in more allies, it looks like this will become an official event of the StopWatching.US coalition. It’s going to be a kickass weekend with a huge rally, celebrity speakers and entertainment, and trainings on how to be a more effective anti-NSA activist online and offline

**Who all is sponsoring the event
Restore the Fourth, EFF, Demand Progress, Free Press, Fight for the Future, and many other groups involved in the StopWatching.US coalition

**What is Restore the Fourth’s role
There will be a nationwide network of volunteers organizing transportation to the event, phone-banking to call potential attendees and make sure they have a way to get to DC and a place to stay, and recruiting and promoting across the country. The groups with huge mailing lists will be directing their members to work with their local RT4 chapter, which will serve as a hub for local volunteers and arranging rideshares/transportation to DC. RT4 DC is taking a lead role in planning the march and the rally, and helping to coordinate housing for the thousands of people who will be coming in from out of town. We’re really excited!
**Yeah, I want to help get 5,000+ to DC for a kickass rally on the anniversary of the PATRIOT Act. What do I do
Please fill out this form and check the boxes that interest you. If there’s already an active local chapter in your area, we’ll connect you. If there isn’t, we’ll connect you with others to help get one started. A few other easy ways to help:
Design a poster, video or something else with our new logo, created by Michael Yi
Write a blog post for the website about RT4 or surveillance in general (email [email protected] for more info on that)
Sign up for weekly email updates
**Hold on a second, how come I haven’t seen anything about this on the subreddit? Why haven't I had a chance to give input
As part of an effort to restructure RT4 to give more decision-making power to the local chapters, in July an invite-only Basecamp project was created for representatives from the 20+ currently active chapters. The Basecamp was supposed to just be for discussion of structure, but a lot of the substantive discussion unfortunately moved onto there as well

**Was that a good idea
No, no it was not. We definitely lost momentum for a good while as a result of that move, and it's not a mistake we're looking to make again. Going forward we'd love your help getting the subreddit more active, and we are in the process of putting a forum up on RestoreThe4th.com as well. Reddit can be a confusing and sometimes harsh place for those who aren't tech savvy or used to internet culture, and we want this to be a movement that anyone of any age, background and views can participate in equally

**So who’s making the decisions now
All major decisions (endorsing something, declaring a national event, spending significant amounts of money) are made by a council of local organizers called the Oversight Committee, with a representative from each chapter that’s had an event in the past 3 months. That currently includes: Austin, Bellingham, Birmingham, Boston, Bozeman, Cedar Rapids, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Louisville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Reno, Rochester, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tulsa, and Washington, DC. If your city isn't listed here, it means we haven't heard from you in a while; contact us at [email protected] so we can fix that!
**Does this Oversight Committee of local organizers have control of the money from the Indiegogo campaign
Yes. We raised $8.450, and have $7.139 remaining. $615 went towards social media advertising, and $380 paid back local organizers. If you spent money on a rally and want to be reimbursed for expenses you have receipts for, please email [email protected] The National Committee will submit all the reimbursement requests to the local organizers for approval

**Are we going to win

Good point, I guess that was a pretty flip ending. I should have said "are we going to successfully convince the American public that the NSA's current activities are unconstitutional and immoral, and translate that belief into concrete social, political and legal changes that prevent warrantless mass surveillance by the NSA? Yes."
Hi, y'all
I wanted to throw in my two cents, because I have some experience with the sort of thing you're trying to do. The thing to remember about marching on Washington is that everybody does it these days. Our nation's capital sees an average of about three protests EVERY DAY, and more on weekends and holidays. You won't be the only protest in town on October 26th, and you might not even be the biggest one

The majority of them have no significant impact. To DC residents protests are just part of the scenery. The people you're actually protesting don't work weekends and will probably never see you. Even if they do it won't make any impression - they run across random protests all the time

Given that NSA surveillance is a hot-button issue you might get a little press. A short article in the Metro section of the Washington Post, a thirty-second segment on a local news broadcast, something like that. But basically anything you do on Saturday will be forgotten by Monday. You can't do anything about this excepta major act of civil disobedience, which you probably aren't willing to do, or find some way to attract tens of thousands of marchers, which you probably can't do

Just to give you the flavor, my first DC protest was an anti-war march in March 2009, also on a Saturday. We were several thousand strong, the same order of magnitude that y'all are shooting for. Aof liberals made speeches for an hour or so while everybody stood around, and then we marched on the Pentagon. Well, toward the Pentagon at least - the organizers changed the route without telling anybody so that we never got near it. Along the way we passed through a complex of office buildings, deserted on a weekend. Some of them belonged to defense contractors, and we stopped at one of these for a brief ceremony that I couldn't see from the back. After that we just kept marching to where the buses were parked, got on them and went home. Nobody paid any attention to us but our escort of riot cops, and if y'all aren't crossing into Virginia you probably won't even get that. Press was minimal, and it was hard to even blame the media for that because we hadn't done anything remotely newsworthy

I'm not saying that y'all shouldn't go to DC, but it would make sense to have some goals that go beyond getting attention from politicians. Maybe take the opportunity for some in-person networking? A giant crypto party on Liberty Plaza? The iPhone version of Textsecure should be out by then, maybe get everybody to install it? Y'all should think of something. Because if all you do is march around with signs and make speeches and then get on the bus and go home you'll have spent a lot of time and money and effort for absolutely no gain

EDIT: I do understand that you're planning entertainment and trainings, but the same basic problem applies. The trainings are a great idea, but don't expect to have a lot of political impact just because you're in DC. Generally the opposite holds true

This is definitely something we're considering. A few ways we're planning to make sure this is a worthwhile event for everyone involved:
We're going way out of our way to make sure that we're doing things in a creative way. Without good press hooks and visuals, you're right that it will be tough to get attention, so that'll be a focus. Any suggestions are much appreciated!
In terms of the activities, building ties between everyone who attends will be a
majorfocus. Whatever the press does or doesn't cover, everyone who comes will get connected with others in the movement for privacy and freedom, as well as practical skills and knowledge to take home

We have a huge advantage that most causes wouldfor; the internet has our back. We're absolutely going to be depending on all of the supporters who can't make it in person to help us make noise and be heard. This is going to be a central part of the plan, not something shallow tacked on at the end

This hasn't really been an issue so far because the people involved really do have diverse political views. We have no plans to identify with any political party, and are happy to work with anyone of any political view as long as we have the same goal - ending the NSA's mass surveillance

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