HomeFocus On Free Speech in the ‘Town Square’

Free Speech in the ‘Town Square’

When Sands BethWorks, of which Las Vegas Sands Corp. is the majority partner, deeded property for the Levitt Pavilion and the ’21st Century Town Square’ at the SteelStacks campus, they included a stipulation that the property could not be used for traditional free speech, especially anything related that could be construed as against the casino or supporting labor organizing there. Even more stringent restrictions were on the properties for ArtsQuest & PBS-39.

Columbia University law professor Mark Barenberg said that a ban on anti-Sands casino speech and labor-organizing at Bethlehem’s new SteelStacks campus violates the Constitution and labor laws, fueling activists’ passion on whether to test the 15-month-old deed restriction.

On October 26 2012, local free-speech & labor supporters gathered in a rally organized by members of the Steelworkers Union. One of the highlights of this successful event was a performance of Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land Is Your Land’, including 2 verses written for the occasion by Dave Fry:

Standing in the shadows of Bethlehem’s foundries
May our words & songs have no boundaries
Freedom of speech is all right in this community
This land was made for you and me.

Inside the town square, here on the SouthSide
In the shadow of the Steel’s great pride
Where we are standing is right where we belong
This land was made for you and me.

Watch the video clip: ThisLand-clip31

Complete lyrics from this performance:

This Land Is Your Land

— As performed at free speech rally, November 2012—

(chorus) This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island,
From the redwood forest to the gulf stream water,
This land was made for you and me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway,
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands —not those— of her diamond deserts, While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.

Chorus

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking that freedom highway
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking, I saw a sign there
And on that sign it said “No Trespassing ”
But on the other side, it didn’t say nothin’ — Yeah!
That sign was made for you and me.

Chorus

Standing in the shadows of Bethlehem’s foundries
May our words and songs have no boundaries
Freedom of speech is all right in this community
This land was made for you and me.

Inside the town square, here on the SouthSide
In the shadow of the Steel’s great pride
Where we are standing is right where we belong
This land was made for you and me.

Chorus

 

 

This entry was posted in Advocacy & Activism, Arts & Culture, Building Community, Civil Liberties, People Power v. State Power, Workers' Rights.

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