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No Free Speech in Seattle's Public Market

Abbie Hoffman said, "Free means you don't pay for it." And America's constitutionally- guaranteed "Free Speech" has several freedom issues, including freedom from payment, freedom from political censorship, and the freedom to perform anonymously. As a street performer, "free" speech has been a long-fought battleground, and I see street performers as the canaries in the mine. When a town wants to ban free speech, the first thing they do is ban street performance and then label all political speech activity as street performance, thereby prohibiting free speech via street performance ordinances. Or, they sidestep and confuse constitutional free speech issues, by clouding them with street performance rules and regulations.

This technique of squashing 1st Amendment rights has been effectively employed, in my opinion, by Seattle's famed Pike Place Market (the one with the guys throwing fish on TV), for the 27 years I have been a street performer there.

[ Other stories by Kirsten Anderberg ]

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