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[Legality Challenge] Repeal: "Freedom of Assembly"

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Junitaki-cho
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[Legality Challenge] Repeal: "Freedom of Assembly"

Postby Junitaki-cho » Mon Feb 01, 2021 4:52 pm

Proposal text: https://www.nationstates.net/page=ga
Drafting thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=495769
Target resolution: https://www.nationstates.net/page=WA_pa ... /council=1

I recognize that this challenge comes late, and I do wish it had been brought sooner. That said, I believe the repeal currently at vote contains two related Honest Mistakes, both relating to a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of GAR#27's third clause:
3.) These things having been ordained, states that Freedom of Assembly cannot be extended towards any call for: violence, rioting, and/or actions that would cause harm to innocent people.

The two clauses from the repeal - "worried" and "saddened" - are reproduced below:
Worried that clause 2 of the resolution does not prevent protests which cause harm to members of the public, for example protests organised on a public highway, those which would block the route of emergency vehicles, or protests that take place in dangerous or unhealthy conditions, as clause 2 states governments may only restrict the freedom of assembly when “individuals organizing are trespassing on private property and/or if circumstances beyond the control of the Government threaten the safety of those organizing”,

In the case of the "worried" clause, the argument being made is that clause 2 of the target allows "protests which cause harm to members of the public," using the disruption of emergency services as an example. This is a clear contradiction of clause 3's mention of "actions that would cause harm to innocent people," which would seem to directly address this concern and other potential-but-unnamed examples. I don't believe it's a reasonable interpretation of the text to presume that clause 3 cannot be applied to matters of public safety.
Saddened that, while it bars those who call for violence via direct action from its protections, the resolution shields those who do so via calls for deliberate inaction, such as by urging law enforcement officers to refrain from protecting individuals of a certain racial group,

Similarly, the "saddened" clause describes a scenario in which protestors call for harm via inaction, such as a deliberate failure to enforce protections for a minority group. While I recognize that "inaction" is on paper an inverse of clause 3's "actions" qualifier, calling for a premeditated decision to leave specific persons unprotected or otherwise vulnerable is itself a form of action, and as such it's prohibited by the same portion of GAR#27's clause 3.
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Texkentuck
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TEXKENTUCK SUPPORTS THE REPEAL

Postby Texkentuck » Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:54 pm

GREAT REPEAL

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Wymondham
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Postby Wymondham » Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:24 am

Junitaki-cho wrote:In the case of the "worried" clause, the argument being made is that clause 2 of the target allows "protests which cause harm to members of the public," using the disruption of emergency services as an example. This is a clear contradiction of clause 3's mention of "actions that would cause harm to innocent people," which would seem to directly address this concern and other potential-but-unnamed examples. I don't believe it's a reasonable interpretation of the text to presume that clause 3 cannot be applied to matters of public safety.


This argument correctly states that clause 3 of the target resolution includes a "mention of "actions that would cause harm to innocent people"" but omits the context in which this mention occurs. GA#27 "states that Freedom of Assembly cannot be extended towards any call for: violence, rioting, and/or actions that would cause harm to innocent people" (emphasis mine). It requires member states to prevent calls for harm to innocent people, but this is distinct from allowing them to intervene in situations in which harm is directly being caused to members of the public, in the moment. A group of protesters blocking the path of emergency vehicles may be doing so for the purpose of advocating something as harmless as the installation of recycling bins around the neighbourhood, but their actions are causing harm to members of the public.

Similarly, the "saddened" clause describes a scenario in which protestors call for harm via inaction, such as a deliberate failure to enforce protections for a minority group. While I recognize that "inaction" is on paper an inverse of clause 3's "actions" qualifier, calling for a premeditated decision to leave specific persons unprotected or otherwise vulnerable is itself a form of action, and as such it's prohibited by the same portion of GAR#27's clause 3.


The claim made in the repeal is that calling for inaction is not the same as calling for action. Whether not doing something is in and of itself doing something is a fundamentally philosophical question which has been and always will be up for debate, but it is not justifiable to assert that the repeal’s claim is objectively false.

In the situation to which you refer, as described in the repeal, this failure to protect minority groups is not necessarily premeditated - the calls made by these protesters may be in response to a currently ongoing situation, urging law enforcement officers to refrain from involvement. While calling for an active, acknowledged policy of removing protections from a particular group of people may be a call to action, there are many other possible situations in which GA#27 would protect these protests as claimed by the repeal.

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Honeydewistania
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Postby Honeydewistania » Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:31 am

I don’t see how it being premeditated is relevant. At the end of the day, this repeal depends on whether calling for inaction counts as calling for an action. I believe it is, but we’ll have to wait and see for GenSec’s verdict.
Last edited by Honeydewistania on Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Old Hope
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Postby Old Hope » Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:13 am

Honeydewistania wrote:I don’t see how it being premeditated is relevant. At the end of the day, this repeal depends on whether calling for inaction counts as calling for an action. I believe it is, but we’ll have to wait and see for GenSec’s verdict.

Inaction is the absence of an action, so it is definitely not an unreasonable assumption to exclude calls for inaction. And it is an unreasonable assumption being made in a proposal that triggers the Honest Mistake rule.

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Separatist Peoples
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Postby Separatist Peoples » Tue Feb 02, 2021 5:02 am

Old Hope wrote:
Honeydewistania wrote:I don’t see how it being premeditated is relevant. At the end of the day, this repeal depends on whether calling for inaction counts as calling for an action. I believe it is, but we’ll have to wait and see for GenSec’s verdict.

Inaction is the absence of an action, so it is definitely not an unreasonable assumption to exclude calls for inaction. And it is an unreasonable assumption being made in a proposal that triggers the Honest Mistake rule.

This is not the test. Do not make suggestions in a Challenge thread if you do not know the rule being applied.

Op:

Your first argument is interesting. Repeals may criticize a proposal for what it does not do, but we have not addressed focusing that to a specific clause.

Your second argument is unpersuasive to me. Inaction can be called a lack of action rather than an affirmative action for the purpose of the repeal. That is a colorable interpretation.

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Maowi
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Postby Maowi » Tue Feb 02, 2021 5:21 am

Separatist Peoples wrote:Op:

Your first argument is interesting. Repeals may criticize a proposal for what it does not do, but we have not addressed focusing that to a specific clause.


I think the implication of it is that the target resolution as a whole fails to make a certain desirable exception - i.e. that to allow member states to intervene in non-violent assembly to prevent obstruction to emergency services etc. - and that if such an exception had been included in the target, it would most naturally fit in clause 2. I am not of the opinion that the overall claim in the "worried" clause is inconsistent with clause 3 of the target resolution, as per Wymondham's post above.

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Junitaki-cho
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Postby Junitaki-cho » Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:48 pm

Wymondham wrote:The claim made in the repeal is that calling for inaction is not the same as calling for action. Whether not doing something is in and of itself doing something is a fundamentally philosophical question which has been and always will be up for debate, but it is not justifiable to assert that the repeal’s claim is objectively false.

In the situation to which you refer, as described in the repeal, this failure to protect minority groups is not necessarily premeditated - the calls made by these protesters may be in response to a currently ongoing situation, urging law enforcement officers to refrain from involvement. While calling for an active, acknowledged policy of removing protections from a particular group of people may be a call to action, there are many other possible situations in which GA#27 would protect these protests as claimed by the repeal.

You're missing the point. I'm not using premeditated to refer to the protestors' call, I'm using it to refer to their desired result. In the example given, the protest is "urging law enforcement officers to refrain from protecting individuals of a certain racial group." In doing so, it's calling for a decision to be made, not necessarily through a legislative body but on the part of each individual officer, to change course on the matter and consistently make a choice of conduct in any future situation. I appreciate that the matter of "inaction" is to some extent a philosophical point, but you're the one who brought that term into this. The original legislation uses the term "actions," which is very commonly understood and defined as being synonymous with "conduct" or "behaviour" - "actions speak louder than words" being one such common instance.

So in the first place, the repeal is mistaken in saying the target "bars those who call for violence via direct action," as there's never any distinction between direct and indirect action in the text of GAR#27. The repeal's reading regarding "inaction" then requires a very narrow and exclusive reading of "actions," and I don't believe SP is correct in saying this is a colourable interpretation of the original text rather than the more commonly understood definition given above.
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Old Hope
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Postby Old Hope » Tue Feb 02, 2021 1:12 pm

Junitaki-cho wrote:
Wymondham wrote:The claim made in the repeal is that calling for inaction is not the same as calling for action. Whether not doing something is in and of itself doing something is a fundamentally philosophical question which has been and always will be up for debate, but it is not justifiable to assert that the repeal’s claim is objectively false.

In the situation to which you refer, as described in the repeal, this failure to protect minority groups is not necessarily premeditated - the calls made by these protesters may be in response to a currently ongoing situation, urging law enforcement officers to refrain from involvement. While calling for an active, acknowledged policy of removing protections from a particular group of people may be a call to action, there are many other possible situations in which GA#27 would protect these protests as claimed by the repeal.

You're missing the point. I'm not using premeditated to refer to the protestors' call, I'm using it to refer to their desired result. In the example given, the protest is "urging law enforcement officers to refrain from protecting individuals of a certain racial group." In doing so, it's calling for a decision to be made, not necessarily through a legislative body but on the part of each individual officer, to change course on the matter and consistently make a choice of conduct in any future situation. I appreciate that the matter of "inaction" is to some extent a philosophical point, but you're the one who brought that term into this. The original legislation uses the term "actions," which is very commonly understood and defined as being synonymous with "conduct" or "behaviour" - "actions speak louder than words" being one such common instance.

So in the first place, the repeal is mistaken in saying the target "bars those who call for violence via direct action," as there's never any distinction between direct and indirect action in the text of GAR#27. The repeal's reading regarding "inaction" then requires a very narrow and exclusive reading of "actions," and I don't believe SP is correct in saying this is a colourable interpretation of the original text rather than the more commonly understood definition given above.

The repeal is (very) misleading, yes. But it isnt wrong to say that it bars those who call for violence via direct action even if it also bars those who call for violence via some other manner... its just not telling the whole truth. That's why "violent" is absent in the second part.
About that exclusive reading of actions - if it were indeed synonymous to these two others then you didn't need the other two qualifiers, so the interpretation is pretty reasonable.

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Bananaistan
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Postby Bananaistan » Tue Feb 02, 2021 1:48 pm

I don't agree with either point. On the first, even if without delving into the section 2 vs section 2 issue, section 3 is in respect of calls for violence etc. A call for some particular action is not the same thing as that action.

On the second, Sep nails it above.
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Imperium Anglorum
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Postby Imperium Anglorum » Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:55 pm

It's a reasonable interpretation to assume an action-inaction distinction. Eg people are not penalised for failing to put themselves in danger when some boy is drowning in a pond at common law. To take one side or the other of an unresolved and two millennium+ long metaphysics dispute seems reasonable to me; the alternative would be basically asking the Secretariat to decide whether the action-inaction distinction exists or not, which seems abjectly foolish when 2 500 years of philosophers have never yet reached consensus. That there exists some 'best' interpretation of a resolution does not preclude taking other reasonable interpretations in Honest mistake cases. Separatist Peoples, NationStates (19 Jun 2018) viewtopic.php?p=34221725#p34221725.

I think the other point, which reads section 3 of the target to prohibit 'actions that would cause harm to innocent people' in protests themselves, to be itself an honest mistake. Section 3 doesn't regulate conduct during the protest, it regulates the content of the speech itself, ie 'Freedom of Assembly cannot be extended towards any call for... actions that would cause harm to innocent people'.
Last edited by Imperium Anglorum on Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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