The Bill of Rights Defense Committee & Defending Dissent Foundation protects the right of political expression to strengthen participatory democracy, and to fulfill the promise of the Bill of Rights for everyone.
Our Vision and Values
Freedom to dissent is essential to a functioning democracy, and every person under U.S. jurisdiction or control is entitled to Bill of Rights protections. At all times and especially when federal, state, or local governments propose or enact laws or policies that threaten or deny those rights, the people organize, exercising those same rights in the service of protecting them. Most people understand that the country cannot be made safer by sacrificing some rights for all or part of its population. When the people know and exercise their rights, the liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights hold firm and remain self-sustaining.
BORDC/DDF is guided by the Bill of Rights, which was adopted to limit the power of the state over individuals and to preserve basic human and individual rights for every person under U.S. jurisdiction or control, even in times of war or other national crises, and regardless of who holds elected power. The standards of the Bill of Rights define the fundamental protections for every person in our society, namely:
- First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to dissent;
- Liberty from unwarranted government intrusion;
- Nondiscrimination and equal protection of the law;
- The expectation of privacy, and protection from unreasonable search and seizure;
- Due process of law and freedom from arbitrary imprisonment via habeas corpus;
- A speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; and
- Protection from cruel and unusual punishment.
We seek to hold government accountable to We the People and create a nation where police and intelligence agencies cannot be used as tools of repression or to silence dissent.
Our work will ensure government accountability and transparency, end profiling based on personal characteristics (such as race, religion, ideology or gender) by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and will protect our private information and activities from unwarranted government spying.
- We build connections across identities and ideologies to expose patterns of government repression.
- We support local coalitions challenging repression and organizing to protect constitutional rights, offering leadership, training, tools and resources to support our grassroots partners.
- We connect grassroots activist to national policy debates, following principle, not political expediency or compromise to advocate for transformative reform.
- We monitor and gather evidence of unconstitutional, illegal, unethical and undemocratic government tactics to illustrate how a variety of movements and people are targeted. We empower and give voice to grassroots activists and movements by highlighting stories of resistance.
As a grassroots advocacy organization wielding limited resources, BORDC/DDF is not in a position to offer individual legal advice or representation.
About the merger of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation
In 2015, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Defending Dissent Foundation agreed to merge to place both organizations and their respective supporters in an even stronger position to help restore constitutional rights eroded by executive agencies.
While BORDC was established to fight the PATRIOT Act in the wake of its passage under the Bush administration, DDF was founded decades ago to fight the McCarthy-era witch hunt that targeted law-abiding Americans on the basis of their political beliefs. Both organizations are committed to popular constitutionalism, and work with grassroots Americans from all walks of life to help them raise their voices to confront the national security state.