The End of America? Feminist Naomi Wolf to Speak for ACLU of Indiana

October 18, 2007 12:00 am

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INDIANAPOLIS — The ACLU of Indiana will host a reception and guest lecture, entitled “In Defense of Our America: A Call to Action,” to kick off its annual Bill of Rights campaign on Thursday, October 25, 2007, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., featuring best-selling author and feminist, Naomi Wolf. Her most recent book, The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, illustrates how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th Century’s worst dictatorships. She identifies ten common steps that can be witnessed in any shift from a democratic state to one of fascist rule. She urges Americans, especially young patriots, to take action to restore their constitutional values before they suffer the same fate. Wolf has been a long-time advocate and author of women’s issues.

“Recent history has profound lessons for us in the U.S. today about how fascist, totalitarian, and other repressive leaders seize and maintain power, especially in what were once democracies. The secret is that these leaders all tend to take similar, parallel steps. The Founders of this nation were so deeply familiar with tyranny and the habits and practices of tyrants that they set up our checks and balances precisely out of fear of what is unfolding today,” stated Wolf.

“Naomi makes a very compelling argument for us to stand up and take action now before it is too late,” says Claudia Peña Porretti, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana. “When you consider the events of the last six years and compare them to the historical events mentioned in her book, you can’t help but think, ‘Are we headed down the same path?’ Her book is really an eye-opener; a wake-up call.”

The ten steps examined in her book are:

  1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
  2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
  3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
  4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
  5. Harass citizens’ groups.
  6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
  7. Target key individuals.
  8. Control the press.
  9. Declare all dissent to be treason.
  10. Suspend the rule of law.

“Naomi embodies the principle that we, as concerned citizens, need to band together to defend our freedoms and protect our Constitution,” says Peña Porretti. “Even if we don’t agree that these parallels are underway, we can’t deny that the abuses of power by this administration are troublesome.”

Wolf’s talk will be held in the Wynne Moot courtroom of Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, downtown Indianapolis. Admission is $10.00.

The ACLU of Indiana’s Student and Membership conference will be held the following day on Friday, October 26, 2007, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Indiana University School of Informatics at IUPUI, featuring a plenary session and workshops on students’ rights, academic freedom, gay rights, and immigration. Admission is $25.00 for the public and $5.00 for students.

For more information about the reception and conference, please contact Tori Calvert, ACLU of Indiana, 317-635-4059, ext. 233,, or visit our website at

Ms. Wolf will have media availability at the law school at 6:00 p.m. and will be speaking at approximately 6:30 p.m.

The reception is sponsored by the law offices of Barnes and Thornburg and Baker and Daniels. The student conference is sponsored by the faculty of Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.

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