Minnesota Chapter Mobilizes Against Fusion Center Funding

Fusion Center Funding Victory

Our Minnesota chapter recently had a major victory, getting increased fusion center funding removed the Minnesota House Public Safety and Senate Judiciary omnibus budget bills. This blocked the Minnesota State Governor Tim Walz’s plan to appropriate more money to fusion centers in Minnesota in order to expand their operations.

Governor Walz attempted to justify this 2.27 million dollar budget increase as a way to combat “domestic terrorism” along the lines of what we saw January 6th at the Capitol. But this is a lie more than a decade old. Fusion centers are ineffective at preventing terrorism, often with terrorism reporting described as “outdated, duplicative, and uninformative” and “nothing of value.

Proponents of the increased fusion center funding claim that it would be used to combat white supremacist terrorism; but the continual focus of fusion centers across the nation is the drug war, protest surveillance, and targeting of Muslims, undocumented immigrants, and Black people. More surveillance does not make us safe, and we especially reject the notion that it will ensure the safety of our BIPOC neighbors.

Upon hearing of Governor Walz’s plan, activists in the Minnesota Restore the Fourth chapter mobilized “an email and petition campaign, testified at relevant committee hearings, hosted an event highlighting the issues with fusion centers, and began a public education campaign on social media.” This campaign was successful, and fusion center funding has been removed from local budget discussions for now.

As an organization dedicated to ending unconstitutional mass government surveillance, Restore the Fourth views fusion centers as a direct and dangerous threat to your fourth amendment rights. You can read more about the dangers of fusion centers here.

Protesting in the Age of Mass Surveillance

The rights to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievance are under acute threat, domestically and internationally. If you want to find out more about how to protest without the government tracking you, our Minnesota chapter held a timely discussion Thursday on “Protesting in the Age of Mass Surveillance” with technologist Bruce Schneier, RT4 Litigation Chair Mahesha Subbaraman, ACLU-MN attorney Isabella Nascimento and Freddy Martinez of Open The Government, moderated by Minneapolis activist and RT4 Program Associate Jo Facklam.

Audio only: https://watch.rt4mn.org/videos/watch/8f7524ef-8dba-4a26-b763-f349102288be

Restore the Fourth Minnesota will also be hosting a series of hands on workshops for activists on the ground to receive personalized attention from security experts and protest veterans.