On May 9, the Maryland chapter of the National Lawyers Guild hosted a celebration of multiple historic civil rights milestones, including what would have been the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The NLG gathering was also a send-off for a march commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign, a 1968 effort to push for economic and social justice for poor people in the United States. The evening was an inspirational gathering of social justice lawyers, activists, artists, and people who took part in the campaign.
Kimberly Rivera, a conscientious objector and pregnant mother of four was recently sentenced to 10 months in jail because she refused to serve in the Iraq war.
Today marks 32 years that Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera has spent in U.S. prison for his involvement in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence.
Today is May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. It is being recognized by millions of working people throughout the world. For over a century, May Day has been a day of celebration for people struggling against exploitation and oppression. As a result, it is representative of a cross-section of our work in the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).
Every year, the National Lawyers Guild organizes regional conferences to bring together Guild attorneys, law students, legal workers, and community members across the country. These regional conferences include panels, trainings, and workshops on topics of interest to the radical legal community. They also provide the opportunity for NLG members to talk to allies and supporters about the Guild’s work and vision. This year, each regional conference was hosted by an NLG law student chapter in collaboration with the NLG National Office, regional representatives, and local Guild members.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Clapper vs Amnesty Int’l has now made it nearly impossibly to review through civil lawsuits many of the government’s most egregious tactics in the war on terror. While the decision in Clapper is new, it reflects a continuing saga of a war not on terror, but on the rule of law. Another part of that saga has involved our government’s treatment of, and denial of due process to, those accused of terrorism.
As the new year ushers in a new administration in Puerto Rico, legal activists there are eagerly awaiting this year's NLG convention, which presents a unique opportunity for dialogue and solidarity. In its short tenure, the new government has brought some positive change, attempting to reverse some of the most draconian measures implemented by the previous conservative administration. Those include criminalizing dissent with prison terms for “obstructing” or “perturbing” public functions, universities, and lawmakers.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) has decided that riling up anti-Muslim sentiment through bus and subway ads is its only hope for attaining relevancy. The ads began appearing last fall in major cities across the country, featuring a slogan calling Muslims “savage.” In San Francisco, the latest round is set to appear on city buses in April, showing anti-gay quotes by radically conservative Muslims in an apparent effort to convince gays and our allies to hate Muslims in general. We must take action against the presence of these patently offensive ads on our buses.
Of all the things that I learned in library school, the two principles that I am always trying to impress upon my fellow Guild members are LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe) and "Give 'em what they want!" (Rawlinson, Nora. "Give `Em What They Want." Library Journal 106 [November 15, 1981]: 2188-2190. Available in Ebsco's Academic Search Premier). This post falls under the latter category.