mass defense

Was free speech on mute during the conventions?

CNN
September 9, 2012

"We are under the impression that the whole country is a free speech zone," said Michael Zytkow, a 26-year-old organizer for Occupy Charlotte. "We were bothered by the idea of any government-designated playground."

Carol Sobel, a lawyer from Santa Monica, California, who co-chairs the Mass Defense Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, asked, "Who'd want to use it? You're talking to yourself."

Her group works to push back against what it views as government attempts to stifle dissent.

Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America

Occupy
New York Times Magazine
August 1, 2012

The Anti-Capitalist Brigade started gathering early on May Day at Oakland’s Snow Park. There was free coffee, oatmeal, doughnuts, fliers with the day’s agenda and plenty of pot. A “street medic” — “I just finished a wilderness first-aid course,” he told me when I asked about his training — tended to his first case of the day, a man in his 20s whose leg had been beaten to a purple hue with a metal rod in an overnight fight in the park. Nearby, an organizer reminded protesters to take down the toll-free number for the National Lawyers Guild: “This is important.

Volunteer attorneys steer Occupy protesters through the legal system

McClatchy
October 13, 2011

WASHINGTON — As copycat Occupy Wall Street encampments around the country confront the inevitable legal tangles that come with a nationwide sit-in style protest, a growing army of First Amendment-loving lawyers is shepherding the demonstrators through the legal system at no charge.

Growing numbers of protesters are being arrested for trespassing, failure to disperse and disobeying a lawful order, as city after city confronts the question of whether individual rights to free speech and assembly include the right to camp out on public property.

Oakland Police May Have Violated Policy, Lawyers Contend

The Recorder
October 26, 2011

The Oakland Police Department may have violated a 2003 agreement for handling street protests when it descended on an Occupy Oakland street protest Tuesday night, say lawyers affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild. That group, which is offering legal advice to protesters
arrested Tuesday, helped draft the 2003 policies on how to manage crowded protests, including appropriate use of rubber bullets, tear gas and other less-than-lethal forces.

Meet the Lawyers Keeping an Eye on Occupy Wall Street

American Lawyer
October 18, 2011

"Someone needs to get over to Bank of America."

The shout—aimed at a handful of National Lawyers Guild members gathered around a folding table—came from a group of some 200 people bunched together in lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, a grassless plaza that is the headquarters of the month-old, anti-corporate demonstration known as Occupy Wall Street.

"I'll go," said Zainab Akbar.

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