The People’s Strike, formed as a growing coalition of workers, community, and political organizations confronting the COVID-19 pandemic by struggling against inept and corrupt government and the forces of capital—embodied by banks, corporations, brokers, and others— that put profit before the people and the planet and had such a disparate impact upon BIPOC. The NLG was an early endorser of the People’s Strike, as its principles are in alignment with the NLG’s mission of putting human rights and the rights of ecosystems over property interests and profit.
The People’s Strike is also now focusing on the mass outrage reflected in the current nationwide uprising for the movement for Black lives against racist police violence. Economic justice and the police/prison injustice system are two of the issues emphasized in the People’s Strike’s list of 17 demands, and they are key contexts in which white supremacist and capitalist violence proliferates with impunity.
Kali Akuno, co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, is one of the key organizers behind the People’s Strike. He recently gave an inspiring presentation to the NLG International Committee, emphasizing that while there have been periodic mass radical movements, all of which the NLG has been involved in, what has been lacking is organization for lasting change, rather than superficial reforms. He foresees growing repression (including of lawyers defending the movement), necessitating even more organized, coordinated responses. Read his article on this in Popular Resistance, and watch his interview on Democracy Now.
NLG members have an invaluable role to play in the People’s Strike. There are three areas of Guild legal work that will become increasingly essential as the movement and organization gain strength, along with relevant NLG resources for each:
- Mass defense: nlg.org/massdefenseprogram: Know Your Rights materials in 6 languages, and a COVID-19 KYR guide (written in collaboration with Vision Change Win), info on Legal Observers, and legal support hotlines
- Eviction defense: NLG Housing & Homelessness Committee and their recent webinar on organizing for #HousingForAll
- Labor rights: NLG Labor & Employment Committee
Bankruptcy lawyers would also be an invaluable resource. If you are interested in offering your legal expertise in any of these areas, please email peoples.strike.LC@gmail.com
The Guild has always been there as the legal arm of the movement. Now is the time to proudly stand with the people again.
No justice, no peace!