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Uses the law to promote “basic change in the structure of our political and [capitalist] economic system”
- Has longstanding ties to the Communist Party and its front groups
- Defends all manner of America-hating radicals
- Has consistently opposed U.S. foreign policy while supporting America's enemies across the globe
- Has consistently opposed post-9/11 national security measures by the U.S. government
American Civil Liberties Union
American Constitution Society
National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) describes itself as “a non-profit federation of lawyers, legal workers, and law students” that uses the law “to advance social justice and support progressive social movements.” By the NLG's definition, such movements promote “basic change in the structure of our political and [capitalist] economic system,” a system where “vast disparities in individual and social wealth” render “neither democracy nor social justice … possible.” Regarding “human rights” as “more sacred than property interests,” the NLG's crusade to transform society also includes the participation of so-called “jailhouse lawyers” – the Guild's term for incarcerated criminals claiming to have been wrongfully imprisoned by an oppressive state for reasons related to their race, ethnicity, class, or ideology. The NLG's overarching strategy is to “bring together,” into a unified revolutionary force, a host of groups whose members have allegedly been victimized by capitalism's inequities – “workers, women, farmers, people with disabilities and people of color.” “The welfare of the entire nation,” says the Guild, depends upon the efforts of these allied contingents to “eliminate racism” and “maintain and protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them.” With more than 8,000 members nationwide, the NLG has approximately 120 local chapters grouped into nine regions (covering nearly every U.S. state). It also has student chapters at 113 universities and law schools across the United States, and tens of thousands of active supporters worldwide.
The NLG's earliest antecedent was an agency known as the International Class War Prisoners Aid Society (whose Russian-language acronym was MOPR), formed by the Communist International (Comintern) in 1922 as part of its effort to infiltrate American legal organizations. Soon thereafter, MOPR became known as International Red Aid (IRA). In 1925 an American section of IRA was established under the name International Labor Defense (ILD), which in 1936 helped organize the NLG.
Officially launched in 1937 as a progressive alternative to the segregated and comparatively conservative American Bar Association, the NLG was inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the Communist Party's newly launched Popular Front movement, the newly revitalized trade-union movement, and the increased activity of the NAACP. As evidenced by its Comintern roots, there were certainly members of the early Guild who were dedicated Communist revolutionaries. NLG founding member David Freedman, for instance, candidly advocated socialism as a desirable alternative to American capitalism. Communist Party USA (CPUSA) attorneys were also among the NLG's founders. Indeed, the CPUSA required communist attorneys to become Guild members because the organization was evolving into the chief legal instrument of the Party. The NLG's first executiv e secretary, Mortimer Riemer, was himself a Read More CPUSA member.