The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Legal Observer program was established 50 years ago in response to anti-war protests during the Vietnam era in defense of people swept up in mass arrests.
The program is designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system.
In this training you’ll be guided through the Legal Observer Manual by an experienced Legal Observer instructor and Guild member. Please note: reading the manual alone does not constitute an official training.
You will also learn how to become an official NLG Legal Observer.
The right to the city is a cultural right as much as it is a political and social one. Over the past fifty years, capitalism has dramatically changed the character and rhythm of the city. As rents have gone up and schools have been neglected and privatized, our alienation from urban environments has been underlined. This is illustrated and concentrated in the relationship of both governments working and poor people to art.
As the urban core is gentrified, struggling artists, musicians and writers are displaced alongside people of color and the poor. Even as mid-level and DIY art and performance spaces are shuttered and culture workers struggle from lack of government spending on the arts, artists and their art are frequently used (consciously and/or unconsciously) as a key part in gentrification projects. Recent protests of art galleries expanding into working-class neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color underline the problem.
Strategies to counter the use of art in gentrification are not merely about the defense of art as a concept; they are about the defense of art as a right in how working people engage with and shape their environments. They must take into account the political and material realities of multiple (overlapping) constituencies. This includes reckoning with the current political and economic state of art, music, literature and culture in the neoliberal age, their weakened position in relation to both the forces that commodify it and movements for genuine liberation. This panel will examine the current conjuncture of art and geographic political economy, and suggest strategies that re-engage working people with their right to expression and liberation.
Race in the United States was invented to keep poor white indentured servants from finding common ground with enslaved Africans. Today, that legacy continues to hinder attempts by white activists to build healthy and sustained solidarity relationships with people of color in movements for racial and economic justice. This workshop seeks to increase participants’ awareness of how behaviors rooted in unexamined white privilege can impact multiracial activist spaces and explore ways to develop mutually accountable and healthy relationships with people of color. This workshop will also address how to respond to other white people who, with their behavior and decisions, may be impacting people of color in harmful ways. Moving away from guilt and shame, the focus will be on strategies and practices for calling others in to relationship and learning.
Wallace Shawn is an Obie Award-winning playwright and a noted stage and screen actor. In his beautiful essays -- one of which he will read in this panel -- Shawn takes readers on a revelatory journey through high art, war, politics, culture, and privilege. Whether writing about the genesis of his plays, such as Aunt Dan and Lemon; discussing how the privileged world of arts and letters takes for granted the work of the ѓ??unobtrusives,ѓ?ќ the people who serve our food and deliver our mail; or describing his upbringing in the sheltered world of Manhattanѓ??s cultural elite, Shawn reveals a unique ability to step back from the appearance of things to explore their deeper social meanings. He grasps contradictions, even when unpleasant, and challenges us to look, as he does, at our own behavior in a more honest light. He also finds the pathos in the political and personal challenges of everyday life. With his distinctive humor and insight, Shawn invites us to look at the world with new eyes, the better to undertandѓ??and change it. For the paperback edition of his critically acclaimed nonfiction book Essays, published by Haymarket Books, Shawn has written a provocative and moving philosophical discussion titled "Why I Call Myself a Socialist." Shawn will read his essay and engage in a lively discussion with audience members who attend.
From the beginning the Occupy Wall St. movement has used and been informed by comics and memes. From V for Vendetta masks to "We are the 99%" tumblr. These images and slogans tell stories that relate what the movement is about.
Storytelling has always been central to the work of organizers and movement builders. Narrative is the lens through which humans process the information we encounter
Occupy Comix uses Comic books as a medium to express the stories of the 99% to shift the popular narrative to the side of justice. This panel will be a mix of artist and writers of Occupy comix and World War 3 Illustrated sharing how they are doing this through the medium of comics. They will also be showing how comics can rock your world.
It is our view that we still live in what Herbert Marcuse called a one-dimensional society that is dominated by one-dimensional thinking. One-dimensional thinking sees only the facts of an oppressive/repressive social existence and not the possibilities for liberation that are equally present. This thesis in Marcuse's book "One-Dimensional Man" seems to imply that critical consciousness has been so whittled down by repressive forces that there is no hope for liberation. This year is the 50th anniversary of the publication of that book. While we believe that we are in a society that is still under the spell of one-dimensional thinking, we also believe that possibilities for liberation are still present. The purpose of this panel is to examine new forms of one-dimensional thinking while at the same time exploring the new possibilities for liberation.
This is no exageration! You use the Internet. It's important to your life and your work. That's why the government is so interested in your data. If you use gmail or Google's search engine or Facebook or most of the popular "cloud" programs, all your communications go directly to the National Security Agency. You can protect yourself, your data and your communications and it's not hard. We'll show you how in this workshop. It would be helpful, although not necessary, to have a laptop computer.