Perspectives: Housing is a Human Right

By Rob Robinson, Take Back the Land Leadership Committee The movement should be led by impacted communities, primarily women of color.  This core principle of Take Back the Land (TBTL) stands front and center on this December 10th, 2013, a day that is recognized around the world as Human Rights Day.  TBTL is a network of grassroots organizations from around the country which uses non-violent civil disobedience and direct action…

December 10, 2013

Bioethics, Scientific Research and the GMO Debate

“Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors…in order that the creations of our minds shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind.  Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.” – Albert Einstein’s Speech to students at California Institute of Technology on February 16, 1931 “Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to…

September 22, 2013

Perspectives: Black Workers, the Public Sector and the Future of Labor Unions

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is an internationally known racial justice, labor and global justice activist and writer.  The attacks on the public sector over the last several years by the political Right have brought forward increasing concerns about the impact of such assaults on communities of color generally, and workers of color in particular.  Economists, such as Dr. Steven C. Pitts at UC-Berkeley Labor Center, have called attention to the impact…

September 1, 2013

Labor’s Renaissance: Bold Organizing and Partnerships Needed in the New Economy

From Dissent Magazine In 2011, Wisconsin public sector workers demonstrated to fight changes to their state collective bargaining laws, and upwards of 100,000 workers assembled on the state capitol.  Rightly, the workers saw this change by Governor Walker as an effort to bust unions, given that union density in the private sector had decreased to 7%, but in the public sector it is at 35%.  Pitting public sector unions against the…

August 28, 2013

Florida’s Strange Fruit

I hear you when you say don’t be surprised by the acquittal of George Zimmerman. With the lingering stench of racism, even the enlightened of us can begin to forget that our criminal legal system is rotten at its core.   Desmond Meade, President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition reminds us of the pungency of Florida’s Jim Crow atmosphere. We are all lulled by the sweet scent that a trial…

July 14, 2013

(inter)Generation Movement Lawyer 2.0

In the 1960s, the term movement lawyer emerged to identify the lawyer that provided legal support to the social movements of the time from civil rights to women rights.   Movement lawyers fell along a wide ideological spectrum from Thurgood Marshall as the lawyer for NAACP to William Kunstler.   There were less publicly known lawyers such as Leo Branton Jr. who represented Angela Davis. Since then, lawyers who see their work…

June 14, 2013

Bangladesh Building Collapse Has Political Consequences in US

Bangladesh collapse has political consequences in US Raising the level of standards for workers’ rights If workers rights are given, will they ask for more accountability

May 22, 2013

New York’s Pro Bono Requirement: Impetus to Incorporating a Social Justice Curriculum in the First Year of Law School

— Martin Luther King, Jr. , 18th April, 1959 Last year, in 2012, Chief Judge Lippman announced a new pro bono requirement for all applicants seeking admission to the New York State Bar to perform 50 hours of legal services under the supervision of an attorney.  Pro bono service is defined generally as any law-related activity performed for low income or disadvantaged individuals.  This new requirement was intended to address…

May 15, 2013

Crushing Greed; Building Transnational Labor Solidarity

“The hierarchy of poverty has deadly consequences.” Born during Bangladesh’s war for independence, our home was bombed and I survived as the family tale goes cocooned by the rubbles of concrete and iron bars. Soon after, in December 1971, Bangladesh gained its independence.  Intertwined with the genesis of Bangladesh, I grew up on a steady narrative of survival stories from political unrest, floods, and garment factory tragedies. Bangladeshis would repeat…

April 27, 2013

If There’s a Movement, and NYT Doesn’t Cover it, Is it a Movement?

Police Crush Pro Democracy Movement – 1987 Nobel prize poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore has a famous song cherished by Bengali activists which loosely translates to:  If no one heeds your call, then travel the road by yourself.  This has been interpreted as a call for courage and an inspiration to chart a path for social justice on one’s own.  But does that make a social movement? Of course, quotes abound…

April 16, 2013