Law for the People 2014: NLG National Convention September 3-7, Crown Plaza Chicago Metro

Chicago 9/3/2014 – The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Chicago is proud to host the 2014 Law for the People Convention, September 3-7 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, 733 W. Madison St.

The NLG Annual Convention is attended by attorneys, law students, and legal workers. Hundreds of participants from across the country are expected to attend this year’s gathering in Chicago. Workshops and panels include the following subject areas: civil rights, constitutional law, criminal defense, environmental law, human rights, labor & employment, immigration, LGBTQ rights, police misconduct, and prison litigation. More information can be found in the conference brochure and schedule. Attorneys who attend the Convention have the opportunity to earn up to 24 hours of Continuing Legal Education credits.

Keep up with conference attendees on social media by following @NLGNews and #Law4thePeople on twitter.

Conference Facebook event:

The press is invited to attend the following event:

Thurs 9/4/2014: Keynote Speaker – Chicago Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis

7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Metro Ballroom

Karen Lewis is an American Chicago Public Schools teacher and labor leader. She is the current president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and is considering running for mayor.

Please check in at the Chicago Chapter Table in the Hotel Lobby when you arrive at the Crowne Plaza to ensure that you will be provided access to the event.

Chicago hosted the first NLG convention in 1939. Since then, Guild members from Chicago have been at the forefront of the battle for social justice, resisting the repression of radical movements ranging from the Black Panthers, to Vietnam War protesters, to anti-NATO demonstrators and beyond. On August 2, 2014, a Chicago NLG Legal Observer was arrested while documenting ongoing police violence in Ferguson, MO. Three additional NLG-trained Legal Observers were arrested in the town in the days following.

The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.

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URGENT: Please attend CPS “turn around” meetings to support struggling schools

1010928_213106498836621_1949213047_nThe war on teachers and low-income students continues as the CPS proposes to “turn around” three elementary schools next month. This is just more school closings by another name, and continues the aggressive campaign to privatize public education.

Schools targeted include McNair, Dvorak, and Gresham elementary schools, where 97% of the students are African American and low income, and over 50% of the staff is African American. “Turn around” means that ALL of the employees at the school will be laid-off, and the future of the school is handed over to the controversial Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL) for the next school year. The AUSL has an inconsistent track record of raising performance, and has close ties to Chicago’s unelected Board of Education.

Please attend these meetings. These schools are being targeted with a strategy of isolation, but we all know that public education and the loss of jobs has a negative effect on our entire city. Please show up to the following meetings and express solidarity with the teachers, parents, and students.


Wednesday April 2, 2014 from 6pm-8pm at the schools listed below:


April 9th & 10th: Public hearings at CPS’ headquarters:
CPS Central Administration building
125 S. Clark Street, 5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60603
You can also call the Board of Education at (773) 553-1600 and voice your concerns.


Further info.:


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Why are teachers being threatened over the ISAT?

I found a little time on Saturday to revisit some of the recent issues we’ve covered on the show. We talked quite a bit on the March 1st Revolution and Beer weekend show about the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT) boycott that was sparked by several community groups in February. In my googling, I came across Ben Joravsky’s piece from March 4th where he explains the experience of actually reading the school code for the state of Illinois. He was in search of the legally binding mandate to administer the tests. Since dire warnings of punishment, and even threats of termination, were issued to those teachers who declined to give the test, then certainly there was clear language within the code justifying such retaliation. Spoiler alert: He couldn’t find the ISAT in the code.

The comments on articles like this are always interesting at the very least, and sometimes extremely informative. That is, if you can wade through waives brain-dead contrarian BS, partisan cheer-leading, and all-out trolling. Even I couldn’t help myself and had to contribute to the anything-goes political blabber. So much snark; such little grasp of the culture and history of propaganda. You really can’t help but to roll the dice just out of curiosity. This exchange was a favorite:


Aside from some class A comment drama, there was something missing from, or being avoided by, the comments of the pro-ISAT folks on this thread:

“But the law doesn’t specifically mention the ISAT…state law requires that public schools give a test. But there is no law requiring students must take it…That makes me wonder: Did Koch and Chico play hardball with the teachers because (1) they made an honest mistake in their reading of the school code or (2) they do what Mayor Emanuel tells them.”

No one had addressed that.

Also, there are accusations/positions thrown around that the commentors aren’t owning up to:

  1. Just the mere participation of the CTU in a coalition means that the big bad union bosses run the whole thing. (leaves one wondering how such critics would define “community”)
  2. That if citizens have positions similar to the CTU, then they are magically transformed into union operatives; hence their positions and concerns are null and void.

Maybe I’m just missing something, but it appears to me that those applying this rationale are just opposed unions in general, as well as the act of working-class people organizing themselves and sharing resources to better their circumstances, and perhaps even teachers in general. That’s some pretty Koched-up thinking. I guess we should all just stop asking questions and follow orders.

Further Reading:

If you so dare, you too may peruse the school code here.

CTU page about ISAT boycott

Weekly Testing Resistance Round-up:



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