ACLU Rant, Redux
Posted: 23 August 2007 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  195
Joined  2007-07-24

2007 or 1957? We report, you decide.

I only heard about it on Facebook, where people started groups dedicated to seeking justice for the Jena six. I’ve been a card-carrying member of the ACLU for a month and a half or so, so it only makes sense that I’d get an update by email telling me something about the story of Mychal Bell, who was sentenced by an all-white jury to 22 years for aggravated assault of a white student, even though the victim was only lightly injured and white people who committed the acts that provoked the assault were not even given a slap on the wrist.

But no. I never got anything. In fact, I don’t see any reference to Jena in the ACLU online newsroom, with four months’ worth of press releases (I think Bell was convicted two months ago).

This is supposedly what the ACLU is good at: providing competent legal counsel to the unjustly accused. But instead of doing that, it’s giving me updates of its shrill ad campaign against Pelosi and Reid.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 August 2007 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Yeah, I was a member for quite a while.  I decided to become active in the local chapter and ended up as president of it.  That put me into much closer contact with their administration, and it nauseated me.  I still applaud their legal efforts related to the Constitution, but their socio-political efforts and reasoning leave much to be desired.  What’s funny is that they fight for the representative democracy defined by the Constitution, but operate the organization as an oligarchy with a great many drones and only a few people as megalomaniacal power centers.  I resigned from the chapter, and the organization two years ago.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 August 2007 10:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15370
Joined  2006-02-14

Might be good to get a bit more color on what you see as the problem with the ACLU’s policies. Many, many organizations (including this one) have been accused of quasi-oligarchic behavior. What distinguishes a bad one from a good one are the actions that are undertaken by the leadership. So, that said, which were the bad actions?

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 August 2007 10:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

A number of things.  One, they have a whole series of policies to which the local chapters have to conform, however, they make it quite difficult to see them.  One only learns of them when the chapter doesn’t comply.  Two, they have a very strict (and to my mind, irrational) Affirmative Action Policy for the Chapters, but they have rules that allow the higher levels of the organization to circumvent the policy.  Three, they require all actions by the local chapters be submitted to the higher levels for approval prior to doing anything.  I can see this for politically sensitive things, but a party or a discussion group, come on.  Four, the Bylaws the Area imposed on the Chapters were internally inconsistent.  When it was pointed out that the chapter could not comply with both conflicting requirements, the response was essentially a shrug of the shoulders.  I just learned that the chapter I had been involved with was recently decertified because they didn’t get notice of their election out according to the precise timetable the Area requires.  I could probably go on, but this all I recall at the moment.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1161
Joined  2007-07-16

yeah, ive heard lots about the inner-bullshit of ACLU. i remember that romero crap about silencing dissidents

Muzzled at the ACLU
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0614-25.htm

 Signature 

“Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.” ~ Robert Jensen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15370
Joined  2006-02-14

I am sure you are right about their inner politics, Occam. But I do so hate to beat up on them; they do a hell of a lot of good in a field that is depressingly in need of attention. What are the viable alternatives to their sort of legal work?

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1161
Joined  2007-07-16

doug, they need and deserve the agitation and constructive criticism. its shouldnt be a matter of what the viable alternatives are. it should be a matter of them correcting their malarkey.

youre a bright guy. it would be foolish to let you have free passes because youre smart and we appreciate that aspect of you. when you mess up you need to have a good kick in the ass to get you back on the path.

the problem is, romero and some others are resisting the proverbial kicks in the ass. that means they need to be kicked a bit harder.

personally i think the ACLU needs a change in leadership.

 Signature 

“Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.” ~ Robert Jensen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  195
Joined  2007-07-24
dougsmith - 24 August 2007 09:46 AM

I am sure you are right about their inner politics, Occam. But I do so hate to beat up on them; they do a hell of a lot of good in a field that is depressingly in need of attention. What are the viable alternatives to their sort of legal work?

On most of the racial stuff, there’s the NAACP and the ADL, and for the religious things you have Americans United. For the privacy, habeas corpus, and free speech angles there really isn’t any organization, but those tend to go top-down from the Supreme Court, so perhaps the most effective form of activism is pressuring presidents to appoint more civil libertarian Supreme Court justices. This in itself is somewhat problematic because both Clinton and Giuliani are actively hostile to civil liberties, and the rest won’t win, so it might be most prudent to focus on the state level, in order to expand the pool of qualified liberal judges and constrict this of conservative ones… all this is very long-term, obviously. In the short term, most of the problem will fix itself in a year and 5 months, when Gonzales leaves office.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15370
Joined  2006-02-14

Right, but they do a lot of quite high-powered pro bono work, that wouldn’t get done (or done nearly as well) without them. They bring all sorts of very important cases to the courts, and have the funds to stick with them.

There are other organizations out there, but the ACLU is extremely important, and does good work. I doubt that these problems will end after Gonzales, although it will get better.

And I certainly agree that they deserve a “kick in the pants” ... I was trying to put the kick in context.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  195
Joined  2007-07-24

(The organization that’s providing the attorneys for the Jena six is the Southern Poverty Law Center, if anyone wants to contribute)

Actually, if people start noisily quitting the organization over its authoritarianism and its mismanaged focus, it might take on even more pro bono cases, as it shifts away from political ads.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Doug, I certainly agree that they do excellent legal work, and I think I stressed that in my earlier posts.  As for bashing them, I was going to let it go with a general statement, but you challenged me for specifics.  I don’t think you can fault me for giving those specifics in that case.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15370
Joined  2006-02-14
Occam - 24 August 2007 03:29 PM

Doug, I certainly agree that they do excellent legal work, and I think I stressed that in my earlier posts.  As for bashing them, I was going to let it go with a general statement, but you challenged me for specifics.  I don’t think you can fault me for giving those specifics in that case.

Absolutely. I wasn’t intending to fault you.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ deleted      Mother Teresa, very doubtful ››