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CUNY National Lawyers Guild actually issued a Statement on “What We Mean When We Say “F*ck the Law'”

CUNY National Lawyers Guild actually issued a Statement on “What We Mean When We Say “F*ck the Law'”

To clarify: “When we say “f*ck the law,” we mean f*ck the law.”

The National Lawyers Guild is a leftist group with chapters at numerous law schools.

The City University of New York (CUNY) Law School Chapter of NLG led the protests against and disruption of the lecture by Prof. Josh Blackman, as we documented in “F*ck the law” – CUNY Law students attempt shout-down of conservative law prof.

One of the lowlights of the disruption was a student shouting at Prof. Blackman “Fuck the Law”. Blackman wrote:

A student shouted out “Fuck the law.” This comment stunned me. I replied, “Fuck the law? That’s a very odd thing. You are all in law school. And it is a bizarre thing to say fuck the law when you are in law school.” They all started to yell and shout over me.

The disruption created a lot of negative publicity for CUNY Law, but its Dean defended the disruption:

Via email on Sunday, Mary Lu Bilek, dean of the law school, said that the protest was reasonable because the disruptions ended relatively early in the time frame of the appearance.

“For the first eight minutes of the 70-minute event, the protesting students voiced their disagreements. The speaker engaged with them. The protesting students then filed out of the room, and the event proceeded to its conclusion without incident,” Bilek said.

“This non-violent, limited protest was a reasonable exercise of protected free speech, and it did not violate any university policy,” she added. “CUNY Law students are encouraged to develop their own perspectives on the law in order to be prepared to confront our most difficult legal and social issues as lawyers promoting the values of fairness, justice, and equality.”

That defense of the disruption of a speech has been met with much ridicule, including this from George Mason Law Professor David Bernstein, CUNY Law Needs to Fire its Dean:

Some free-speech provocateurs should consider disrupting the first eight minutes of each of CUNY law school’s classes this week, including by forcing the professor to run a gauntlet of protesters threatening to block entry into their classrooms. After all, we now know that the law school’s official position is that eight minutes of disruption is “a reasonable exercise of free speech.” Meanwhile, Dean Bilek should be fired, and the Department of Education should investigate whether CUNY, a public institution, is violating the First Amendment rights of its guest speakers and students by giving disrupting students carte blanche, at least for eight minutes. The joke is that Dean Bilek is an ABA site visit team member, helping determine whether other law schools should get or keep the necessary accreditation, something she clearly is not competent to do.

Note that I’m not advocating any particular punishment of the students. But surely it can’t be consistent with free speech and university policy to disrupt a speaker. Indeed, that was the law school’s position before the talk. As [Inside Higher Ed] reports: “The law school sent a campuswide email stating that Blackman had a right to speak, and that protests were welcome, but not if they disrupted his appearance. At the beginning of his lecture, a law school official came to the event, repeated that message and then left.”

CUNY NLG is standing by the students who chanted “Fuck the Law.” Not just standing by them, but adopting the slogan as that of CUNY NLG, in a statement tweeted today:

Here’s the text of the Statement via the Google Doc shared by CUNY NLG on Facebook:

What We Mean When We Say “Fuck the Law”
A Statement from CUNY Law’s National Lawyers Guild Chapter

On March 29th, members of CUNY School of Law’s National Lawyers Guild chapter, along with other students, gathered to protest a speaking event hosted by CUNY Law’s chapter of Federalist Society. The Federalist Society invited law professor Josh Blackman to speak on “Free Speech on Campus,” and failed to advertise or notify the community until three days before the event. We understand the Federalist Society’s – and other conservative and alt-right organizations’ – discourse regarding the alleged “assault” on free speech to be a front for the promotion of oppressive ideologies. Much of the dissent that conservative media complains about, including our demonstration, is protected free speech. And as much as he may deny such to be true, we believe that Josh Blackman chose CUNY Law because of its reputation as a radical campus and the likelihood of student dissent.

On March 29th, we entered the room where Blackman was speaking, held signs, and expressed our opposition to his hateful views regarding the recission of DACA, President Trump’s Muslim Ban, and free speech as a necessary protection against claims of hate speech (which Blackman denies exists). We did not prevent Blackman from speaking. After our demonstration, he spoke for 90 minutes. Our presence was important because CUNY Law’s “support” of this event – which went far beyond simply granting Blackman a platform – was unsettling and disappointing.

Of course, as CUNY Law is a public school, we understood that they couldn’t cancel the event. However, CUNY Law promotes itself as as a public-interest law school, committed to diversity, and safe for immigrant communities. Seemingly, this event ran afoul of everything that CUNY purports to stand for. Blackman, and conservatives who espouse similar views, write about the law as though it is inherently neutral. Conversely, Dean Mary Lu Bilek boasts that CUNY Law was founded to be a school “just for people who not only practice the law, but question the law.”

In 1991, when the United States waged war against Iraq, CUNY Law students hung the flag of Iraq and an upside down American flag outside the school in protest. Elected officials directly denounced the display, demanding that administration take the flags down. Pro-military demonstrations took place on the steps of the law school. The late Haywood Burns, the law school’s beloved dean at the time, supported the demonstration. He stood by the students, protecting their right to engage in First Amendment speech opposing military occupation of Iraq, by refusing to take down the flags. In 2018, after learning that Blackman would be visiting CUNY’s campus, Dean Bilek chose not to release a statement admonishing Blackman’s hateful views. She failed to provide a safe space for student`s affected by those views. Instead, Dean Bilek sent CUNY’s policy on “Expression on Campus” without context, threatening protesters with disciplinary action.

In their reports on the demonstration, conservative media has become focused on the words of one protester: “Fuck the law.” Blackman and conservatives alike find it paradoxical that students studying the law could hold such a belief. So, what do we mean when we say “fuck the law”? We mean that law was written to uphold white supremacy, and limit the freedom of communities of color. We mean that the law is not neutral. As it is written, the law oppresses, dehumanizes, displaces, deports, and incarcerates our communities and loved ones. When we say “fuck the law,” we mean that under the the current political administration, we will not engage in a “civil debate” about the validity of someone’s existence. When we say “fuck the law,” we mean fuck the law.

Haywood Burns once described CUNY Law as “a new kind of institution of legal education built on the pursuit of social justice through law.” The event which took place on March 29th, and the presence of the Federalist Society on campus is a sign that CUNY Law has become divorced from this original purpose of bringing students to the legal profession who recognize that the law is oppressive. As such, we welcome the media’s current interest in our institution, and we urge those who are working towards social justice through legal education to join us in holding Dean Bilek and the rest of CUNY Law’s administration accountable to the school’s mission and history.

We stand by our actions at the Federalist Society’s event. As conservative media continues to grasp at straws and characterize our protected speech as anything but, we as a student organization will continue to fight for true justice and safer spaces for marginalized communities. We are calling upon CUNY School of Law to join us in this fight.

I’d love to be able to say this is a parody statement, but alas, it appear to be real.

[Featured Image via CUNY NLG Facebook]


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Hey, I knew just exactly what they meant without the expansion and rant.

The National Lawyers Guild is a leftist group

Where by “lefist” you mean communist.

Even Wikipedia admits that it was anti-war during the Molotov-Ribbentropp period, then turned on a dime when Germany invaded the USSR. To any normal person that’s pretty conclusive evidence, more than enough to convict.

    Tiki in reply to Milhouse. | April 23, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Good thing you puzzled that out for the rest of the class.

    ::: studiously erases word leftist and pens in communist:::

    2008. VOTE OBAMA.
    2018. F THE LAW.
    2020. TWO LEGS BAD.

    Mark in reply to Milhouse. | April 23, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    I also noted the “leftist” characterization as an understatement. The NLG was started by a pro-communist faction, aligned with pro-communist trade-union officials .

    Communist dominated, they were publicly denounced by Adolph A. Berle, Assistant Secretary of State and its founders were sponsors of other Stalinist Innocents’ Clubs. When Mr. Berle resigned from the National Lawyers Guild on June 5, 1940, he explained that “it is now obvious that the present management of the guild is not prepared to take any stand which conflicts with the Communist Party Line.”

    Anyone wishing to read its sordid communist history (up to 1941) might start with Eugene Lyons “Red Decade”, a book available in pdf format (for free). Starting on page 300, he gives a run-down.

    It is not surprising that long after Stalin is dead, they still parrot his love of repression.

    Spurius in reply to Milhouse. | April 26, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Back in the 70s, when I was in the Movement, it was widely known on the left that the NLG was a front group of the pro-Soviet CPUSA. At some point in the mid-70s, a number of pro-China Maoist lawyers, led by the CP (ML), joined the NLG and tried to wrest control of the NLG away from the CPUSA at a national NLG convention.

    Unfortunately, the CPUSA had agents within the CP(ML) who attended the insurgent planning sessions before the convention and took notes. At the convention, these notes were publicized, and the insurgents were accused of secretly plotting a coup.

    This led to a splitting of the ranks of the insurgents and a failure of the attempt to take control of the NLG away from the CPUSA. Virulently anti-American Marxists have controlled it since then.

    The CPUSA fell apart when the USSR did, partly because its funding disappeared, partly because of internal disagreements about how to proceed. One group which emerged from the CPUSA was the Committees of Correspondence, led by now-Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

    A large part of the former CP has now united with many other leftists under a Gramsciian ideology, which is anti-Leninist in that it substitutes the petit-bourgeois intelligentsia for the proletariat as the vanguard of a stealthy non-violent revolution based on slowly taking over all major cultural and political institutions, especially education. It has largely succeeded in this, as evidenced by the CUNY and other campus protests.

    Edward in reply to Milhouse. | April 27, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Many of the founding members were Communist Party members and/or “fellow travelers”. Up through the 50s (at least) the NLG worked with the CP extensively.

You don’t f*ck the law, the law f*cks YOU.

The Friendly Grizzly | April 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm

They express themselves so eloquently.

Does a member of the bar have to disclose membership/former membership of the NLG if asked, not under oath? If my prayers are answered I will never ask the question, but you never know.

F*ck the law? OK. Fair enough. I am immediately issuing this statement:

“F*ck the commies at the National Lawyer’s Guild.”

That is all.

I find it ridiculous that Dean Bilek states “This non-violent, limited protest . . .” when the left claims words are violent acts requiring trigger warnings.

I weep for the country my children will inherit. I refuse to have the attitude of King Hezekiah, who accepted Isaiah’s prophecy while being satisfied he would not live to see the fall

    mochajava76 in reply to mochajava76. | April 23, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    OK, while still agreeing with the gist what I typed above, i am self-correcting the second part of my statement as I did a little digging and learned that Hezekiah’s response in Isa 39:8 can be taken in three ways:

    -smug satisfaction that the prophecy will not be fulfilled in his lifetime
    -a subtle plea that the disaster be diverted
    -an acceptance of the divine announcement.

    A source I discovered found #3 to be convincing. I do not read Hebrew and don’t have the academic book she footnotes, but since I had only heard the first interpretation, i found it interesting.

    DaveGinOly in reply to mochajava76. | April 23, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    You have to recognize the dichotomy established by the left that evidenced in the language of the statement. Their speech is “protected free speech,” while that of their opponents is “hate speech,” which, by (the left’s) definition, is forbidden speech. Only hate speech is “triggering” and “violence.” Their own speech doesn’t qualify as such under their rules.

    The definition as “hate speech” of that which is merely “opposing thought” is meant to reduce the effectiveness of opposing thought by limiting its range and effectiveness in the intellectual battlespace or to drive it from the battlespace altogether.

    You can dominate the intellectual battlespace if you redefine words and concepts to exclude from the it those weapons that you don’t have the firepower to overcome.

      oldgoat36 in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 24, 2018 at 7:35 am

      That has been the left’s modus operandi for ages, change the meaning of words, change the definitions to what they want it to mean. FDR changed what Liberal means, that when he found that Progressive was not hiding their agendas, so co-opting the liberal mantle, they could hide the progressive agenda and people at that time knew liberalism was what helped bring about the founding documents.

      Now it seems they change language all the time so you are playing catch up trying to define things using common language, when they have loftier meanings attached to them. Just like diversity doesn’t really mean that anymore, it is just a means to pound on whitey, and everyone in that “diverse” group must conform to one ideology. It makes your brain hurt to make that convoluted thinking make sense.

DINORightMarie | April 23, 2018 at 6:09 pm

They should all fail law school if the believe that the law is oppressive and written to be “white supremacist,” with no exception.

These Communists really are so deeply indoctrinated they can’t figure out what is real, and that the numbers of “people of color” in prisons is NOT because of laws being “white supremacist” or used in a racial, biased manner……but rather because the people who are in jails were PROVEN BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT TO BE GUILTY.

Are there miscarriages of justice? Of course! It is a system built by humans, and is therefore not perfect, and never will be.

Is it the most fair and just system ever in the history of man? YES, and that is supported by studies that are not agenda-driven, or ideologically biased to the point of being agitprop/propaganda.

Fire the dean; fail the students who go to this law school that say “f*ck the law” (while becoming debtors for years, no doubt); put their names on a list of students who should not be accepted into law ANY schools, since they stand emphatically by their “f*ck the law” stance.

They don’t DESERVE to be in a position of power – i.e. to be in courts of law, defending or prosecuting, with their flawed SJW causes warping their view of blind justice, the law, and what the rule of law has done to FREE peoples from poverty, slavery, and oppression.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to DINORightMarie. | April 23, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    So right.

    What they did should get any lawyer debarred for life.

    “They should all fail law school if the believe that the law is oppressive”

    They’re basically saying that the law should only apply to you if you’re white. Applying the law to Hispanic invaders or Black murderers would be oppressive and therefore forbidden.

    oldgoat36 in reply to DINORightMarie. | April 24, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Miscarriages of justice, while an unfortunate side effect, is part of what makes the law balanced. The Constitution was to make us see all are equally protected under the law, and thinking that it is better for a criminal go free than an innocent pay for crimes they didn’t commit because of how laws were applied.

    We’ve come a long way, baby… progressive thought sure looks more like regression. In their unending push to vilify their opposing parties, in the name of freedom, they move toward ever more tyranny.

    puhiawa in reply to DINORightMarie. | April 24, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    And they expect to live wealthy comfortable lives all the while destroying the lives and future of others.
    Like all elite leftists.

    ConradCA in reply to DINORightMarie. | April 25, 2018 at 12:40 am

    The disproportionate number of blacks in jail are there because a disproportionate number of blacks commit crimes. If they don’t want to go to prison then they should stop committing crimes.

Imagine these actions playing out from the opposite direction, in that the speaker was a leftist, and a conservative group of law students protested this way to shut down the speaker for a length of time. Would the Dean have the same reaction to that protest, or would the Dean be coming down on the protestors?

I see convoluted thinking on University campuses all the time. In the quest for diversity, they oppress. They don’t want equal protections under the law, as that is unfair in some convoluted manner. And these are the ones who will take over running this country and world. They view tyranny as being ok if it supports their views while keeping blind to the damage it is doing to our society. PC talk is working just as Chairman Mao thought it would, and why the left loves it so much.

    Voice_of_Reason in reply to oldgoat36. | April 24, 2018 at 8:11 am

    conservatives view orwell’s 1984 as a warning.

    leftists view it as an instruction manual.

    as is plainly evidenced by the way modern universities operate.

Voice_of_Reason | April 24, 2018 at 7:59 am

well, the national lawyers guild just laid out a case that we have no societal need for lawyers, because “fuck the law”. let’s just settle things the old fashioned way, with tribal violence like the hutus and tutsis.

Voice_of_Reason | April 24, 2018 at 8:05 am

hate speech, 1st definition: anything a liberal doesn’t like

racist, first definition: anything a liberal doesn’t like

nazi, 1st definition: anything a liberal doesn’t like

i could go on with fascist, misogynist, islamaphobic, etc. but you get the point

Define Irony,

A group of pampered idiots using the protections afforded them by the first amendment and freedom of speech, to disrupt a speech about the first amendment and freedom of speech.

You just can’t make this up.

[and the event proceeded to its conclusion without incident,” Bilek said.]

Without incident?

Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

No law firm or prosecutors office should ever hire someone associated with this group.

How ironic that a “law professor” is citing “the law” and university policy to protect I individuals who dont give a damn about the law

This is just the latest in proof that academia and its denizens have lost their minds. Seriously, what is the point of paying tuition for law school when you believe it is a tool for opression? They’ve gone far in making sure CUNY law school grads will have difficulty finding jobs. (They do know they’re going to have to earn a living, right?)

So if the 1st amendment protects everyone, the law is not neutral. Uh-huh. Not the greatest minds, are they?