ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

January 25, 2007

2007.01.25: Antiwar Bulletin: DC Demo Info & New NYCLAW Statement

Filed under: Antiwar,Civil Liberties,Palestine,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 2:33 pm

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 9:08 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: DC Demo Info & New NYCLAW Statement


(Union Free Speech Notice, Below*)

1.  Saturday, January 27, 2007– DC

2.  Endorse New NYCLAW Statement


1. Saturday, January 27, 2007– DC

End the War — Bring All the Troops Home Now!

Labor Contingent: 10:45 rally, 3rd St. at E Street (Judiciary Square Metro stop on the Red Line).  11:30 labor march to main rally.

Buses From NYC: 212-633-6646, 212-868-5545.


2.  Endorse New NYCLAW Statement

[To endorse the statement below, please go to: ]

Mass Movement to End the War Now

New York City Labor Against the War

January 24, 2007

Despite overwhelming rejection of its policies in the November elections, the Bush administration has steadily escalated its war in the Middle East.

This has meant not only ordering thousands more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, but arming and financing Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and its increasingly brutal oppression of the Palestinians, launching a proxy invasion of Somalia, and threatening to attack Iran and Syria.

As in all wars of conquest, ordinary people pay the price. In Iraq alone, this war for oil and empire has killed at least 655,000 Iraqis, caused 50,000 U.S. casualties, promoted civil war, and cost $1.2 trillion — with no end in sight.

Meanwhile at home, the administration continues to attack civil liberties, the Arab-Muslim community, undocumented immigrants, Katrina refugees, people of color and labor.

Yet this is a bipartisan war, and as a willing accomplice, the Democratic Party cannot be trusted to end it. Even now, most politicians refuse to cut-off funding for the occupation of Iraq, let alone end the war as a whole.

History shows that the U.S. got out of Vietnam only due to tenacious Vietnamese resistance and to the mass antiwar movement, particularly among GIs.

Similarly, U.S. war in the Middle East today has been crippled by overwhelming Iraqi resistance, which deserves the support of a mass antiwar movement in this country.

This movement — which belongs to rank-and-file participants, rather than the leaders of any organization — must join together in all upcoming protests, including those on January 27 and March 17.

To be effective, the movement must be led by those with the strongest need and greatest power to end the war, including GIs, veterans, workers, people of color, and immigrants. It must also oppose the entire war and demand justice — at home and abroad:


1. Immediate withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia: No war funding, timetables, redeployment, advisors, air-war, or aid to U.S.

client regimes. Reparations for U.S. devastation of the region.

2. No Support to the Israeli Apartheid State: End the $5 billion annual U.S. government aid to Israel, divest all private investments and union funds, boycott Israel, end the occupation and fully implement the Palestinian right of return.

3. No Attacks on Iran and Syria — Or Anyone Else.


1. Defend Our Civil Liberties.

2. End Attacks on the Arab/Muslim Community.

3. Full Amnesty for Undocumented Immigrants: No detention or deportation.

4. Money for Human Need, Not for War: Rebuild the Gulf Coast for — and under the control of — Katrina survivors. Decent jobs, food, housing, healthcare, education and transportation for all poor and working people.


NYCLAW Co-Conveners

(Other affiliations listed for identification only):

Larry Adams

Former President, NPMHU Local 300

Michael Letwin

Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys

Brenda Stokely

Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Chair, Million Worker March


*Union Free Speech Notice

This message, like thousands of others that have been posted to the ALAA e-list, constitutes protected free speech, pursuant to Collective Bargaining Agreement, §§ 3.5 (“The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed and will never constitute grounds for discharge or relief from an individual assignment unless, in either instance, it can be demonstrated that such expression has, or will, directly interfere(d) with, and detract from, representation of a Society client so as to render said representation less than at the highest level of competence and effectiveness.”) and 1.5 (“The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.”).

January 16, 2007

2007.01.16: Antiwar Bulletin: Sat. Demo to Cut Off War Funds

Filed under: Antiwar,Palestine,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 8:30 pm

Print View
From: Michael Letwin
Date: Friday – February 16, 2007 12:55 PM
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Sat. Demo to Cut Off War Funds

Bush says “Stay the Course”…
The Democrats can’t even pass a non-binding resolution opposing the surge…
The People must STOP the war

Saturday, February 17
Rally at 1 pm in Times Sq.
(Broadway btw. 41st & 42nd)
2 pm March to Senator Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer’s Office

February 17 is “No More $$ for War Day.” In dozens of cities across the country, tens of thousands will take to the streets to demand that Congress cut off all war funding now. Local organizers are planning marches, pickets, rallies, sit-ins, and other forms of protest and resistance. We need money for jobs at a living wage, housing, health care, education, and rebuilding the Gulf Coast — Not for more war!

We will be marching from Times Square to the offices of Senators Clinton & Schumer. Both of these Senators voted for the war, and have continued to support the war for four years, voting for every dollar that President Bush asked for. Join us to demand that they cut off all war funding now.

Also: Sign the Open Letter to Congress –– this will go to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Charles Schumer, and other leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Donate –– Help us with the enormous costs of organizing in cities across the U.S.

Troops Out Now Coalition
55 W. 17th St. 5th Fl., Manhattan

January 8, 2007

2007.01.08: Vigil for Sean Bell – out in Jamaica

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 12:18 pm

From: Lucy Herschel
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 10:17 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Vigil for Sean Bell – out in Jamaica

On Sunday, I went out to the Vigil that Sean Bell’s family is holding out in Jamaica at the 103rd Precinct to call for justice for his death at the hands of the NYPD.

They have called a 50 day, 24 hour-a-day vigil and could use as much support as they can get.  When I went, most of the people there weren’t even connected to the case or any organization, they were just people from the neighborhood who’d read about the vigil and came out to support.

I’d really encourage folks, especially those of us who live in Queens or people from our Queens offices, to go out and support.

Below is the text of the flyer they are handing out. From new reports, I understand that the family is calling for an indictment of the cops involved and the appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the case (since the DA’s office works too closely with the cops to be charged with handling the case).  I think I also saw that the family is calling for Commissioner Kelly to be fired.


50-Day Vigil
in Honor of
Sean Elijah Bell

January 1, 2007 – February 19, 2007

Vigil Location:  103rd Precinct @ 168th Street between 90th & 91st Avenue

If you would like to participate in the Vigil or offer support, call us at


Contribution are appreciated
Kindly send to
Sean Bell Benefit Fund
c/o Mitchell Law Office P.C.
225 Broadway, Suite 1410 New York, NY  10007

The Bell Family and Friends Sincerely Thank Everyone for the Kind Words

Thank You

God Will Always Get the Glory While Sean Bell Gets His Rightful Story

January 2, 2007

2007.01.02: Tell The Nation: No Scab Defenders

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Collective Bargaining,Key Documents — nyclaw01 @ 11:40 am

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2007 3:26 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tell The Nation: No Scab Defenders

In The Nation’s holiday edition, Katha Pollitt recommends donations to Bronx Defenders, one of the nonunion contractors (scabs) set up by Rudolph Giuliani to undermine unionized public defense at The Legal Aid Society.

According to Pollitt, “[i]f every indigent defendant had help like [Bronx Defenders], there would be fewer people in prison and less crime too.” <; .

This is at least the fourth time that the Nation, which proclaims itself prounion, has praised Giuliani’s nonunion indigent defense contracts and/or contractors, whose existence continues to seriously undermine quality indigent representation.  The magazine ignored ALAA’s May 2001 response, below.

The 1994 strike and its aftermath (including establishment of the scab defenders) are discussed at: .

Objections to The Nation’s ongoing complicity can be registered at:

Reply to Justice on the Cheap (The Nation, May 21, 2001) <;

By Michael Letwin
Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325

In Amy Bach’s article on the indigent defense crisis (May 21), consultant Robert Spangenberg makes the puzzling claim that New York City’s use of contracts for such representation is “one of the best.”  In fact, as extensively reported last month by the New York Times, New York’s indigent defense contracts promote the very same “drive-by” representation that Ms. Bach rightly criticizes in other jurisdictions.

The NYC contracts alluded to by Mr. Spangenberg are by-products of the Giuliani administration’s response to a legally-protected October 1994 strike in which Legal Aid Society attorneys and support staff sought, as they have since the late 1960s, to defend the quality of representation for indigent New Yorkers.

Intent on breaking the strike and making an example of the attorneys, Giuliani abruptly cancelled the Society’s city contract and threatened strikers with a PATCO-style blacklist.  Immediately afterwards, the administration began to inflict huge cuts in the Society’s city funding.

Since 1994, the resulting cumulative $160 million cut in the Society’s city funds has whittled the number of Legal Aid’s public defenders from 520 down to 370.  Those who remain to represent an undiminished 200,000 clients each year–without surrendering their commitment to quality–are near, at, or well beyond the breaking point.

The administration used these funds to pay for an explosion of unmonitored, poorly-paid, overwhelmed private counsel.  In addition, it has subsidized seven small-volume, runaway (nonunion) contractors–bearing such innocuous names as “Brooklyn Defender Services” and “Bronx Defenders”–paid more to do less, and beholden to Giuliani for their very existence.

This increasingly dysfunctional defense system competes with fully-funded prosecutors, and with an NYPD responsible not only for the infamous Diallo/Dorismond murders, but for feeding thousands of Black and Latino teenagers into the criminal justice assembly line.  It is a picture that, each day, makes New York City look more like Texas.

Fixing it means ending, rather than praising, Giuliani’s indigent defense contracts.

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