Lynne Stewart At the Crosshairs: Articles, Interviews & More
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Merchandise Michael Tigar Corner We Get Letters! Links Site Last Updated 7/11/03
Sent to The Nation but not published. Also sent to Z Magazine and The Progressive.
Last Sunday the New York Times carried a politically disturbing article about the courageous defense attorney, Lynne F. Stewart, who has been indicted by the U.S. Government simply for representing her client. Readers of The Nation need to understand the distortions of that slick article, in which the real politics of the case was buried in a profusion of irrelevant personal data about Stewart and her humanist husband, Ralph Poynter.
I first met Lynne and Ralph in 1967, at a meeting of the Teachers' Freedom Party, headed by Poynter, a meeting I attended as the head of the Parent-Community council of District 13 (in northern Brooklyn). Our organizations later joined to work against the central Board of Education, the United Federation of Teachers, the elitist media, government on all levels, and a host of local political hacks of all types. What we opposed was their effort to control the minds of our children and to ensure that the enormous school budget would remain in central hands and so would never be used for real education.
In this struggle for better schools, it was Poynter who first used the term community control. This was not, as the Times implied, a trivial local struggle long since forgotten, for it went beyond the issue of education to that of the decentralization of political authority in general. That has been a fundamental conflict between leftist and rightist political thinking throughout history, with the leftists (progressives or radicals) claiming the human right to control one's own institutions and resources, and the rightists (liberals or conservatives) inhumanly insisting that everything in society must be controlled absolutely by an elite class of ultra-rich selfists.
Soon afterwards, the unified campaign against us was put in the hands of McGeorge Bundy, who was regularly called upon by three Presidents to deal with the real hotspots of the world, such as Vietnam and the Middle East. So if the old saw is true, that we are best judged by who our enemies are, then his involvement, combined with the unrelenting opposition of Stewart and Poynter to sick rightist leaders like Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes and Ashcroft tells us that they are among the most honorable and worthy people of our time.
The next distortion about the Lynne Stewart case is that it is somehow related to her client, Sheik Rahman. But in fact it is only abut the Republican program to subvert the Bill of Rights, and to establish a fascist Department of Justice with new powers of intrusion and oppression. Now even conservative "libertarians" like Alan Dershowitz are supporting the right of our government to torture its prisoners, as if our constitutional right not to be cruelly punished was somehow wrong. Various attorneys have suggested that anywhere from four to six of the Bill's articles are being attacked in this case by the Justice Department, which is controlled by a President and Attorney General who are both pathological conservative extremists and religionists.
Ashcroft picked his target carefully, choosing the attorney least likely to win broad support from other attorneys, and one who represented an unpopular client, a person who is ethnically hated by every Zionist in America. His plan is to use the courts and the elitist media to divide and conquer us all, so that we will forget to defend our constitutional rights. Then, at home as abroad, no one will have any protection against rightist extremists like him and his boss.
Finally, it is suggested in the elitist media that it is inconsistent for a champion of human rights like Stewart to defend a political prisoner, one whom they feel can be described as a narrow-minded religionist, a so-called "terrorist", and an antifeminist to boot. But this distortion sidesteps the real issue. Genuine leftists do not support the Arab people today because of their religion, their social customs, or the tactics that they are forced to use to defend themselves against their more powerful oppressors. No, true leftists support the Arab people in spite of those things, solely because they are no being oppressed or targeted for oppression by the Anglo-American Axis, which includes Israel and now apparently even Russia. And the real purpose of that oppression is to steal their land, liberty, sovereignty, and natural resources.
Our Middle-Eastern policy is not about the acquisition of oil, for we can always buy it from the sellers. It is instead, as the Iraqis say, about the control of all the oil resources of the world. That is what "regime change' is really all about. And under our Big-Oil President and Vice-President, that control is to be stolen by force, by terrorism in fact, and our own national treasury is to be robbed to make that international terrorism possible. But ultimately, as even the tepid Al Gore now warns us, we will all pay the heavy cost of our present government's insanity.
The Antifederalists, the genuine leftists of more than two centuries ago, warned that our elitist constitution would only create another Roman Empire. Well, under the control of rightist liberals and conservatives, our nation has indeed become inhuman, immoral, and a more terrible aggressor than Rome ever was. And that development is what all genuine American leftists oppose - the present rightist campaign against all Arab nations and its intended extension to world domination. Big Oil wants war, this we know. But why should we want it? That is unfathomable, almost too sick to believe.
Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter have always been acutely aware of all these issues, and that is why they are both the targets of the government and the elitists media. But, contrary to the Times, Stewart and Poynter are not alone. They have always been genuine leftists, and so they are still fighting with many other humanists for genuine democracy and justice for all.