Community Organizing @ AU Law

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

In American University’s law school lecture series this Spring, legal training is virtually indistinguishable from community organizing.  In fact, sometimes the AU literature explicitly endorses organizing communities.

For example, AU is devoting its program on February 29, 2012 to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. “The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a milestone for the fair treatment of LGBT members of the Armed Forces, but non-discrimination in recruitment and staffing does not mean equality has been achieved,” AU tells us. “To the contrary, the DADT repeal did nothing to address the persistent discrimination against transgender service members, and left significant questions unanswered concerning how the spouses of LGBT service members in civilly recognized same-sex marriages will be treated in the post-ban era. In this panel discussion, the speakers will discuss these and other issues and what remains to be done to achieve equality for all members of the Armed Forces.”

Similarly, on March 1, 2012, AU is urging collegiates to “Join us to end the death penalty.” Later that month, AU devotes a program to sustainable development.

On April 9, 2012, AU Law presents a program on “The politics of organizing for worker’s rights.” “In the fall of 2011, the Occupy Wall Street protests captured the national [interest] and came just months after the historic Madison, Wisconsin protests, which focused on the repeal of collective bargaining rights and certain pension and health benefits of state employees,” the Labor and Employment Law Forum  at AU, which set up the seminar, explains.  “At the heart of these ongoing debates is the fate of the American worker.  This symposium will examine the critical role of political action, both formally through unions and informally through grassroots community organizing, in the ongoing fight for workers’ rights.”

“The morning will feature a plenary session on the history of the labor movement and its intersection with politics, a panel discussion on the impact of the economic recession on the American worker and the impact of Citizens United on the 2012 political landscape. In addition, breakout sessions will examine how class, immigration status, race, and gender affect organizing while providing an opportunity for organizers and scholars to share ideas and develop strategies.”

Don’t ask these law school grads to change your will for you. They probably won’t have time, but then, they may not have jobs either.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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