International Committee Schedule for the Law For the People Convention 2018

The following schedule contains items organized or co-organized by the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, its working groups and subcommittees. There are many more events of interest to IC members taking place at the Convention, including the Anti-Racism Training, TUPOCC Meeting, Keynote speech with Kshama Sawant, Awards Banquet and much more! For full schedules and annotated agenda, please visit the NLG site at Unless noted otherwise, all events will take place at the Benson Hotel, 309 SW Broadway, Portland, OR. 

Thursday, November 1:

9:00 am – 12:00 pm: International Committee Meeting (Parliament 1-3)

Join us to discuss International Committee work, urgent issues around the world and plan for our next year of activity!

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm: International Committee CLE (Windsor)

Protecting Our Future: Defend Voting Rights and Mitigate Climate Change

This CLE will discuss practical uses of international human rights law for confronting two pressing issues: Mitigating Climate Change and Defending the Right to Vote. Participants will learn about relevant UN treaties and Inter-American declarations and how they are being incorporated into litigation at State, Federal and International forums. Particular emphasis on recent precedents, legal cases and findings as well as creative use of Amicus curae and expert testimonies in select ongoing cases; highlighting the Oregon case of Juliana vs US, and other Climate Justice cases being heard in EU as well as important ongoing litigation in the US challenging voter suppression.

CLE faculty will address the massive attack on voting rights across the United States. Across the country, massive voter purges are stripping thousands from the rolls, and this is having a vastly disproportionate effect on Black communities and other communities of color, particularly working-class people. How can we fight effectively to defend the right to vote? Practitioners will discuss domestic and international law strategies in use in cases across the country. CLE faculty will also address the rights of the earth and children, under attack even more as environmental protections are rolled back in support of corporate interests even as climate change poses a severe threat to the future. Around the world, climate change under capitalism is producing mass displacement and poverty. Children and youth have filed a lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, alleging that unchecked climate change violates the rights of children. The CLE will include active examples of the use of international law in relevant contexts to defend human rights in the United States.

CLE Information: CA and OR accreditation will be arranged through National Lawyers Guild.

CLE Faculty: Jennifer Gleason, Jeanne Mirer, Greg Palast, Martha Schmidt, Emily Yozell

Register online:

Friday, November 2:

9:30 am – 10:30 am: Workshops I

Attacks Against the Labor Movement in the Americas and the Fight Back (Mayfair)

This panel will address the significant repression and efforts to fight back by the labor movements in the Americas. For more than a decade the International Labor Justice Working Group has been working with our counterparts in the Association of Labor Lawyers of Latin America and the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers/ACAMS on issues of common interest which this year highlights the problems faced by increasing repression against all progressive movements including the labor movement. Fashioning a fight back strategy is essential.

Speakers: Luisa Fernanda Gomez Duque, Marie-Claude St-Amant, Ashwini Sukthankar

Killing Gaza: A Man-Made Humanitarian and Human Rights Disaster (Parliament 1-4)

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Palestine Subcommittee

Brief review of the Israeli assaults of 2009 & 2014 and the prevailing situation in Gaza, which UN has said will be uninhabitable by 2020. This introduction will be followed by a discussion of the ongoing Israeli massacres of 2018 during the Great March of Return, the illegality (multiple violations of international human rights & humanitarian law), and immorality, as well as of the possible avenues of redress – and their effectiveness in ending Israeli impunity. Emphasis on the role of the US in giving Israel carte blanche militarily, economically and diplomatically.

Speakers: Huwaida Arraf, Marjorie Cohn, Brad Parker, Raji Sourani, Nada Elia

What it Means to do Movement Legal Support in Indigenous Communities (Windsor)
Sponsor: Water Protector Legal Collective

This workshop is designed to highlight specific lessons, needs, challenges, and opportunities based on lessons working in Standing Rock, New Mexico, and elsewhere. We will ask and discuss how we could better provide legal support in indigenous communities and ongoing prisoner support for indigenous prisoners. It will discuss the primary importance of knowledge and respect for culture. The importance of consent and agreements before actions. We will also touch on relationships, networks and differences in organizing and movement structure and protocols. It will cover current unmet needs and upcoming threats in indigenous communities and lands. Finally, we will explain how policing, the State’s prosecution strategies, and legislation is being reproduced and spread nationwide and is something that everyone should be concerned with.

Speakers: Andrea Carter, Jaden Cowboy, Leoyla Cowboy, Sacheen Whitetail-Cross

Extremism is in the Eye of the Beholder: How CVE and BIE Undermine Liberation Struggles (Cambridge/Oxford)

Sponsors: Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, DC BIE Collective, Defending Rights and Dissent, Muslim Justice League

Panelists will explain the connection between the DHS/DOJ Countering Violent Extremism (“CVE”) program, which targets Muslim and other communities perceived to be Muslim, and the FBI’s so-called “Black Identity Extremist” designation. CVE and BIE are tools to silence liberation struggles by criminalizing activism and dissent, portraying Muslims and Blacks as uniquely susceptible to engaging in political violence, and deputizing teachers, police, faith leaders and other community leaders to look out for signs of ‘radicalization,’ particularly in young people. Learn how CVE and BIE are connected, how they constitute not new but renewed forms of state violence and policing, how communities are organizing to challenge the underlying assumptions, and how NLG can become more engaged.

Speakers: Fatema Ahmad, Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, Hammad Alam, Rakem Balogun, Sue Udry

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Major Panels I

Global Compact on Migration: Causes and Patterns of Forced Migration (Parliament 1-4)
Sponsors: NLG International Committee

In December 2018, the UN will adopt the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration” (GCM). Within this web of migration are poor migrant workers who are forced to search for work outside of their home countries. They are often lauded as their country’s “heroes” for earning wages that keep their home economies afloat. However, policies still perpetuate keeping the Global South exploitable for cheap labor and raw resources. The panel will critique the UN’s neoliberal “migration for development” framework, and highlight the voices of grassroots migrant organizations demanding rights to livelihood free from exploitative labor. The panel will help connect the issues of immigration and labor rights and raise the perspective of these domestic issues to an international scope. The ebb and flow of migrants in and out of the U.S. are deeply connected to the economic dictates of global corporate and state interests. The panel will help sharpen the NLG’s understanding of UN processes, and possibly find opportunities to intervene in neoliberal economic development by supporting people’s movements for economic and social justice.

Speakers: Jackelyn Mariano, Marco Meija, Adrianne Sebastian

From Dirty Wars to War on Immigrants, Black Bodies: Sanctuary in Past & Now (CLE Credits Available) (Windsor)
Sponsored by: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild; TUPOCC; NLG Anti-Racism Committee; NLG International Committee

This panel will delve into history of the sanctuary movement in the US as well as the recent sanctuary movement in response to mass deportations and the current administration’s hostile policies towards immigrants and people of color. Panelists will discuss the history of the National Lawyers Guild National Immigration Project work to protect people of faith and churches who were providing to sanctuary to those fleeing US-supported dictatorships in Latin America. The panel will also provide an overview of the current landscape of sanctuary work in support of immigrants and people of color, with a focus on the efforts in Oregon and the South.

Speakers: Roberto Gutierrez, Andrea Williams, Lena Graber, Dan Kesselbrenner, Andrea Ritchie, Azadeh Shahshahani

Disaster Capitalism, Colonialism & Climate Change: Societies after Disasters
CLE Credits Available (Cambridge/Oxford)
Sponsors: NLG International Committee, Puerto Rico Subcommittee, Environmental Justice
Committee, Environmental Human Rights Committee, TUPOCC, Anti-Racism Committee, Louisiana NLG, Michigan NLG

In the face of economic collapse and increasingly frequent and forceful (un)natural disasters, cities and nations are facing the imposition of austerity regimes and the elimination of public goods, anti-democratic governance and the pillaging of local communities, especially communities of color, leading to forced displacement and a re-population of gentrifying forces bent on reshaping societies. Neoliberal policies green lighting disruptive infrastructure projects are causing deep harm to local ecosystems and economies while sweeping economic reforms that benefit the private sector and cut funding for public goods and services are implemented.

Speakers: Peter J. Hammer, Benjamin C. Varadi, Osvaldo Burgos-Pérez, Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan

3:45 pm – 4:30 pm: International Labor Justice Working Group Meeting (Windsor)

3:45 pm – 5:45 pm: Task Force on the Americas Meeting (Parliament 1-4)

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: International Committee and Labor and Employment Committee Reception (Crystal)

Join the IC and the LEC for our joint reception, including the presentation of the Debra Evenson Venceremos International Award to Marjorie Cohn and Judith Berkan!

Saturday, November 3

8:00 am – 9:00 am: Cuba Subcommittee Meeting (Cambridge/Oxford)

9:00 am – 10:00 am: Workshops II

State Violence Against Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, and Palestinian People (Windsor)
Sponsors: NLG Anti-Racism Committee, TUPOCC, NLG International Committee, Palestine
Legal, Arab Resource Organizing Center, Project South

This panel will look at state violence targeting black and brown communities, specifically: the Muslim Ban, expulsion of hundreds of thousands of TPS holders, police murders of black people, the Zionist backlash against Palestinian rights activists, the targeting of indigenous movements, and the continuation of US war making. We will address the impact of crossmovement building efforts that center anti-racism, anti-imperialism, and anti-Zionism. It will unpack the reemergence of organized white supremacy and state-sponsored repression. Panelists will highlight successful campaigns mobilizing against state policing and militarization. This panel focuses on the intersections of movements: black liberation, immigrant rights, fighting the Muslim Ban, and supporting indigenous and Palestinian communities from on-going dispossession and colonization. Each of these communities faces multi-pronged attacks by both the state, private state-contractors, and by white supremacist movements. After short presentations by each speaker, the workshop will feature discussion to cross-pollinate between movements and build joint resistance strategies. The presentations and facilitation will aim for people with erse experiences and identities to relate and draw connections.

Speakers: Andrea Ritchie, Azadeh Shahshahani, Kimberly Gonzalez, Leila Sayed-Taha, Liz Jackson, Suzanne Adely

10:15 am – 12:15 pm: Plenary II (Crystal Ballroom) *includes a discussion on Global Resistance to Fascism

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm: Palestine Subcommittee Meeting (Brighton)

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm: Military Law Task Force Meeting (Off site, The Original Dinerant (300 SW 6th Ave.)

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm: Major Panels II

Facing Fascism: What’s the NLG’s Role in Defending Resistance to Fascism?
Sponsors: International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Herman Bell Defense Committee, Arab
Resource and Organizing Center, Critical Resistance, Catalyst Project, Queer as Fuck, BAYANUSA, Anti-Fascist Work Group

From the advance of State-based fascism to the rise of street-based white nationalism, communities and movements are in a fight to defend themselves against attacks on civil liberties, the right to resist and basic safety. The panel will examine differences and similarities between today’s and yesterday’s State repression, permission for unrestrained police use-of-force, collaboration between State and “popular” forms of fascism, the role of misogyny, and the erosion of basic protections and “due process”. Panelists will offer cases to discuss this question and the role of legal defense and offensive strategies in protecting resistance and community defense. We are in a moment of heightened resistance and defense on multiple fronts, across erse communities. This resistance takes the form of rapid response to and community defense against State and vigilante attacks, civil disobedience and physical confrontations, building autonomous alternatives to State resources, on-going long-term campaigns and organizing, public education and communication, and spontaneous uprisings. The panel offers a discussion on how the NLG might shift how it operates as well as some of our assumptions in order to better respond to the needs of the movement and in the face of increased State repression in collaboration with “popular” white nationalism and misogyny.

Speakers: Sara Kershnar, Dequi Kioni-Sadiki, Suzanne Adely, Carey Lamprecht, Jackelyn Mariano

Sunday, November 4

9:30 am – 10:30 am: Workshops III

Colonial Debt: Puerto Rico and the Crisis of Capitalism and Colonialism (Cambridge)

Puerto Rico remains in the stranglehold of crippling new colonialism and Wall Street control of an odious debt. The island continues to face massive displacement and depopulation, deep austerity, cuts to essential public goods and services and an economy in service of the US. This workshop will focus not only on the colonial imposition and the use of debt to control the population and deprive citizens of their fundamental rights, but also on ongoing legal and community strategies to fight these impositions and to further the demands for human rights and economic and environmental justice.
Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Puerto Rico Subcommittee

Speakers: Judith Berkan, Nicole Marie Díaz González, Mariana Nogales, Eva Prados Rodriguez

Land & Water Defense: How Can the NLG Support Resistance To Extractive Industries (Windsor)
Sponsors: Mass Defense Committee and Environmental Justice Committee

People are rising up around the world to resist the destruction of their land and water by extractive industries. Many of these struggles are led by indigenous peoples for whom this is a continuation of resistance to centuries of colonization, displacement and desecration of sacred lands and waterways. It involves challenging powerful corporations and governments who work in collusion with them. How can NLG lawyers and legal workers support grassroots land and water defense? Panelists will discuss varied approaches including protest and direct action campaigns, domestic legal challenges and policy work, international law, and estment campaigns.

Speakers: Kendra Pinto, Michelle L. Cook, Kelsey Skaggs, Jessi Parfait

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Workshops IV

Human Rights of Children, Parents, and Families (CLE Credit Available)
Sponsors: Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, NLG International Committee, Queer
Caucus, TUPOCC

In many nations around the world political instability and poverty incentivizes the export of orphans to be adopted by predominantly white middle-class families in the U.S. Within the U.S., race and class oppression forces many children into foster care, detention centers, or adoption agencies, which often causes coerced adoptions of children. The situation is worsening as the Trump administration attacks immigrants, separates families, and deepens poverty. Unfortunately, there is little attention paid to the role of race, class, gender, and orientation in adoption, foster care, immigration, and child removal by institutions, the courts, or local, state, or federal governments. This panel, facilitated by the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute and cosponsored by The United People of Color Caucus, Queer Caucus, and International Committee will discuss how race, class, gender, and orientation effect the integrity of families as well as human rights violations in the foster care, child detention, and adoption systems here in the U.S. Presenters will discuss how race, class, gender, and orientation affect the rights of children, parents, and families in adoption, foster care, family law courts, child and adult protective services, and immigration as well as the application of both domestic and international law. They will also discuss legal strategies to preserve family integrity and reunite family members or, at a minimum, ensure that children taken from their families maintain a connection with their culture, language and community.

Speakers: Katie Stickles-Wynan, Danielle King, Prenal Lal, Martha Schmidt, Steven DeCaprio

The U.S.-Duterte Regime & Their Three Wars Against the Filipino People (Parliament 1-3)
Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Philippines Subcommittee, International
Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

After his visit to the Philippines in November 2017, President Trump expressed support to Philippine President Duterte’s “War on Drugs”, war on indigenous people, and counter-terror war. Meanwhile — Duterte’s extrajudicial killings have risen to the level of 20,000, and U.S. support of the Philippine police and military has grown through “Operation Pacific Eagle,” which has called for further U.S. military involvement in the Philippines over the next two years. As Trump spends U.S. tax dollars in support of the Duterte regime as a part of the U.S.’s global war on terror, resistance is our right and solidarity is our duty.

Speakers: Nikole Cababa, Pam Tau Lee, Eric Tandoc, Hiyasmin Saturay

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