Click on title to link to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee site.
FORGET HILLARY “HAWK”-NEW YORK NEEDS A REAL ANTI-WAR, PRO-WORKER CANDIDATE
FORGET DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS AND GREENS- BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!
NOTE: This commentary was originally posted on August 18, 2006. It is republished here as a reminder. Since that time Attorney Stewart has received a 28 month sentence. Her co-defendant, translator Mohamed Yousry received a 20 months sentence. Her para-legal, Abdel Sattar received a 24 year, which is no misprint, a 24 year sentence. Ms. Stewart is as of this writing still free pending appeal. The points made below still retain their validity. I would only add that she could really use the job. And we could really use her voice as a tribune of the people.
In light of the recent defeat of pro-Iraqi War Senator Joseph Lieberman by post-Yuppie Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Democratic primary, in large part due to his anti-war stance, I got to thinking about what a real anti-war, pro-worker and oppressed minorities candidate would look like against pro-war Hillary “Hawk” Clinton in New York. Convicted (for “materially support for terrorism”: read zealous lawyerly advocacy) New York Attorney Lynne Stewart (unfortunately, currently disbarred) came naturally to mind.
For those unfamiliar with Lynne Stewart or her case the following is a note from the Partisan Defense Committee which supports the efforts to get her conviction overturned:
“On June 19, Lynne Stewart's counsel filed court papers seeking to discover if any warrantless or illegal electronic surveillance was conducted on her or anyone involved in her case. Then on July 5, Lynne's attorneys filed a Sentencing Memorandum on her behalf asking for a non-custodial sentence, i.e., one involving no jail time. As you are aware, Lynne Stewart was falsely convicted of material support for terrorism for her work representing an imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, a direct attack on the right to an attorney and First Amendment rights for all. She is also recovering from surgery for breast cancer and subsequent radiation and hormone therapy. Currently she awaits sentencing on September 25 to be preceded by a rally at Riverside Church in New York on September 24. We say again her conviction and those of her co-defendants were an outrage. Hands Off Lynne Stewart, Mohamed Yousry and Ahmed Abdel Sattar!”
For further information contact the PDC, P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013-0099, The Lynne Stewart Defense Fund or see my blog, dated June 13, 2006.
But, some will say, however meritorious her candidacy Ms. Stewart has been convicted of a serious federal felony. Grow up! If we counted all the indicted felons, unindicted co-conspirators, and those waiting for or in fear of indictment hanging around Washington the Congressional pages would be the only ones left to run the government. Hell, maybe, they are? Besides, think about this- imagine the respect Ms. Stewart would get from those federal district court judges and federal appeals court judges if she had the power to vote on their nominations and impeachments.
Let me motivate the Stewart candidacy a little further.
While no one sheds tears over Lieberman’s lose we militant leftists have a problem. The anti-war surge expressed in the Lamont vote got channeled back to the same old politics-as-usual Democratic Party rather than break out to a nucleus of an anti-war, pro-worker formation. While the liberal bloggers, et. al may be happy Ned Lamont is hardly our friend at a time when even the generals running the war in Iraq are running for cover. If you do not believe me let me pose one question. At this time the only serious parliamentary move that can end the war is a vote against the war budget. (Yes, I know I argued this idea before in this space but the idea still holds true-the point is to do something about it). Those believers in Mr. Lamont please pose this question to him- If elected, will you vote for the Iraq War budget? Yes or No?
We KNOW what Ms. Stewart’s response to that question would be. New Yorkers should pose that question to Hillary “Hawk”. We need a little laughter here. Christ, Ms. Clinton just came out, hands trembling, for Secretary of War Rumsfeld’s resignation a couple of weeks ago. My mother came out for that resignation about two years ago. And she is a life-long Republican.
Both Hillary “Hawk” and Lynne Stewart are women. I did not want to incur the wrath of my feminist friends by proposing a man to replace Ms. Clinton. After all we need women to break down the doors to the historic men’s club atmosphere of the United States Senate. True enough, but as I have pointed out before in regard to Senator Clinton, she, and in this she is not alone, stands for the proposition that for all the virtues of the fight for the equality of women over the past decades women can have politics just as ugly as men. Some victory.
Furthermore, some will argue, Hillary is a progressive and we do not want to divide the progressive forces, etc., etc. Get over it! Yes, Hillary was a “progressive”, or what passed for such at Wellesley when she got uppity in her valedictorian speech. But, hell that was a long, long time ago. Since that time she has adhered to classic Clintonian Democratic Party centrism. Translation- she stays as close as close to the Republicans as possible without wearing an elephant on her lapel. Unfortunately for her the Republican Party these days is to the right of Genghis Khan (although that may be a slander on Mr. Khan because, as recently reported on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of his birth, the Mongolian nationalists are currently touting his progressive nature for the times). But, let’s get to the bottom line- Hillary is operating in the coin of the realm of bourgeois politics- looking out for the main chance. Lynne has spent here career on behalf of the voiceless and unrepresented- looking to give people a fighting chance.
Finally, both are lawyers (or were). Unlike I believe it was Shakespeare’s Richard III, this writer does not believe that a program to kill all the lawyers will get us very far. Yes, Hillary was lawyer. And yes, if memory serves me right she lawyered for the Children’s Defense Fund. And God knows the kids need as much protection as they can get. But, if memory serves she also worked for a high-powered firm that got a little sticky in the Whitewater investigation. In short, she is a ‘rainmaker’. Lynne on the other hand never saw an unpopular cause she could turn down. In short, she is a ‘fuss-maker’. I will take a ‘fuss-maker” every time. Enough said for now.
DISCLAIMER: FOR ALL INTERESTED PARTIES- IN ORDER NOT TO BE ACCUSED OF GIVING MATERIAL AID TO THOSE WHO GAVE MATERIAL AID TO THOSE WHO GAVE MATERIAL AID, ETC. THIS WRITER STATES THAT THIS ENDORSEMENT OF MS. STEWART IS UNSOLICITED. I DO NOT KNOW MS. STEWART PERSONALLY AND HAVE NOT COMMUNICATED WITH HER ABOUT THIS CANDIDACY. WE BREATH THE SAME POLITICAL AIR- AND BELIEVE ME THAT ACCRUES ALL TO MY BENEFIT.