Tune in as Peter Hoffman talks with Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild ahead of his visit to KC. Peter will ask Jim about building social movements in the face of governmental, law enforcement and legal oppression. Get some tips from an activist of 50 years plus about organizing, free speech and civil disobedience.
Jim Lafferty has been a movement lawyer, political organizer, and legal worker for the past 50 years. He served as NLG executive director from 1963 to 1967, during the peak of Guild work in the South. He has served as a chief officer of, and spokesperson for, various national anti-war coalitions, including the National Peace Action Coalition, the anti-Vietnam War coalition that organized the largest protests during that war; the National Coalition for Peace in the Middle East; and, the National Campaign to End U.S. Intervention in the Philippines. He established numerous draft counseling centers in the Midwest and helped organized some of the largest Vietnam War protests. In the 60s and 70s, his law firm, Lafferty, Reosti, Jabara, Papakian & Smith, represented virtually all of the left political movements in and around Detroit, Michigan, during which time he became one of this nation’s leading experts on Selective Service law and military law. According to his Red Squad file, represented “every left-wing, civil rights, anti-war, and black nationalist group in Detroit.” In the early 80′s, Mr. Lafferty founded and chaired the largest ACLU Chapter in the State of Michigan. In New York City, in the late 80’s and early 90′s, he traveled the world organizing on behalf of the labor rights of merchant seafarers. During this time he also taught a course at the New School for Social Research, entitled, Vietnam: The War at Home and Abroad. When Iraq invasions loomed in both the 90s and the aughts, he coordinated some of the largest anti-war coalitions. At the same time Jim Lafferty was the Coordinator of the L.A. Coalition to Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as a member of the national steering committee of the Campaign to Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Jim has served as the Los Angeles chapter’s Executive Director for over two decades. Most recently, he headed his chapter’s well-publicized support for Occupy LA