Jul 27, 2022
In this interview we wanted to do a discussion about the law, politics and abolition. We thought that this was an important thing to have some discussion on, in light of all the recent Supreme Court rulings which have rightfully caused a lot of anger, indignation, protest and organizing.
Our guests for this week are Sophia G and Nathan Y. Sophia is a lawyer defending criminalized immigrants and a PIC and border abolitionist. Nathan is an abolitionist lawyer defending criminalized immigrants and defending Cuba from economic imperialism.
In conversation they both work to demystify concepts like the law and rights as neutral concepts or principles. They emphasis the importance of seeing courts as a site of struggle, where any wins or losses made do not come a result of good legal arguments, but as a result of larger social forces and power struggles.
Both emphasize the importance of keeping politics front and center, and of viewing the law as something to be understood, only so that we can disrespect it and overcome it, rather than putting it on a pedestal. And that lawyering like any other skill or trade, needs to be put in service of social movements, which means dispensing with the mythology and decorum of the law, and liberal understandings of it.
Along the way they discuss interesting tactics, such as jury nullification (Beyond Criminal Courts Jury Nullification toolkit) in the wake of Dobbs and new anti-abortion laws and mass participatory defense campaigns for people facing criminalization and deportation. They also talk about some of the work of Survived and Punished New York. So also follow them on social media for ways you can support struggles like the ones described by Nathan and Sophia in this episode.
This is an important discussion for organizers, activists, people who have been activated by recent Supreme Court decisions, and for attorneys and law students who are trying to understand how they can use their legal skills in ways that frankly are pretty foreign to most folks in the legal profession.
One struggle mentioned near the end of the episode:
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