National Lawyers Guild
From Roosevelt through Reagan
edited by Ann Fagan Ginger and Eugene M. Tobin, foreword by Clark Ramsey
cloth 0-87722-488-9 $42.95, Nov 87, Out of Print
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was a product of both the Great Depression and the progressive liberalism inspired by the New Deal, Popular Front, and insurgent activities spearheaded by Marxists and Communists. This documentary history traces the growth of one of the very few progressive organizations created-in the 1930s to survive the Cold War and McCarthyism. In addition to articles, papers, policy statements, and speeches by close to one hundred founders, judicial leaders, and participants of the NLG, special emphasis has been accorded the federal governments response to the Guild, particularly through reports and testimony gathered by the FBI and House Un-American Activities Committee.
The constitution of the NLG states that its members shall serve the people "to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property rights." Throughout its remarkable history, Guild lawyers have confronted such pressing domestic issues as national health insurance, social security, labors right to organize and bargain collectively, anti-lynching legislation, full employment, reproductive freedom, and always the protection and advocacy of civil liberties and civil rights. Not limited to domestic affairs, and in support of peace law, the Guild played an important part in the formation of the United Nations, the Nuremberg trials, the Marshall Plan, and the policy of containment in Korea, Vietnam, and Central America.
A study prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency at the direction of the House Intelligence Committee in 1978, reported that the IADL:
"has been one of the most useful Communist front organizations at the service of the Soviet Communist Party....In the 31 years of the IADLs existence, it has so consistently demonstrated its support of Moscows foreign policy objectives and is so tied in with other front organizations and the Communist press that it is difficult for it to pretend that its judgments are fair or relevant to basic legal tenets."
IADL president, Pierre Cot, an official of the World Peace Council(WPC), the principal Soviet international Communist front, was even awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1953.
In September 1950, the House Committee on Un-American Activities issued a report, "The National Lawyers Guild: Legal Bulwark of the Communist Party", which stated:
"The real aim of the National Lawyers Guild, as demonstrated conclusively by its activities...are not specified in its constitution or statement of avowed purpose. In order to attract non-Communists to serve as a cover for its actual purpose as an appendage to the Communist Party, the National Lawyers Guild poses benevolently as a professional organization which shall function as an effective social force in the service of the people.... "
With the extensive revival of the NLG in the late 1960s and recruitment of a broad section of New Leftists who looked not to Moscow, but to the surrogate regimes of Havana, Hanoi, or Angola for models of revolutionary change, the NLG has had an increasingly close relationship with the Cuban regime. The NLGs International Committee formed numerous subcommittees that coordinate both legal action and public relations and propaganda in support of various Soviet and Cuban-backed revolutionary terrorist movements. For example, the NLGs Middle East subcommittee supported the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) and issued a blatantly biased report against Israeli legal and security measures against jailed terrorists. The NLGs Vietnam subcommittee pressed for U.S. economic aid and reparations to the Hanoi government and urged recognition and support of the Vietnamese puppet state set up in Cambodia after the invasion and conquest by the North Vietnamese Army.