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The Man Who Built ACLU Into National Power Says ACLU Now ‘Intellectually Dishonest’

In an interview with Spiked, the man who was the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1978 to 2001 and turned the organization into a national power slammed the organization for abandoning its core principles of defending free speech, asserting that the organization is “intellectually dishonest.”
Ira Glasser, who grew up in Brooklyn as a devout Brooklyn Dodgers fan and thus was stirred into fighting for racial justice as he watched the struggle Dodger legend Jackie Robinson faced as he broke the color line, has grown disenchanted as the ACLU, which under his leadership fought for the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, where numerous Holocaust survivors lived, has jettisoned its traditional position of defending free speech as it has become politicized in its fight against President Trump.
Spiked outlines how the ACLU responded to the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in which Heather Heyer was killed. Spiked writes:
The city had originally tried to revoke the racists’ permit to demonstrate. The ACLU of Virginia was approached by the Unite the Right organisers, and took the case, eventually overturning the ban. For this, it was immediately accused of siding with bigotry, and after the carnage of the 12 August, of enabling Heyer’s murder: a ACLU of Virginia board member resigned, saying his organisation was “defend[ing] Nazis to allow them to kill people.”
Glasser countered, ‘The ACLU of Virginia took exactly the right decision. The descent into violence that occurred in Charlottesville was not a problem of the First Amendment. It was a problem of police incompetence … You have to vindicate the rights of both [protesters and counter-protesters]. If anybody gets violent on either side, you gotta bust ’em, for the violence, not the speech.
Spiked notes, “At a glance, it might seem that the ACLU held to its principles over Charlottesville, just as it did with Skokie 40 years before it. But the truth is almost the precise opposite: the response of the ACLU leadership to the tragedy was to beat a hasty retreat.”
Spiked cites ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, Glasser’s successor, telling  The Wall Street Journal one month after the rally that the ACLU would “look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb” in future.
Glasser told Spiked, “The murder was not committed by the people carrying the guns. The murder was committed by the guy driving the car. And I never remember the ACLU saying a word when the Black Panthers marched around in the Sixties with guns.’
Romero later released a statement that “the First Amendment absolutely does not protect white supremacists seeking to incite or engage in violence.”
Spiked notes former ACLU board member Wendy Kaminer pointed out that Romero’s comments supported “prior restraints on speech.”
Spiked continues:
A year later, Kaminer went public with an internal document, leaked to her by an ACLU staffer, that seemed to urge ACLU members to think twice before defending the rights of racists and fascists.
Glasser told Spiked that the ACLU’s current position is “reflective of ambivalence and confusion, which adds up to a dilution, a weakening, of the First Amendment advocacy that the ACLU exists for.”
He followed with this blunt statement: “I believe that the national ACLU, if the Skokie case arose today, would not take it. They might take the same case for the Martin Luther King Jr Association, but they wouldn’t take it for the Nazis.”
Spiked cites a New York Times report that stated, “in the first months of the Trump presidency, the ACLU seemed to be more cautious about which fights it would embrace.”
Glasser stated, “What my successor is doing is demagogic, he’s pandering to what he thinks his new constituency wants to hear. The staff by now must be in their twenties and thirties … They’ve been socialised into a different ACLU.”
That perspective is buttressed by Romero writing in 2017, “We will be moving further into political spaces across the country as we fight to prevent and dismantle the Trump agenda.”
Glasser concluded, “I regard all this as tragic. Not because an organisation doesn’t have the right to change and say we don’t want to be a civil-liberties organisation anymore, we want to be a progressive, social-justice organisation. It can do that. But there’s two problems with that. One is, while it’s doing it, it’s denying that it’s doing it. It’s being intellectually dishonest. And the second thing is, that there is nothing to replace it.”

1 comment:

  1. The ACLU used to be a great organization until they started to support illegal immigrants. I think it's disgusting they support illegal immigrants, who by law should have no rights at all in this country. Then they started to support the fags. The ACLU is now a far left POS and I quit supporting them years ago.