Mass Defense Committee End of the Year Update

It is always a great sign when we sit to write our end of the year update at the Mass Defense Committee and cannot keep straight all the incredible things the MDC has done over the year. Activists and organizers around Massachusetts have been involved in bold and energetic actions, fighting against oppression, and for the liberation of of all people. The MDC has been proud to be there providing legal support to our comrades in these struggles, ensuring that when they are met with state resistance they have the legal protection they need to ensure their struggles continue. 

The MDC conducted over twenty-five know your rights training sessions around the state, our volunteer lawyers have represented over one hundred people arrested at protests and civil disobedience actions, and we have had legal observers at nearly every left-wing political action in the area. Here is a snap-shot of some of the movements we have been supporting this year. 

Incredible activists from the Never Again Coalition have been staging civil disobedience in opposition to repressive and racist immigration policy in the United States. At one such action, thirteen activists were arrested at the Amazon building protesting cooperation between Amazon and ICE. Long-time MDC lawyer Lee Goldstein represented these activists, and all their charges were dismissed. 

We have continued our great partnership with COSECHA, providing legal support and representation in their campaign to secure driver’s licenses for undocumented people in Massachusetts. There was a beautiful week-long camp outside the State House, that culminated in a sit-in in key legislators offices. Thirteen people were arrested. All were represented by the MDC, and all had their charges dismissed. 

Activists around the state, including folks from Xtinction Rebellion, have been organizing inspiring resistance to destructive energy policy. MDC Attorney Jeff Feuer has represented a number of these activists in Boston. Jeff is also actively representing activists in Plymouth who are in a long-standing fight against a coal power plant there. The fight against dangerous pipelines continues in the state, and MDC attorney Andy Fischer represented activists who organized a sit-in at the Department of Energy Protection. 

Earlier this year, a group of activists began to take action against the racist and anti-immigrant policies of Sheriff Hodgson in Bristol County. There was an incredible blockade of the jail in Bristol County, which doubles as an ICE detention center, and which is notorious for its horrendous conditions, and abuses against people held inside. MDC attorneys Zach Lown and Jim Vita both represented activists that were arrested as part of this action. 

We were proud this year, when a student in Central Massachusetts was being harassed and threatened by law enforcement for their political activities on campus, that the first people she called was the NLG. The MDC was able to get her representation within hours, and the outcome to her case was favorable. It is critical to the struggles of our people that they know the MDC is there and has their back at a moments notice. 

It is not only the attorneys of the MDC that make this work possible. The MDC is proud to have many law student and legal work members who make this possible. Jude Glaubman is always in court at a moments notice helping organize defense, and putting activists at ease with her years of experience, and unbounded compassion. 

In September of this year, a group of far-right organizations held a homophobic march in Boston. There was a powerful resistance organized in opposition to this event. MDC members met ahead of time with LGBTQ youth to provide legal training. On the day of the event the Boston Police Department made clear what side they were on when they ruthlessly attacked our people with sticks and pepper spray. It was a a tense and frightening day, but the MDC stood strong making sure that there were legal observers on the front lines of this struggle. We continued our great working partnership with the Mass Bail Fund, who made sure that none of our people were without money for bail. Ultimately, over thirty people were arrested, and the MDC made sure that everyone who wanted an NLG lawyer had one. We again partnered with MACDL, and owe a great deal of gratitude to their members for stepping up and making sure we had enough lawyers in Court during the multi-day arraignments.  In Court we were met with the ire of Judge Richard Sinnott who made clear, as the BPD had on the street, that the Court was going to repress activists for standing up to homophobic terror. He illegally jailed defendants, raised bails to ensure people would be held in custody, and when longtime MDC volunteer Susan Church stood up against Judge Sinnott he took her into custody, and threatened her with contempt. What was clear by the end of that week in court was that the people in our movement, activists and legal workers alike, could not be intimidated into submission, and we are happy to report that while not all cases have been disposed of, we are continuing to get favorable results for our clients. 

The entire MDC committee wants to give thanks to all the people in our movement who do such incredible work, and honor the MDC by trusting us to be the legal arm of the movement. Every time our hotline number rings we know that we have work to do, and are always proud to do it. Keep fighting and struggling and loving – and if you need our help always call (617) 431-6626.

On December 10th of this year, the MDC is so proud to be accepting the MACDL Presidents award for our continued fight in support of the movement. 

Written by Makis Antzoulatos and Josh Raisler-Cohn

NLG Mass Defense Committee Co-Coordinators