‘WE ARE ALL LYNNE STEWART!’
Published Nov 24, 2010 11:00 PM
November 20 marked the one-year anniversary of the incarceration of “The
People’s Lawyer,” 71- year-old Lynne Stewart. The U.S. government
sentenced her to 10 years imprisonment for allegedly “aiding a
terrorist,” the blind Egyptian Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, who is serving a
100-year sentence for complicity in the first bombing attack on the World Trade
Apparently, this is the first time a lawyer has been disbarred or criminally
prosecuted for violating an administrative order forbidding the public
conveyance of thoughts and words of a client. Stewart’s conviction is
intended to have a chilling effect on other attorneys who dare to follow in her
footsteps. The government has made her part of the their post-9/11 “war
On Nov. 20 close to 100 activists and independent media journalists gathered
one more time near the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan where
Stewart is imprisoned. The mood was both spirited and somber. Rally speakers
expressed their love and admiration for her courage and willingness to fight
against injustice, to speak truth to power and to turn words into action and
organizing. They were there to give strength and words of encouragement to
Stewart and each other, saying they can’t do enough to repay her.
Speakers stated that Stewart served as a role model to many in the legal
profession, yet too many of her colleagues lack backbone and principle. They
said that the job of all of us is to relieve the burdens of all subjugated
political prisoners residing in the citadels of injustice and its predatory
system. And they asserted that we must continue the struggle to protect our
First Amendment rights, resist U.S. fascism and dare to stand up against
aggression and tyranny.
Speakers described Stewart as a woman who joins all great women in history who
have been punished for making change for the betterment of humanity.
During the rally Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s partner, received a phone call
from California activists who said, “Stay strong. We are all Lynne
As supporters began to march to the prison for their outside
“visit,” several cop cars approached in an attempt to redirect
them. The marchers, however, continued. Police harassment and intimidation
continued throughout, but supporters were not deterred.
As darkness came, protesters turned on flashlights, accompanied by drummers,
noisemakers and shouts toward the prison windows.
Poynter shouted, “We’re here for you, Lynne, and all the
incarcerated with you.” Collectively, the group chanted, “Free
Lynne Stewart,” “We’ll continue your fight,”
“Free all political prisoners,” “Never give up hope,”
“We love you, Lynne” and “Be like Lynne, struggle to
win.” Due to a lockdown and possible threats, however, only an occasional
brave prisoner appeared at the windows for brief moments.
Upon leaving, Poynter shouted his final message to Stewart: “Remember,
we’re here for you, Lynne. You will never be forgotten. See ya later.
This is not good-bye.”
Stewart’s supporters were all aware that their greetings to Lynne might
be the last chance to “visit” her in New York, as an impending
out-of-state transfer seems imminent. When that will happen and to which
location is unknown at this time.
After leaving the prison, Stewart supporters attended a commemoration of the
life of another freedom fighter, Puerto Rican Nationalist Party activist
Dolores “Lolita” Lebron. She was incarcerated by the U.S.
government for 25 years for fighting for Puerto Rican independence. Lebron
passed away on Aug. 1.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE