Noam Chomsky

Apsken at Apsken at
Tue Oct 27 06:36:33 PST 1998

I said I would not reply further to Bill Lear, and I ought to stand firm. But when he denies his own words (His sentence, "This is a joke," followed citation of my full paragraph that listed several instances of Ku Klux Klan terror 1978-80 in Mississippi) and challenges readers to locate them, he deserves censure. When he cites the Universal Declaration but ignores the covenants that define it, he willfully deceives, and deserves censure. Further deponent sayeth not; it would be pointless.

Attorney Justin Schwartz wrote,

"I will bet you a great del of money that 'the ACLU'--the organization, as an official statement, said nos uch thing. An ACLU staff or cooperating attorney may have said something in the context of litigation, but you'd be amazed at the things people say in those contexts."

He would lose this bet, although ordinarily he would be right. When the ACLU cooperating attorney filed his brief on behalf of the KKK at Saucier, which said that the KKK "does not promote violence to effectuate social change," it caused a furor in the organization. When national director (exact title uncertain) Arieh Neier flew from New York to meet with the ACLU/M board of directors in Jackson, I personally challenged him on this, and he vigorously defended it as a necessary legal tactic. He won a pyrrhic victory, a majority by one vote (all votes in support were cast by white board members). Many members resigned in disgust, including every African American member of the ACLU/M board. David Duke boasted in his paper that by winning support of the ACLU, he had destroyed the organization's effectiveness. It has taken most of the years since then for ACLU/M to live this down.

Political work in the wake of this became nightmarish. For all of those years ACLU/M has represented me in the lawsuit to open the State Sovereignty Commission files, supported by the members who resigned over the KKK incident. Finally, conservatives who place so-called personal privacy concerns above revealing the State's criminal conspiracies against the movement won a majority this past spring, and petitioned the court to separate ACLU/M from "disclosure" plaintiffs Delta Ministry, Rev. Owen Brooks, and Ken Lawrence, and our attorney. This act and several other splits are lingering ripple effects of the Saucier case 21 years ago.

Ken Lawrence

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