National Convention Coming to Oakland

Carlos Villarreal
Executive Director

This October the NLG’s National Convention is coming to Oakland. The convention, which is in a different city each year, has not been in the Bay Area since the San Francisco conference in 1999. Since then, I believe we’ve witnessed an increase in radicalization, and Oakland has been at the center of much of it. This will be an opportunity to build on the multitude of movements for social change and strengthen our network’s ability to support those movements.

Nineteen ninety-nine was the year of the massive WTO protests in Seattle. I would mark that as the kick off to an upswing in radicalization that we have seen more recently in the Occupy movements and protests against austerity and inequality across the globe. But a horrible tragedy intervened, beginning with the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and continuing through the devastating wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. That largely sidelined anti-capitalist movements for a decade while the world focused on stopping and ending the U.S. war on terror.

Of course, we are still at war; Guantanamo Bay remains open; and we are still living with policies of massive surveillance. But in recent years we have witnessed massive actions for immigrant rights, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, and most recently the Black Lives Matter movement. Connections are being made between racism, capitalism and imperialism; and solidarity across borders is high.

Oakland has seen the most sustained, diverse and radical activism in this country. This is exactly where the National Lawyers Guild ought to be meeting this year. The Law for the People conference, as the national convention is called, is an opportunity to showcase Oakland’s brilliant, community movements, and spread that spirit far beyond.

This could be the largest convention the NLG has hosted in years. There is a convention organizing committee. If you are interested in getting involved, feel free to email me or call me:, 415.285.5067x 104.