Richard D. Wolff interviews Michael Steven Smith on his upcoming title, LAWYERS FOR THE LEFT for Economic Update

RICHARD D. WOLFF: Tell us a little bit; what makes a lawyer a “lawyer for the left?” What is it that he or she does or how they proceed or what their issues are that would make you find them appropriate for such a book?

MICHAEL STEVEN SMITH: Well, one of the propositions that a number of the lawyers in my book talk about is how, increasingly, democratic rights and the rule of law are not compatible with capitalism or imperialism– and we saw that happen right after 9/11. The first thing they did was pass the 340-page Patriot Act, which allowed for spying on everybody. You can’t do a keystroke on your computer, or make a call on your cell phone, or even go to the doctor without the government knowing exactly what you’re doing. I was at the cardiologist with my wife last week, and we drove home through the Battery Park Tunnel, and there’s a face recognition gadget when you go through the tunnel; so they knew who she was, they knew what cardiologist she went to, and they knew what her EKG was even before we even got home! That’s the kind of society we live in. So Michael and I thought, “This is not good,” and then, they passed the National Defense Authorization Act, and that act allows for the government to pick up and detain– kidnap– and detain forever even American citizens. So Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky brought a lawsuit in lower Manhattan in federal court 2 years ago, and they won the lawsuit. Judge Catherine Forest, a good constitutional upholder, decided in their favor. The government appealed that afternoon. So Chris and Noam went down to D.C. and they met with Nancy Pelosi, or their lawyers met with Nancy Pelosi, and they said, “Pelosi, if you take the provision out of this law that you’ve passed that allows the indefinite kidnapping of American citizens, we’ll drop the appeal,” and Pelosi said “No,” and Chris Hedges said, “You know why? Because they know what’s coming.” So it was draconian laws like that that got Michael and I thinking, and that’s why we started the radio show, and out of that came this book Lawyers for the Left.

Watch the full interview here.

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