Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Morning

I attended the State Island peace rally on Saturday. The combination of the rainy weather and the cold kept away most of the crowd, but there were a few interesting speakers, most notably Dan Berrigan who at age 80+ is still able to command attention from everyone in the crowd. I stopped attending street protests and rallies a few years ago because I never thought them very successful; there were millions in the streets prior to the Iraq war and a lot of good that did. I am more sympathetic to anarchist direct action such as chaining oneself to a recruiting station and so forth. Perhaps my legal education has toned down my natural inclination toward radicalism. Although I must say that when I graduated from law school and started working for the City it didn’t take long for me to realize that the practice of law was just another fools game and that whatever outcome the ruling class wants it usually gets. Common law based legal systems are the epitome of institutionalized power. The law develops along a certain line because it gives a veneer of legitimacy to the powerfull. Examples in the law abound: Treating a corporation as a person, for example, or equating the desire to get money out of politics as infringing upon free speech. All smoke and mirrors, I’m afraid. My little break from seriously practicing law is going into its fifth month and I’m not sure if I want to go back. I will never go back to work for a firm where I have to live my life in six minute intervals and defend the powerful against the people. I had enough of that at the City and at C&D. One has to accept certain realities about money and such, however. The interesting side of the law involves issues of constitutional and international law which don’t pay too well and are tough to crack into. A true lawyer’s paradox! I’ve been contemplating starting my own firm and using any money generated to start a non-profit designed to provide immigration legal assistance to migrant farm workers in rural areas of upstate New York, but this is in the high fantasy stage. I think I need to knuckle down and start writing some papers for law reviews so I can get my face out there more. The weather has been unusually freaky this week-end. Raging winds, hurricane like rainstorms, clear cold nights. I’m not too sure what to make of it. I have been slowly realizing that the most important social and policy issue is clearly the environment. No matter what we are doing to one another it pales compared to the consequences we stand to reap if we keep screwing around with the eco-system. Already the oceans are telling us that things are getting out of hand; 40% of the worlds coral reefs are dead or dying and in another 20 years there won’t be any. The diversity and quantity of sea life is also declining. We should listen to the oceans, they are our canary in a coal mine.

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