Last updated on: 8/27/2015 | Author: ProCon.org

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California Biography

Position:
Pro to the question "Is the ACLU Good for America?"
Reasoning:

“Since our inception, three years after the national ACLU was founded in 1920, we have been fighting to preserve and expand the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.”

“History,” ACLU of Southern California website (accessed June 22, 2011)

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
  Organizations/VIPs/Other
Individuals and organizations that do not fit into the other star categories.
Description:

“Since our inception, three years after the national ACLU was founded in 1920, we have been fighting to preserve and expand the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights…

It was literally labor that brought the Southern California ACLU into existence, midwived by the radical author Upton Sinclair… In 1923, striking San Pedro longshoremen were banned from holding public meetings by the Los Angeles Police Department. At a rally protesting the ban, Sinclair and five friends tried to read aloud the First Amendment of the Constitution in support of the workers’ right to free speech and assembly. Though the police warned them to ‘cut out that Constitution stuff,’ they continued and were arrested and charged with criminal syndicalism, or agitating to overthrow the government…

In the wake of the San Pedro strike, Sinclair, already a member of the newly-founded national ACLU in New York, helped to form the first ACLU affiliate here in Los Angeles. Due in large part to Sinclair’s influence, the ACLU/SC took an early and radical stand against worker exploitation. To this day, we are the only ACLU affiliate to advocate an economic Bill of Rights…

For the past eighty-five years the ACLU/SC has worked to enact the history of democracy here in Southern California – an endeavor that has met with resistance from some and garnered respect from many.”

“History,” ACLU of Southern California website (accessed June 22, 2011)

Mission:

“The ACLU was founded to defend and secure these rights and to extend them to people who have been excluded from their protection.”

“What We Do and How We Do It,” ACLU of Southern California website (accessed June 22, 2011)

Other:
501(c)(3) nonprofit